Watch out for these elegant red kites circling overhead as you enjoy sparkling loch views

Bennan Viewpoint

Take in the view at Bennan

Lovely Bennan wood runs beside Loch Ken, near the picturesque village of New Galloway. Savour superb views of the loch and the rolling Galloway countryside as you wander through the wood – the views get even better as you head for the higher ground.

Parking Walking

Nearby essentials

There are places to eat and drink and shops at nearby New Galloway and Laurieston. At New Galloway, you'll also find Catstrand, a community and arts centre.

Alternatively, take the Raiders' Road Forest Drive (April to October) to reach Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre. There are toilets, a café and shopping there. There are also seasonal toilets, including accessible facilities, at Otter Pool car park, half way along the Forest Drive.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Spot the Secret Cages...

Look out for signs at Bennan to the Secret Cages. Follow the trail to reach this formerly top-secret site, central to the reintroduction of red kites in Galloway between 2001 and 2005. Young red kites were raised here until they were ready to be released into the wild. Their location was kept secret to protect the birds as they adjusted to their new home.

Red Kite Trail

Find out more on the Galloway Kite Trail, a scenic 24 mile (40 km) tour around Loch Ken that’s an exciting way to view spectacular red kites in lovely scenery. In summer the route also includes the Raiders’ Road Forest Drive, which begins near Bennan.

Red kite success story

Bennan Wood was key to the reintroduction of red kites. The RSPB, Forestry Commission and other partners worked together to bring the birds back to this area in 2001. Thirty-six young birds were brought to cages hidden here in the forest, where they spent about six weeks getting acclimatised before being set free. The good news is that they thrived and there are now over 300.

Join the Galloway Kite Trail and find the best places to spot these magnificent birds, and download the trail leaflet here.

Contact: Galloway Forest District

Address: Creebridge, Newton Stewart

Postcode: DG8 6AJ

Telephone: 0300 067 6800


How to get here

Start exploring Bennan Wood at the Bennan Viewpoint car park. The car park is beside the A712 between New Galloway and Laurieston.

The car park is at grid reference NX 651 722.

Using SatNav?

DG7 2NG is the nearest postcode.

Nearby places

Raiders’ Road Forest Drive

This scenic two-way Forest Drive begins just south of Bennan Viewpoint car park. It’s a 10 mile (16 km) route along a forest road that winds beside the banks of the Black Water of Dee to Clatteringshaws. 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.

Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre

Take the Forest Drive to reach Clatteringshaws, where you can relax and enjoy tranquil views over lochs and hills. During the day, this is the perfect place for a gentle stroll 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.

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