Glentrool Visitor Centre
Cosy up in Glentrool Visitor Centre
This is a tranquil spot at the heart of the forest. Unwind in the café and watch woodland birds busy on the feeders or discover the lively waters that meet at stunning Loch Trool on scenic trails beneath the mighty Merrick. This area's history is also written into the landscape – look out for Bruce's Stone nearby, overlooking the Battle of Glen Trool in 1307, and a moving monument to 17th century covenanters, slain for their religious beliefs.
Glentrool is also one of the world-famous 7stanes mountain bike trail centres, with a range of trails for novice and experienced riders.
Warm up in our visitor centre
After a long walk there's nothing better than warming up in our welcoming cafe. There's a delicious selection of sandwiches and other bites to eat - just make sure you save some space for cake! You'll find accessible toilets here too.
Opening times - 10am-4pm every day (open until 5pm during school holidays).
As an alternative, you can find toilets, shops and plenty of places to eat and drink in nearby Newton Stewart.
Moderate - 1.3 miles / 2.0 km - Allow ½ hour
Can you spot tiny goldcrests on this circular trail through tranquil conifer woodland?More Information...
This trail is ideal for walkers looking for a short and enjoyable leg-stretch in the forest. As you go, listen out for the high, piping call of tiny goldcrests as they flit through the conifer canopy. These busy insect-eaters are the smallest birds in the UK.
A mix of wide gravel paths and narrow earth paths. Moderate slopes with one long steep section. Includes three narrow wooden 'chicanes'. Crosses mountain bike trails twice.
Two Waters trail
Moderate - 2.3 miles / 3.7 km - Allow 1½ hours
Wind through the woods and follow the River Minnoch to discover where the rushing Waters of Trool and Minnoch meet.More Information...
This varied trail follows the rushing Water of Minnoch until it joins forces with the Water of Trool, which you follow upstream before heading off to wind back through peaceful Glentrool Forest. In spring, there is a scented carpet of bluebells and wild garlic beneath the trees, while in autumn the turning leaves put on a spectacular show.
A mix of wide gravel path, narrow earth path and forest road. Gentle slopes along the river and steep sections through the forest. Crosses mountain bike trails several times.
Water of Trool trail
Strenuous - 4.5 miles / 7.2 km - Allow 2½ hours
Follow this scenic trail to discover a busy burn, a picturesque waterfall and a tragic tale at the Martyrs' Tomb.More Information...
This longer trail leads you along the Water of Minnoch and upstream beside the fast-flowing Water of Trool. Winding through the woods you'll see the poignant Martyrs' Stone, where six Covenanters were murdered in 1665 because of their convictions to obey God rather than the King. Enjoy spectacular views down Loch Trool as you return through the forest, passing the pretty Spout Head Waterfall.
You can extend this trail to make a full day out by joining the Loch Trool Loop (green waymarkers) at the bridge over the Water of Trool. This will take you right round Loch Trool and past the historic Bruce's Stone.
Mostly wide gravel path. Gentle slopes along the river and long steep sections through the forest. Includes two footbridges and a wooden 'chicane'.
Loch Trool Loop
Strenuous - 6.0 miles / 9.5 km - Allow 3½ hours
A circuit of stunning Loch Trool, with spectacular views over the loch to the foothills of the Merrick.More Information...
This trail leads around the rocky shores of lovely Loch Trool, with stunning views across the waters to the hills beyond. Listen hard and perhaps, above the gentle lapping of the loch, you might also hear the ancient roar of combat. Here on the Steps of Trool, a bitter battle was fought between the English and the Scots during the Wars of Scottish Independence 700 years ago.
You can extend this trail to make a full day out by joining it with the Water of Trool Trail (yellow waymarkers) at Caldons car park. This takes you through the forest to Glentrool Visitor Centre then back through the glen along the lovely Water of Trool.
This trail starts at Caldons car park, at the western end of Loch Trool. From Glentrool Visitor Centre, follow signs to Loch Trool and Bruce’s Stone. After about 1½ miles (2.5 km), turn right into the car park.
Mainly wide stony path, with short tarmac and forest road sections. Moderate slopes and some short steep sections. Includes steep steps, several bridges and a narrow gate.
Easy - 3.8 miles / 6.0 km
A short, easy ride for all the family.More Information...
Enjoy picturesque views of Palnagashel Glen, on this short but sweet route that meanders along the banks of Black Linn and through tall larch trees. There’s forest track and a section of gentle singletrack.
For more information on The Glen route, visit the 7stanes website.
Easy - 8.7 miles / 14.0 km
A family friendly ride in the open countryside.More Information...
Fun for bikers big and small, this easy route takes in impressive views around Glencaird Hill. There are some energetic climbs, and satisfying long descents. This route takes you through forest roads, a minor public road and muddy farm tracks.
Read more about this trail at the 7stanes website.
The Green Torr
Moderate - 5.6 miles / 9.0 km
A route worth the climb for stunning views over Loch Trool.More Information...
This ride mainly features a purpose built singletrack, and the lack of large rocks and tree roots make it welcoming to less experienced mountain bikers. The most challenging section is the steady 218 metre climb through forest to the Green Torr, after which you can enjoy the long final descent back down to the visitor centre.
To find out more about the Green Torr route, visit 7stanes.
The Big Country Route
- 36.1 miles / 58.0 km
Take a day long ride into the wild heart of Galloway Forest Park.More Information...
Embark on an epic journey that encompasses staggering views of Galloway’s lochs and hills. This route takes you along minor public and forest roads, and while there’s no technical singletrack, the Big Country route still offers a challenging ride with long climbs and sharp descents.
Find out more about the Big Country route at the 7stanes.
On yer bike!
Glentrool is one of the 7stanes – seven world-class mountain biking trail centres spanning the south of Scotland. The trails here are all about exploring Galloway’s ‘Wild West’, with fun routes for families/beginners, a great blue-grade trail and a long forest road-based ride, all with stunning scenery. Check out the 7stanes website to find out more.
Long distance cycle route
National Cycle Route 7 (Glasgow to Carlisle via Dumfries and Glen Trool) also winds through the Forest Park, linking Glentrool 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.
Long distance trail
The Southern Upland Way runs along the Water of Trool just below Glentrool Visitor Centre. This is Britain's first official coast to coast long distance footpath, running 212 miles (340 km) from Portpatrick on the Dumfries & Galloway coast to Cockburnspath on the North Sea between Edinburgh and Berwick on Tweed. It’s a dramatic and challenging route through the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands. Sample a scenic stretch from Glentrool to Loch Trool and see if you’re inspired to walk the rest!
Watching woodland wildlife
Glentrool Visitor Centre is a great place to watch wildlife. See the wide variety of woodland birds that visit the feeders or flutter in the canopy overhead, including great tits, goldcrests and crossbills. Red squirrels and roe deer are also regular visitors to the woods around the centre, especially early in the morning and at twilight.
Wonder at the magic of the night sky at Glentrool, tucked away in the dark heart of the Forest Park. This is one of the best places in the world to enjoy the stars, which is 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 Glentrool and online at Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
Discover the Mountain Garden
We’ve established a mountain garden at Glentrool to protect and breed from some very special wee trees that grow high on the hills at the very edges of the woods. These small, stunted trees look quite unremarkable but are an important remnant of rare mountain woodland. Look out for tiny junipers and a variety of minute mountain willows. Willows love wet places – their Latin name Salix comes from the Celtic sal (near) and lis (water).
Contact Name : Galloway Forest DistrictDistrict Office Name : Galloway Forest District
Address : Creebridge
Postcode : DG8 6AJ
Telephone : 01671 402420
Email : email@example.com
How to get here
Glentrool village is off the A714, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Newton Stewart.
Turn off the A714 at Bargrennan, following signposts to Galloway Forest Park. Turn right just after Glentrool village, following signposts to Glentrool Visitor Centre.
The car park is at grid reference NX 372 786.
DG8 6SY is the nearest postcode.
There are regular buses between Newton Stewart and Ayr, which stop at Glentrool village. The visitor centre is about ½ mile (1 km) from the village.
Bruce’s Stone and the Merrick
It’s just 3 miles (5 km) to Bruce’s Stone car park, where you can wander up to the historic stone and enjoy panoramic views over Loch Trool. For the very adventurous (and well-prepared), this is also the start of the hill route to the Merrick, the highest summit in the Southern Uplands.
Whitecairn trail at Glentrool village
Stop in Glentrool village to follow a short trail through the woods to an atmospheric burial site that’s over 5,000 years old.
Head south just beyond Newton Stewart to find Kirroughtree, the gateway centre for Galloway Forest Park. This is the place for active adventures, with great trails, world-class mountain bike routes, play and picnicking – and the Wild Watch Hide for spotting red squirrels.
Find this lovely old oak woodland just north of Newton Stewart. It’s a great place for a stroll, whatever the weather, and it’s a favourite with local walkers who treasure its tranquillity, wildlife and archaeological sites. Enjoy stunning views over Cairnsmore and the coast and watch out for roe and fallow deer, woodland birds, bats and, in summer, butterflies dancing in sunny glades.