Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre
Clear your head in Clatteringshaws
The visitor centre overlooks tranquil Clatteringshaws Loch, a haven for waterbirds in summer, and beyond to the rolling Galloway Hills. On a clear day, look out for the mighty Merrick, highest hill in the Southern Uplands. Soak up the stunning views or meander beside the loch to the historic Bruce's Stone, one of two stones dedicated to the Scottish king in the Forest Park. This is also one of the best places to enjoy the night sky – the visitor centre overlooks the darkest part of the Forest Park, which ensures a particularly dramatic stellar show.
Find out more in our handy guide to Galloway Forest Park.
Rest and recharge
You'll find toilets and accessible facilities at our welcoming, cosy café, which is run by Galloway Lodge. It's the perfect place to stop for a warming cuppa and delicious bite to eat, plus you can pick up the perfect souvenir of your visit from our small selection of gifts.
Stop off for a delicious home cooked meal or snack, take a stroll along the loch side or merely watch the changing weather pass you by from the cosy warmth by the fire.
10 - 26 February: open 10am - 4pm
27 Feb - 30 March: closed
31 March onwards: open 10am to 4pm
Please note, parking charges are as follows:
- £1 for up to 1 hour
- £2 for up to 3 hours
- £3 for all day
- £12 for minibus and coach all day
Season passes are also available. For more information please contact us.
Bruce’s Stone Trail
Wander through the Sitka spruce along the shore of Clatteringshaws Loch to the granite stone where Robert the Bruce is said to have rested. Great views of the Galloway Hills.
Firm gravel surface throughout with some loose stones. Includes short moderate slopes and two wide gates. Look out for vehicles sharing the track.
1 miles / 1.6 km Allow ½ hour
Look out for woodland and waterside wildlife along the way. In summer, listen for the willow warbler’s rippling song as it hunts for insects amongst the leaves, and the distinctive three-note call of the common sandpiper (a brown and white bird with a long straight beak and a permanently bobbing tail!). You may also be lucky enough to spot our most spectacular summer visitor, the osprey, fishing on the loch.
Loch View Trail
A climb up through field and forest that rewards with extensive views over Clatteringshaws Loch from the slopes of Benniguinea Hill.
Largely gravel surface, with section of uneven earthy and rocky path that is muddy in places. Long slopes for 500m with steep sections. Includes a road crossing and two gates.
2 ½ miles / 4.0 km Allow 1½ hours
Catch your breath as you climb and savour the magnificent views across Clatteringshaws Loch to the Rhinns of Kells and Merrick Hills. The slopes here look particularly fine in September when the heather is in bloom – a good time to find delicious blaeberries too!
Mountain biking trails
Watching the stars
Clatteringshaws is a great place to enjoy the stars because you look directly into the unlit heart of the Forest Park, one of the best places in the world to enjoy the night sky. That’s why it has been designated a Dark Sky Park. On a clear night the stars are so bright that you don’t need a telescope or even binoculars to enjoy them. There is information about stargazing at Clatteringshaws and online at Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
Red Kite Trail
The Galloway Kite Trail is an exciting way to view spectacular red kites in lovely scenery. During the summer, the route includes Clatteringshaws visitor centre and Raiders’ Road Forest Drive. Join the trail at Clatteringshaws and look out for these magnificent birds soaring overhead on a scenic route around Loch Ken. There are viewing points, walking trails, viewing hides and a feeding station along the way.
Long distance cycle route
National Cycle Route 7 (Glasgow to Carlisle via Dumfries and Glen Trool) also winds through the Forest Park, linking Clatteringshaws with the other two visitor centres here. You might not want to tackle the whole 200 miles, but get a taste of the experience on scenic stretches of the route.
Clatteringshaws Loch is part of an important hydro-electric scheme, managed by Scottish Power. Because of this, watersports and fishing are not permitted on the loch.
This peaceful loch is important to the environment. It is full of brown trout, pike and perch, which make tasty treats for passing otters and ospreys - not to mention those interested in fishing - and its quiet shores attract many wading birds. It also provides green power. The loch was created in the 1930s by damming the River Dee, as part of an important hydro-electric scheme. The water is piped to a steep hill above Glenlee Power Station, where it generates power as it flows downhill.
The stone beside the loch is one of two monuments to Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, in the Forest Park. Bruce took refuge in the Galloway Hills soon after he was crowned, during the Wars of Scottish Independence. He and his men fought the English on a battle ground now hidden beneath the loch, but is said to have rested at the site of the stone afterwards. Visit Loch Trool to find the other Bruce's Stone, perched on a stunning viewpoint overlooking the loch.
How to get here
Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre is on the Queen's Way (A712) between New Galloway and Newton Stewart.
The car park is at grid reference NX 552 764.
DG7 3SQ is the nearest postcode.
This scenic two-way Forest Drive begins close to Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre. It’s a 10 mile (16 km) route along a forest road that winds beside the banks of the Black Water of Dee to Loch Ken. Stop off at the Otter Pool car park for a picnic beside the river – there are toilets there too – and watch out for woodland wildlife and forest artworks along the way. Remember to take some change as there is a small charge to use the Forest Drive. Open April to October.
Red Deer and Wild Goats
There are other wildlife highlights nearby too. Follow the Queen’s Way (A712) towards Newton Stewart to reach the Red Deer Range and Wild Goat Park. Here you can meet Scotland’s largest mammal, the red deer, and our rare and ancient breed of goats.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.