HILLS, WALKS AND HIKES
Galloway is blessed with rolling countryside, dense woodland and craggy hills, making it a fantastic destination for hikers and walkers. Fringed by the stunning Solway Firth coastline, the region boasts breathtaking clifftop views and beach routes for relaxed walks, as well as more challenging ascents up local peaks. Trails weave through local woodland and along shorelines, making ideal day trips for nature-lovers and birdwatchers.
Whether your preference is woodland or seaside views, Galloway’s got you covered. Here are some picks of hikes and walks to enjoy during your stay at The King’s.
The summit of Screel Hill enjoys breathtaking panoramas across the Solway Firth. This is a rocky route, not to be underestimated for its modest altitude of 344m. Heather, bracken and rocky outcrops punctuate this picturesque upland climb, and visitors may be lucky enough to catch sight of a red grouse darting in the undergrowth.
On a clear day, the summit views stretch north east to the Queensberry range and north west to Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and the Rhins of Kell. Out to the Solway Firth, the hill overlooks Orchardton Bay, Auchencairn Bay and Hestan Island. In the far distance lies the Cumbrian coast, visible in good weather.
Sturdy footwear, wind-jackets and appropriate layers are needed to protect you from the elements and prepare you for the rough underfoot terrain.
5.6km or 3.5 miles
Allow 2.5 hours
This is a lovely woodland walk with hard surface track and some steep inclines, a favourite of The Fulton family (and Harley the dog!) There are two marked routes at the Doach, both fairly easy and with an excellent viewing bench for admiring the Solway coast and Hestan Island. Buzzards soar above the tall Douglas firs here, and you are likely to meet several friendly walkers and dogs on your trail.
Allow 1.5 hours
THREAVE GARDENS & CASTLE
Threave Gardens and Castle are incredible National Trust sites that provide farm and woodland walks. Taking in bird hides, the osprey viewing deck and ancient ruins, the estate walk is perfect for families and those looking for a relaxed but satisfying afternoon in the country. Take a stroll through woods swept with bluebells, admire flourishing flower beds in secret gardens and explore river valleys on this easy walk. You might even be lucky enough to spot roe deer skipping through the fields and catch sight of red squirrels.
In the summer months you can catch the custodian’s boat across the moat to the castle, and learn the dark and dastardly history of the Black Douglas clan.
Standing within the spectacular beauty of the Galloway Forest Park at the far end of Loch Ken, Bennan Hill provides amazing panoramas of the local countryside, over the loch towards Mochrum Fell. As with most of Galloway’s natural beauty spots, it boasts thriving local wildlife such as whooper swans and great crested grebes, while lesser-spotted birds such as wood warblers and redstarts live in nearby woodland. Follow the path and waymarkers from the car park to experience amazing view points.
4.5km/3 miles (return)
ROCKCLIFFE TO KIPPFORD
This picture-perfect coastal walk offers breathtaking views of the Solway Firth, with views looking out to The Isle of Man and the Lake District. Starting in the quaint seaside village of Rockcliffe, the circular walk follows The Muckle Walk and Jubilee Path through woodland and along the coast to Kippford. Look out for the garden of curios -- rocks and bushes looking out at you with googly eyes! There’s a tearoom for a wee cup of tea at the end of the walk.
4.0 miles / 6.5 km