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Relax in the café, go wild in the adventure play park, watch woodland wildlife or hit the trails on foot or by bike

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre

Kick back in Kirroughtree

There's always something different to see and do here at Kirroughtree, whatever the time of year. The new visitor centre is a great place to kick back and enjoy the view, browse the displays or fuel up for the trails, and there's lots of information about what to see and do.

If you fancy a gentle stroll, wander to the Wild Watch Hide and spot red squirrels and woodland birds, or meander to picturesque Bruntis Loch for a picnic. Burn off some steam in the adventure play park or try the orienteering course, check out the single track on your mountain bike or enjoy a gentle family cycle on the forest roads. This is also a great place to be after dark, when the stars put on a spectacular show!


Parking (charge) Visitor centre Tourist information Toilets Cafe or refreshments Shop Picnic area Play area Bike hire Walking Easy-access trails Wildlife hide Orienteering or wayfaring

Recharge and refresh

There are toilets, including accessible facilities, a café selling delicious sandwiches, hot meals incorporating quality local produce and sumptuous cakes, and a small shop for the perfect souvenir of your visit. There's even a log burning stove to keep you snug and warm, whatever the time of year. For bike repairs or to hire a bike for the day, visit The Break Pad bike shop for friendly advice.

You can also find toilets, shops and plenty of places to eat and drink in nearby Newton Stewart.

Car parking charges

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.

Wild Watch: all about wildlife

You can find out all about the wildlife of the Forest Park at Kirroughtree. Explore the colourful displays in the visitor centre to discover what lives in the trees, waterways and open hills – and what might be watching you from the skies overhead! It’s also just a short distance from the centre to the Wild Watch Hide, where you can usually see red squirrels and woodland birds feeding. You might even spot roe deer leaping through the woods on your way.

Family fun: a great place for the whole family

The play park at Kirroughtree is a great place for the kids to burn off some energy, and there are several trails suitable for little legs and pushchairs. You could also try out our orienteering trail – work as a team or compete against each other, then reward the winners with ice cream or sticky cakes in the café!

Adrenalin rush: 7Stanes

Kirroughtree is home to some of the best singletrack in the country. It is one of the 7stanes – seven world-class mountain biking trail centres spanning the south of Scotland. There’s a trail suitable for everyone here, from gentle family routes on forest roads to technically challenging singletrack. Check out the 7stanes website to find out more.

Stars in your eyes: Dark Sky Park

Scotland has some of the darkest skies in Europe, and Galloway Forest Park is one of the darkest places in Scotland – which is why it’s the UK’s first Dark Sky Park. Kirroughtree is a brilliant place to enjoy the night sky – look out for information panels at the visitor centre which will help you spot the stars.

Fishing in the Forest Park

There’s great fishing in the Forest Park, including brown trout and pike. You can buy a permit at any of the visitor centres for these lochs across the Park: Loch Braden, Loch Dee, Black Loch, Loch of the Lowes, Lillies Loch, Spectacle Loch, Garwachie, Loch Eldrig, Stroan Loch and Linfern Loch.

Long distance cycle route

National Cycle Route 7 (Glasgow to Carlisle via Dumfries and Glen Trool) also winds through the Forest Park, linking Kirroughtree 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.

Wild Watch

There's plenty of wildlife in the woods around Kirroughtree, especially if you sit quietly and see what comes to see you. Scamper along to the Wild Watch Hide to spot red squirrels, and watch out for roe deer amongst the trees along the way. Look out for chaffinches, coal tits, great tits and blue tits on the bird feeders at the hide. If you're lucky, you might see a great spotted woodpecker. At dusk, look for bats swooping overhead.

Head for Bruntis and Little Bruntis Lochs to spot damselflies and frogspawn in the spring and dragonflies and damselflies zooming over the water in summer. Did you know that dragonflies are some of the fastest insects in the world?

A thriving industry: lead mining at Kirroughtree

Looking at the peaceful forest here, it's hard to imagine this was once a busy centre for lead mining. But if you look carefully, you can still find evidence in the landscape.

Lead ore was found here by chance in 1763 when a road was being built. Miners went in search of the veins of ore by digging 'adits' or entrances into the hillside by hand. They were successful and, by 1780, there were 44 men working here in two mines called Blackcraig.

Water was essential to the mining process, to power crushing machinery and to wash the ore, so the mining company dammed Bruntis Burn to create Bruntis Loch. They then built a lade (an open channel) to carry water from the loch to the mill where the ores were washed. As you explore Kirroughtree, visit Bruntis Loch and look out for the lade and one of the old adits disappearing into the hillside.

Contact Name : Galloway Forest District

District Office Name : Galloway Forest District
Address : Creebridge
  Newton Stewart
 
Postcode : DG8 6AJ
Telephone : 01671 402420
Email : galloway@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

How to get here

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre is just off the A75 at Palnure, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Newton Stewart.

Turn off the A75 at Palnure, following the signs to Kirroughtree Visitor Centre. Keep following the signs for about ½ mile (1 km), until you reach the car park.

The car park is at grid reference NX 452 646.

Using SatNav?

DG8 7BE is the nearest postcode. Please note: despite what your satnav may suggest, we strongly recommend you stay on the A75 until Palnure and turn off to the visitor centre there.

Public transport

There are regular buses between Dumfries and Stranraer, via Newton Stewart and Gatehouse of Fleet. Get off at Palnure and follow the signs to the visitor centre – it's about ½ mile (1 km) away. Find details at Traveline Scotland.

Nearby places

There are two other visitor centres at Galloway Forest Park, each with a very different character and setting to Kirroughtree. You'll find information, maps, gifts, a tasty selection of food and drink at each visitor centre, as well as great trails!

Discover wonderful woods, water, hills and history at Glentrool. Enjoy its tranquil woodland setting, and explore a series of scenic trails beside babbling burns and to picturesque Loch Trool.

Relax at Clatteringshaws and enjoy tranquil views across the loch and surrounding hills. During the day, this is the perfect place for a gentle stroll beside the loch to one of the Forest Park's two historic Bruce's Stones, while at night this is one of the best places in the Park to enjoy the spectacular night sky.

From Kirroughtree, you could take the Queen's Way (A712) to reach Clatteringshaws. This scenic route takes you past the Wild Goat Park and the Red Deer Range – wildlife highlights not to be missed.

Other local highlights close to Kirroughtree include the pretty towns of Newton Stewart, Creetown and Gatehouse of Fleet, and Scotland's national book town of Wigtown is nearby too.