Take a walk in Talnotry
There are several interesting places to stop along the A712, known as the Queen's Way.
Discover more about Alexander Murray, one of this area's most famous sons, by visiting his humble cottage or heading high to his monument. Take the Talnotry Trail to reach the monument and find atmospheric sculptures amongst the drystane sheep pens, or simply stroll along to a viewpoint overlooking the impressive Grey Mare's Tail waterfall.
Please note, there is no access at present to the birthplace of Alexander Murray due to the path leading to Dunkitterick Cottage being washed out.
Find the essentials
A beautiful exploration of Grey Mare’s Tail Burn and the striking Murray’s Monument on Big Doon. There is a wonderful view from the top.
Narrow and uneven grassy paths with rough, muddy and rocky sections. Includes some long steep slopes.
1 ¾ miles / 2.9 km Allow 1 hour
The trail also takes in the lovely Grey Mare's Tail waterfall and the atmospheric artwork, The Quorum, by Matt Baker – can you spot the silent stone faces staring out from the old sheep pens? You can start this trail from either the Grey Mare's Tail car park or the Talnotry car park.
Mountain biking trails
There's superlative stargazing at Talnotry. Because it's so dark, the Forest Park 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 are information panels about stargazing at the car park and you can also find out more online at Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
A road fit for a queen?
The scenic stretch of the A712 between Newton Stewart and New Galloway was given the title 'The Queen's Way' by the Forestry Commission in 1977 to celebrate the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne unveiled a marker stone to commemorate the designation in July of that year.
Art in the Park
The landscape and wildlife in Galloway have provided inspiration to artists for many years. There is a series of contemporary works of art in the Forest Park that celebrate the unique sense of place of the forest, lochs and open spaces. Spot the mysterious faces peering out of the dry stone sheep pens at The Quorum, by Matt Baker, on the Talnotry trail. From this trail you can also take a detour down to Black Loch to find the stunning red stone spire called The Eye by Colin Rose.
Alexander Murray makes his mark
The monument to Alexander Murray on the hill above Talnotry can be seen from many vantage points across the Forest Park. Murray was born in 1775 to an elderly shepherd and his wife. Despite his humble beginnings, Murray became a professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Edinburgh in 1812 and is one of Galloway's most famous sons. If you're feeling energetic, follow the Talnotry trailup to his monument and be rewarded with stunning views.
You can also visit the ruins of Dunkitterick Cottage, Murray's birthplace and simple childhood home. It's a short easy stroll to the cottage from Murray's Birthplace car park, about ½ mile (1 km) east of the Grey Mare's Tail car park on the Queen's Way (A712).
How to get here
For the Talnotry trail and the waterfall, park at Grey Mare's Tail car park. Take the Queen's Way (A712) between Newton Stewart and New Galloway. The car park is close to the distinctive hilltop monument on the north side of the road. It's at grid reference NX 490 720.
You can also join the Talnotry trail at the Talnotry car park. This is just a few hundred metres west of Grey Mare's Tail at grid reference NX 486 716.
DG8 7BL is the nearest postcode.
There are lots of other interesting places to visit along the Queen's Way.
Pause or picnic at the Glen of the Bar for impressive views towards the Solway Coast and to find out why this narrow gully was so important to our ancient ancestors.
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