Barrhill is on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park and the major attractions are the beauty of the countryside and the variety of wildlife that can be seen.
Galloway Forest Park has become the UK’s First Dark Sky Park and the first place outside the US to be named one of the best places in the world to gaze at the stars
For the mountain bike enthusiasts two of the 7 Stanes are on our doorstep, Glen Trool with its great berms and the thrill of the speedy descent and Kirroughtree with its technical sections on red and black routes as well as the more relaxed blue route for the family adventure.
It is not all about the countryside there are many gardens that can be visited, loch, river and sea fishing, historic sites and some of the best golf courses in Scotland.
Arnsheen Play Park
Arnsheen Play Park was created for the community by the Barrhill Community Interest Company (later updated to the Barrhill Development Trust) using SPR windfarm community benefit funds.
The park provides many activity elements for both older ond youger children.
In 1665, by the side of Cross Water in Barrhill, John Murchie and Daniel Meiklewrick were found by soldiers to be in possession of Bibles and assumed to be Covenanters and shot to death. They were buried on the spot, and a memorial was built, known as "The Martyrs' Tomb".
A modern inscribed monument erected in 1825 within a walled enclosure marks the grave of John Murchie and Daniel Meiklewrick, two Convenanters who were shot and buried here in 1685. Three fragments of an earlier tombstone, inscribed on one side "Here lys John Murchie and Daniel McIlurick martyrs by bloody Drummon they were shot 1685", and on the other "Renewed by Gilbt McIlurick in Alticonnach 1787", lie within the enclosure. The former inscription must have been on the original stone, as it appears in the "Cloud of Witnesses", published in 1730.
This distinctive dome-shaped island-rock lies 10 miles (16 km) off the coast of South Ayrshire and rises sharply from the Firth of Clyde to a height of 340m (1114 feet).
Ailsa Craig, which comes from the Gaelic for 'Fairy Rock', is 1200m (1300 yards) long and 800m (900 yards) wide, with an area of 100 Ha (245 acres). It is also known as Paddy's Milestone owing to its position as a landmark en route from Ireland.
The island was the heart of an ancient volcano, its rock exhibiting fine columnar structure and was renown as the source of a superior micro-granite used to fashion curling stones. Indeed, most curling stones still in use today were made from Ailsa Craig granite.
By the late 19th Century the island had a population of 29 people, working in the quarries or the lighthouse, which was built in 1883-6 by Thomas Stevenson and his nephew David.
However, since the closure of the quarries and automation of the light, Ailsa Craig has been inhabited only by a sizeable and important colony of seabirds. The dramatic seacliffs are home to the third largest gannetry in the UK - comprising 36,000 pairs - with a supporting cast of guillemots, razorbills, black guillemots and increasing numbers of puffins.
It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area because it supports 73,000 breeding seabirds.
The island is accessible by boat from Girvan.
Barrhill is only 12 miles from the coast so within that radius there is river, loch and sea fishing available.
Barrhill has its own angling club.
Day permits are available.
There are many fossil sites close to Barrhill and a little internet research will provide you with locations and what can be found.
Lady Burn is a very famous site in Scotland, and has highly fossiliferous rocks including three famous 'starfish beds', and some superb, complete trilobites to be found. There are so many different fossils to be discovered here. It is well documented and you are sure to find something!
For further details:
Some of the gardens around Barrhill that are well worth a visit:
Castle Kennedy, Glenwhan, Ardwell Gardens, Logan Gardens.
Rather than describe them here the links to their own websites are given below.http://www.castlekennedygardens.co.uk/
The location in the secluded valley of the Water of Luce, easily conveying a sense of the isolation and peaceful tranquillity that was so important to the Cistercian way of life.
The south transept isa well-preserved fragment of 13th-century Cistercian church architecture.
The chapter house built around 1500 and still roofed and entire, with fine architectural features and a wonderful acoustic.
The museum of monastic life is a fascinating collection of artefacts found during clearance work.
Loch Trool is renowned as having some of the finest scenery in southern Scotland. Lying in the heart of the Galloway Forest Park it offers the visitor a perfect example of the unspoilt and untamed nature of Galloway as you circumnavigate the loch on the Glentrool Trail.
Sitting in an elevated position above Loch Trool lies the evocatively named Bruce's Stone, commemorating the famous battle of Glentrool between the Scots loyal to Robert the Bruce and the tyrannical English forces. Also towering above the loch is the highest peak in southern Scotland, the Merrick. Popular with climbers and hikers alike there is a clearly defined pathway to the summit by way of Benyellary. Those who make the effort are well rewarded on a clear day with full 360 degree views of Galloway and Ayrshire.
Some three miles from Loch Trool is the Glentrool Visitor Centre which acts as the trailhead for one of the world famous 7stanes mountain bike trails. Also nearby are the small hamlets of Glentrool Village, a village created to house the once many forest workers and their families and now a popular provider of holiday homes and self catering properties and Bargrennan, home of the famous House o' Hill Inn a welcome halt on the 212 mile Southern Upland Way.Glentrool Visitor Centre is the gateway to the Galloway hills, where you can pick up maps and information on the hill ranges. The Merrick, South Scotland's highest mountain at nearly 2,800ft can be climbed from Bruce's Stone.
There are waymarked trails, cycle routes and picnic areas.
Although Barrhill itself does not have a golf course there are courses at Turnberry, Girvan, Newton Stewart and Dailly.
Turnberry, which is famous for its championship golf course and luxurious hotel, is situated on the coast roughly 3 miles north of Girvan. The ruined Turnberry castle is also an interesting historical attraction, being the place where Robert the Bruce grew up.
The castle sits right on the coast next to the lighthouse.
There are waymarked walks and cycle routes including the exciting 7 stanes mountain bike trails and an easy access trail around the pond.
The forestry visitor centre with tea room is the start point for several woodland walk options which are separate from the popular mountain bike trails.
The Bruntis trail is 1.5 miles, The Viewpoint Trail is 2.5 miles and the Larg Hill Trail is 4 miles. The Papa Ha Trail, follow the woodpecker signs, is a long 4 miles which includes short sections on minor roads. A 3.5 miles easy flat tarred and forestry road route around the Palnure Burn is also a quiet route for a stroll.
The extended and improved adventure play area and picnic sites will appeal to the younger visitor.
Kirroughtree Visitor Centre opening times: 10.30am - 4.30pm daily.
The welcoming tea room serves light meals & refreshments. You can browse around the gift shop for that special souvenir.
Visit the centre for fun for all the family. The friendly staff offer information on all forest facilities.
An indoor forest classroom is available by arrangement for schools and groups.
Merrick Leisure Centre (Newton Stewart)
Situated adjacent to the Douglas Ewart High School in Newton Stewart the facility is close to the town centre. As a dual use facility, the Merrick Leisure Centre is unique in that the fitness suite remains open to the public during school hours.
- 25m x 8m pool which can be split into 4 lanes
- Male and female changing villages for pool
- Disable changing and family/group changing room
- Spa pool - situated just off pool side and will hold up to 6 people
- Sauna cabin - located just off poolside and will hold up to 8 people
- 16 station fitness suite
- Combination of c.v. and resistance equipment
- Hand weights
- Qualified staff available for information or assistance
- Individual programmes can be created to match personal needs and abilities
- Male and Female changing rooms specifically for Fitness Suite users
The sports hall can be used for any of the following:
- 3 badminton courts
- 3 short basketball courts
- 1 large basketball court
- 1 volleyball court
- 1 netball court
- 1 small-sided football court
For further details:
There are miles of forest roads to be explored but please take notice of any excluded areas bieng harvested. The timber wagons take no prisoners!
There are also two of the 7stanes near Barrhill.
Glen Trool http://7stanesmountainbiking.com/GlentroolUncover the wild mood of Galloway through its wide range of gentle to exhilarating rides. Set in Galloway Forest, Glentrool offers wild windswept riding side by side with history and nature. Choose from:
The Big Country Route
The unique 58km Big Country Route runs on minor public and forest roads without any singletrack. Don’t be misled by the absence of technical singletrack, as this is a challenging day in the saddle, with testing climbs and big descents. This route also features some magnificient views of the nearby lochs and hills.
Glentrool has two green-graded routes:
The Glen is a short leisurely trail which is suitable for families looking for an unhurried pace. Taking you round the picturesque Palnagashel Glen.
Also suitable for families, taking you north on charming forest roads. After a short climb, look forward to the long descent around Glencaird Hill. A short cut along the minor public road back to Glentrool Village is available if you want to miss out the climb.
Glentrool also has a blue-graded route:
The Green Torr
The Green Torr is nearly all on purpose-built singletrack. Climbing gradually up through the forest to overlook the picturesque Loch Trool.
Although the Green Torr Blue Route is moderate in both length and difficulty, it has a long, final descent which should appeal to riders who wouldn’t normally consider a route of this grade. It’s not without challenge though; as it climbs 218m to the Green Torr overlooking Loch Trool, before descending quickly back to the visitor centre. The ascent is fairly gentle, with just a few steep snaps, but coming back down is steeper and you should make sure everyone knows how to use their brakes effectively. The views are pretty good too!
Kirroughtree, home to some of the best technical singletrack in the country.
Also a favourite family venue with a wide range of trails, seasonal café and a great children’s play area.
Skills AreaThis small, compact set of trails is an ideal warm up for your ride, or if you are new to mountain biking, they’ll give you a taste of the type of trail features you'll find at Kirroughtree. The skills trails pack a lot into a short distance, you can choose from the blue-, red- or black-graded runs, and will demonstrate the more difficult obstacles you will meet - but don’t forget you can always get off and push the harder bits if you want to.
Kirroughtree spoils you for choice and you can make several selections from the wide range of trails available which include:
The green-graded Bargaly Wood
Offering a relaxed ride taking you around the scenic Bargalt Glen. For something more challenging try the blue-graded Taster Loop.
The blue-graded Larg Hill
Is great if you are looking for something with a bit of added excitement. This route also has the option of adding the Doon Hill extension, offering some great views.
The red-graded Twister
Is technically testing and more demanding on the rider than the other routes at Kirroughtree.
The black-graded Black Craig's
Is not for the nervous and requires skill to negotiate the highlights such as, McMoab's huge slabs and ridges of exposed granite.
Feoch Meadow (SWT)
Feoch Meadows is regarded as one of the finest grasslands in Ayrshire and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Along the Feoch Burn, free-draining neutral banks are interspersed with flushes, drainage lines and marshy areas. The burn is fast flowing with deep pools and several small rocky gorges. The flatter fields over the majority of the site are a mosaic of dry and wet acid grassland, rush pasture and mire. Plants that are uncommon or rare in the county, including nine orchid species, are found throughout the site but especially in the vicinity of the burn. The reserve is a working farm and the interest relies on achieving the correct grazing management. The large number of flowering plants makes the reserve excellent for butterflies, and dragonflies can usually be found along the burn on summer days.Wood Of Cree (RSPB)
The Wood of Cree is the largest ancient wood in southern Scotland. In spring, the woodland really comes alive, with bluebells on the ground and birdsong in the air. The wood is the perfect place to see willow tits, which are declining in the UK, as well as barn and tawny owls.
As well as the Wood of Cree there are several other woodland reserves in the Cree valley. You can find out more about these by using the link at the bottom of this page.Ailsa Craig (RSPB)
Ailsa Craig lies nine miles offshore, rising to 1,109 feet. The dramatic seacliffs are home to the third largest gannetry in the UK - comprising 36,000 pairs - with a supporting cast of guillemots, razorbills, black guillemots and increasing numbers of puffins.Grey Hill Grasslands (SWT)
Grey Hill Grasslands is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation because of its unusual geology and associated flora. Serpentinite, an ultra-basic rock type, is only found in four other localities in the British Isles; the Lizard in Cornwall being the most famous. At Grey Hill, large areas of the south-facing slopes have species-rich grassland with colourful herbs such as thyme and common rock-rose. The locally uncommon juniper and the nationally scarce spring sandwort occur where the serpentinite outcrops. A distinctive base-rich mire has developed on the wide plateau to the east of Grey and Fell Hills. Along old drainage lines, and in natural soakways, the vegetation is dominated by black bog-rush. Rainwater run-off forms basin mires in natural depressions along the foot of the hills. Dry acid grassland and dry heath cover the granite slopes of Grey Hill. Botanists and butterfly enthusiasts enjoy this reserve. Grey Hill stands at 214m and the site is accessed at sea level. Impressive views along the coast and of Ailsa Craig can be enjoyed during the climb.Blackcraig Wood (SWT)
Blackcraig Wood is a semi-natural ancient woodland of oak, birch, ash and wych elm. Hazel, rowan, holly and hawthorn grow underneath and where the canopy is less dense the ground is carpeted with ivy, bluebell and greater woodrush. Of the six Scottish bat species, pipistrelle, brown long-eared and noctule bats are found here.Carsegowan Moss (SWT)
Carsegowan Moss SSSI, with the characteristic dome of a lowland raised bog, is one of a number of remaining sites which once formed an extensive area of peatlands along the Solway. Cranberry and yellow flowered bog asphodel grow within the sphagnum carpet. Hen harriers, merlins, short eared and barn owls may be seen hunting. In summer look for dragonflies and adders.Kinniegar shore
Kinniegar shore (Ballantrae) is a nature reserve offering nesting grounds for a wide variety of birds in the nearby cliffs, and the shingle beach is especially important for breeding terns. Crossing the banks of the River Stinchar, which runs into Kinniegar shore, is an old arc bridge dating from 1770 that was built from the overlooking Ardstinchar Castle, which was once visited by Mary Queen of Scots when on a pilgrimage. The beach provides a wonderful view of Ailsa Craig. Operated by South Ayrshire Council.Crook of Baldoon (RSPB)
The view that opens up in front of you as you approach the car park is breathtaking. Cairnsmore of Fleet and the Galloway Hills act as a backdrop to wild saltmarsh and mudflats which positively ooze with birdlife. Watch thousands of golden plovers, lapwings, knots and dunlins wheel in the sky in a mesmerising display.Penninghame Pond, a Forestry Commission Scotland wood
Wildlife Trust: www.wildlifetrust.org.uk
The Woodland Trust: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Scottish Wildlifw Trust: www.swt.org.uk
Cree Valley Woodlands: www.creevalley.com/
The Forrestry Commission: www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
Glen Trool and Kirroughtree offer easily accessible waymarked walks of various lengths. Penninghame pond has an easy circuit of the pond.
The Merrick is a relatively straightforward and easy hill walk from the car park near Bruces Stane. The route climbs past the ruined Culsharg bothy then up on to Benyellary. After dropping slightly the final climb to the summit trig-point is made. Be aware that if descending in poor visibility a very common mistake is to walk down the west ridge into remote terrain. The total round-trip distance from Glen Trool to the summit and back is just under 8 miles.
The Southern Upland Way passes within 5 miles of Barrhill.
There are many miles of forrestry commision tracks surrounding Barrhill.
Also refer to section on Nature Reserves
Barrhill is a truly rural location with an abundance of wildlife. If it lives in scotland is is most likely that it can be found locally.
As an illustration these photos were all taken in my garden:
Rarer sightings just down the road include Pine Martin, Otter, Hen Harrier, Great Crested Newt, Adder, Badger etc.
Other attractions a little further afield
Bladnoch Distillery is Scotland’s most southerly distillery nestles on the green banks of the River Bladnoch, from which it takes its name. Located in this beautifully remote area of Galloway, the distillery has been producing the “Spirit of the Lowlands” since 1817.
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum offers a truly unique encounter with Scotland’s favourite son. The museum comprises the famous Burns Cottage where the poet was born, the historic landmarks where he set his greatest work, the elegant monument and gardens created in his honour and a modern museum housing the world’s most important collection of his life and works.
Crossraguel Abbey was founded in 1244 by Donnchadh, Earl of Carrick, following an earlier donation of 1225, to the monks of Paisley Abbey for that purpose. They reputedly built nothing more than a small chapel and kept the balance for themselves. The Earl took the matter to the Bishop of Glasgow for arbitration and, winning his case, forced the monks to build a proper abbey.
Crossraguel was sacked in 1307 by the army of Edward I. It was rebuilt on a larger scale and remained a monastery until 1560, when the Reformation ended monastic institutions in Scotland. Some of the stone has been removed for local construction, but the Abbey ruins remain some of the most complete of any medieval religious house to survive in Scotland. The site is looked after by Historic Scotland and is open to the public with an entrance charge.
Culzean Castle and Country Park, visitors could easily spend a whole day exploring the Castle, grounds and gardens of this spectacular cliff top attraction. many special events take place at Culzean throughout the year making it a perfect day out for all the family.
Threave Gardens and Threave Castle at Castle Douglas are well worth a visit. Threave Castle is located on an Island on the River Dee and is accessed by foot and then by boat. Threave Gardens is well knows for its daffodils in the spring time, colourful displays in the Summer and autumn tints from the trees and heathers
The Royal Burgh of Whithorn has an important history which is immediately obvious from the medieval street layout. Even more significant is the hidden evidence of the early origins of a settlement on this site going back to the 5th century, Scotland’s first Christian community
Wigtown was officially designated as Scotland's National Book Town in 1998 and is now home to over 20 book-related businesses. A book lovers haven – and with over quarter of a million books to choose from, old and new … it is impossible to escape empty-handed.