The Town Trail is a good way to get a feel for Castle Douglas. It’s a gentle stroll around the town, taking in sights of particular interest. Starting at Market Hill it takes you along King Street towards the clock tower and taking in the Town Hall.
The walk begins at the Market Hill car park and walking onto King Street towards the Douglas Arms down at the bottom
Turn right at the Douglas Arms into St. Andrew’s Street and walk to the Town Hall, built in 1862 with the town emblem on the frontage. Continue along the street to the junction and turn right into Cotton Street, named for Sir William Douglas’s ill-fated cotton industry.Further up the street the building which is now the community centre was once the High School. Cross the road here onto Railway Terrace, turning left onto Wallace Court. This is part of the route of the former Stranraer to Dumfries railway line (1861 – 1965). Continue on this road to the old railway bridge at Abercromby Road. If you cross the road the railway track can still be made out past the Golf Course.
Walk down Abercromby Road, crossing Cotton Street back onto St Andrew’s Street, retracing your steps to the corner of King Street. Here stands the Clock Tower, the location of the original Town Hall. The first tower, built by Sir William Douglas, was destroyed by fire in 1892 as did a second clock tower forty years later. A plaque on the wall states that in May 1935 Henry J. Hewat of Paterson, New Jersey, USA, donated the present clock tower to the town.
Cross over King Street and continue along Andrews Street to the Kings Arms Hotel, believed to be around 200 years old. Turn left along Queen Street and continue up its length. This was a planned residential area of 18th century Castle Douglas.
Near the top of the street the hexagonal building is the auction market. The nearby Market Inn was once the veterinary surgeon’s house. Back at the car park, the small grassy mound is the former bandstand. The Tourist Information Centre beside it is an essential stop to pick up leaflets on local walks, accommodation, things to see and do in the town and surrounding area.
Carlingwark Loch Circular Trail
This 3 and half mile walk around the loch and through the farmlands is a moderate stretch that definitely requires some sturdy shoes! A favorite among locals and bird watchers this walk takes you along roadside pavements, minor roads and grass paths, and has great views of Carlingwark loch.
You start your walk from the lochside park and turn onto Whitepark Road. Take a right turn following the road south towards Gelston and past the cemetery. At Cuckoo Bridge take a right following the ‘Footpath’ sign over the boardwalk and then through a fenced off footpath to the minor road near Mid Kelton. You will cross a designated Site of Special Scientific interest for wildlife, along the boardwalk across the marshland. This boardwalk is the perfect place to watch wildlife, as it is a breeding ground for songbird, and has beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, like the nearby hills of Screel and Bengairn.
Once you have reached the end of the countryside path you will turn right onto the road and continue past the Douglas Mausoleum and Threave Gardens, you will then return to Castle Douglas using the pavement/cycle path along the side of Carlingwark Loch.
The walk takes roughly 2 hours, so leave yourself plenty of time and maybe stop into Castle Douglas for a well earnt cup of tea and slice of cake!
Photo by Keith Kirk Photo By Kirsty Sweeting
Threave Estate Circular Walk
This 2 and half-mile walk can take you as little as 1 and half hours to do the main walk. However, with several bird hides, Threave Castle and Gardens to explore there is plenty to do around the estate to keep you occupied all day long.
This walk starts from the lower end of Threave Gardens’ main carpark, the route will take you along gravel, grass, and beaten earth which can be muddy at certain times of the year.
During the walk, you will get down to the old Castle Douglas to Kirkcudbright railway line which ran from 1861 to 1965. You can also take two detours during the walk one for a closer view of Threave Castle if the weather allows for the boat to run you across to the little island upon which it sits, and the other to Lamb Island. This bird hide is a great place to watch waterfowl at any time of year and is well worth the additional steps!
The walk ends back at Threave gardens, which is a great place to stop for a cup of tea or a spot for lunch. The extensive gardens have many great spots to take in views and wildlife, and this is a great place to see red squirrels!
Photo by Ben Lumsden
For more information about local walks and for maps, go to Heart of Galloway Visitor Centre on Market Hill.