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.
Following storm damage, Stroan Bridge is currently only open to light vehicles (cars) and pedestrians. The visitor centre will be open as normal. We're working with the local authority to repair and re-open the bridge for larger vehicles. Apologies for the inconvenience caused.
Warm up in our visitor centre
After a long walk there's nothing better than warming up in our welcoming café. 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.
The centre will only be open at weekends from 10.30am to 3pm.
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.
Can you spot tiny goldcrests on this circular trail through tranquil conifer woodland?
Stretch your legs on this short loop and look for tiny goldcrests flitting among the conifers.
1 ¼ miles / 2.0 km Allow ¾ hour
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.
Two Waters Trail
Wind through the birch woods along the rushing Waters of Minnoch and Trool and look up to the high Galloway Hills.
Mostly loose gravel surface, with short uneven section. Includes one steep slope. Look out for vehicles along the short road section.
2 ¼ miles / 3.7 km Allow 1½ hours
Water of Trool Trail
A scenic trail through the oakwoods alongside the Water of Trool. Discover the tragic Martyr’s Tomb and a magnificent viewpoint by Spout Head Waterfall.
Loose gravel surface throughout, with occasional uneven sections. Long slopes with several short steep sections. Includes two road crossings and a pair of bridges (one 0.9m wide).
4 ½ miles / 7.2 km Allow 2½ hours
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.
Loch Trool Loop
A circuit of stunning Loch Trool and its untouched native oak woodlands. Great views throughout over the loch to the foothills of Merrick.
Loose and occasionally uneven gravel surface. Steeply rolling terrain with some long fairly steep slopes. Includes a bridge 0.9m wide, some steps and a section along the road.
5 ¾ miles / 9.2 km Allow 4 hours
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.
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. 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.
Mountain biking trails
Glentrool is one of the 7stanes mountain biking trail centres spanning the south of Scotland.
The trails here offer fun routes for families and beginners, a great blue-grade trail and a long forest road-based ride, all with stunning scenery.
The Glentrool 7stanes map (PDF 2.4MB) shows the trails.
Trail update (23rd February): There is a diversion on the Big Country Route from post 30 to post 38 which takes you along the Queen's Way, extending the trail by seven kilometres. All other trails are open.
The Big Country Route (diverted)
- 36.1 miles / 58.0 km
Take a day long ride into the wild heart of Galloway Forest Park with magnificent views of the nearby lochs and hills.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.
Green: Easy - 3.8 miles / 6.0 km
The Glen is a short leisurely trail around the picturesque Palnagashel Glen. Suitable for families looking for an unhurried pace.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.
The Green Torr
Blue: Moderate - 5.6 miles / 9.0 km
The Green Torr climbs gradually up through the forest to stunning views over Loch Trool.More information...
This ride mainly features 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.
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.
Galloway Forest Park is also an excellent place for fishing.
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).
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 6SZ 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.
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.
Stop in Glentrool village to follow a short trail through the woods at Whitecairn 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 lovely old oak woodland at Knockman Wood 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.
Find out more in our guide to Galloway Forest Park.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.