For those who love the great outdoors and wildlife, the whole area around Ross Bay and Kirkcudbright is a wonderful playground for the wildlife lovers. The diverse countryside and favourable weather systems ensures the land hosts an abundance of wildlife, birdlife, flora and fauna all along our coastline, in and around the woodlands, forestry and farmlands.
Here are a 5 great outdoor adventures that can be enjoyed and experienced giving joy and pleasure to lovers of wildlife and visitors to this area of all ages.
1. Follow the Galloway Kite Trail around Loch Ken
From being almost extinct at the beginning of this century, the re-introduction of the red kite to hills of Galloway has proven to be a spectacular success. Walk the Galloway Kite Trail around Loch Ken and spot these magnificent birds of prey in flight and soaring the skies above. Their distinctive V-shaped tail feathers make them stand out from others. Hike, bike or drive the 24 mile circular Galloway Kite Trail with some perfect stop off points to view the aerial red kite displays.
There is an excellent viewing and feeding station at Bellymack Hill Farm near Laurieston where sometimes over 100 kites can be seen in flight at once.
2. Nature & Wildlife Tours in Kirkcudbright
Love wildlife and photography, checkout Scottish Photography Hides, the UK’s #1 Wildlife Photography Hides. They offer award-winning wildlife photography hides, nature and wildlife tours.
These include fascination options such as the ‘Sparrowhawk Hide’, Otter Hide to the ‘The Evening Forest Floor Hide’ amongst many others for all keen nature enthusiasts. The photography hides have been designed to cater for all abilities from beginner, enthusiast to expert photographer.
Whatever the weather or time of year, you can enjoy spotting deer and other amazing wildlife such as buzzards and other birds of prey from the discreet shelter of the hide.
3. View Red Deer & Wildlife Close up in Galloway Forest Park
See one of the largest deer breeds. The Galloway Forest Park The Red Deer Range was established in 1977 to give visitors the chance to see these large beautiful creatures up close in their natural environment. Around 25 red deer can be seen and you can watch for them from the viewing area and hide.
There are plenty of other wildlife creatures to see from the hide and about including birds of prey, buzzards and kites and a variety of woodland and moorland birds at the feeding station.
This is also a fantastic place to go stargazing. Due to the lack of light pollution it is very dark at night, making the Forest Park one of the best places to enjoy magical night time views.
4. Walking & Trekking Adventures with Alpacas in the heart of Galloway
Go walking and trekking with Alpacas and head out in the heart of the beautiful Galloway countryside and enjoy a unique adventure with these lovely friendly animals who originated from the Andes in South America. Miles of smiles and long lasting memories for all the family and be the envy of your friends with some amazing photo opportunities of the coastline and stunning scenery.
‘Meet and greet’ options are also available where children can interact with these friendly creatures. The Alpacas are renowned their calming and passive nature. The pleasure that everyone experiences when being able to touch, feed and walk with these rare and unique animals is heart warming to see. Come and find out for yourself.
For more information – https://www.gallowayalpacas.co.uk/
There is so much else to see and in do the great outdoors of Dumfries and Galloway, we love to hear the tales of our guests and where they have visited and enjoyed. If there are more such adventures that we should share please let us know.
Check out the Following Nature Reserves
All of the following could well serve up something unique and interesting for those who love wildlife. These include:
- RSPB Mersehead – Wetland and saltmarsh area, a haven for breeding waders, lapwings and skylarks
- Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve – a true taste of the Scottish wilderness, with superb views and you may see peregrine falcons. A paradisefor walkers
- RSPB Ken-Dee Marshes Reserve – With stunning views across the River Dee and down to Loch Ken, there is both wetland and woodland to enjoy
- Kippford Community Nature Reserve – Enjoy the views and well marked walking trail
For other nature reserves options in Dumfries and Galloway check out Google maps.
For more information on our local wildlife, seabirds and fowl see https://rossbayretreat.com/local-attractions/local-wildlife/
Useful Related Link:
Biodiversity of Wildlife at Ross Bay – https://rossbayretreat.com/2022/06/wonderful-biodiversity-at-ross-bay/
For Seaside Adventure Lovers
5. Go Rockpooling, Shell Collecting, Explore the Shores & Beaches
There are many lovely beaches & coastline to explore, head out for a walk and settle down for a picnic. There is so much choice particularly with many dog friendly beaches available.
After guests have explored Ross Bay, here are a couple of local beaches well worth visiting and exploring too.
- Carrick Bay (8 miles north of Ross Bay)
Discover Carrick Bay (or Carrick Shore by its other name) is a best kept secret and often deserted beach and an unspoilt natural beauty spot which is dog friendly all year round. Good spot for picnics.
- Brighouse Bay (2.5 miles away from Ross Bay)
Great to visit and be inspired to do some birdwatching. A long sandy beach and dog friendly. Take a picnic, explore and go for a walk, rockpooling, collect colourful shells, sunbathe, swim or just relax. There is a freshwater river running into it which children love to dam up.
Local Beaches in & around Ross Bay Retreat
- Ross Bay, right on your doorstep and very dog friendly (pic above)
- Brighouse Bay – 9 mins, 2.5 miles – shorter to walk!
- Dhoon Beach (Goat Well Bay) – 3.3 miles, 10 mins
- Carrick Bay – 8.3 miles, 24 mins (dog friendly all year round)
- Mossyard Beach, 14 miles, 27 mins
- Red Haven Beach – 19 miles, 40 mins
- Balcary Bay, 19.4 miles, 40 mins
- Rockliffe Beach, 29 miles, 50 mins (dog friendly all year round)
- Sandyhills Beach, 29 miles, 50 mins
- Southerness Beach (Dog Friendly All Year Round) – 33miles, 1 hour
- Monreith Beach, 43 miles, 1 hour
For a local map of where to find these beaches see our interactive Google map of the area.
Head out and enjoy the wonderful coastline and countryside in our beautiful corner of South West Scotland.
Useful Related Outdoor Adventures Links:
- Best Beaches for Family Walks & Dog Walking in & around Ross Bay – https://rossbayretreat.com/2021/11/best-beaches-for-family-walks-dog-walking-in-around-ross-bay/
- 6 Great Outdoor Activities in & around Kirkcudbright for the Adventurous – https://rossbayretreat.com/2023/05/6-great-outdoor-adventurous-activities-near-kirkcudbright/
- Dog Walking Holidays at Ross Bay Retreat – https://rossbayretreat.com/2022/09/dog-walking-holidays-at-ross-bay-retreat/
- 8 Great Places to Visit in and Around Kirkcudbright – https://rossbayretreat.com/2023/04/8-great-places-to-visit-near-kirkudbright/
- Historic Sites & Local Heritage – https://rossbayretreat.com/2021/10/historic-sites-around-ross-bay-retreat/