Farm Holidays in Scotland
by Quality Farm Holidays - South West Scotland
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The Attractions of South West Scotland

[Introduction] [South Ayrshire] [Mull of Galloway] [Machars]
[Galloway Forest Park] [Kirkcudbright and Gatehouse] [Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas]
[Dumfries & Galloway Golf Links] [Nature Reserves in Dumfries & Galloway]

The Machars :

The Machars is a level plateau on a wide peninsula that reaches south from the Galloway Hills into the Solway Firth. The Machars is a rolling countryside with many low hills and stream-valleys, with a mixture of sandy beaches and low sea-cliffs. The 'Devon' of Scotland, this is rich agricultural land, one of only two parts of Dumfries and Galloway with arable cropland. Its fertility has for thousands of years made it an area for settlement. This is reflected in the stone circles, burial mounds, ancient crosses, religious and castle sites, to be found in this area.

For the purposes of this index, most attractions north of the A75 in this area are listed in the Galloway Forest Park.

The major attractions include the St.Ninian's Priory at Whithorn, probably the first Christian site in Scotland. Barely fifteen miles away at Mochrum, there is the motte (castle hill) of the McCullochs, a clan whose infamous reputation as reivers was matched only by the Douglas family. At the south of the Machars, the fishing-port of the Isle of Whithorn attracts tourists as it used to attract pilgrims. Further north, at the entrance to the Machars near Newton Stewart, there is the old county town of Wigtown, whose status as a Book Town brings a different kind of pilgrim.

Quality Farm Holidays can offer Bed and Breakfast or Self-Catering at the following locations in or near the Machars :-
(1) : In the Machars :
East Culkae, Sorbie, - Bed and Breakfast.
(2) : North and West of the Machars :
Challoch Farm, Newton Stewart, - Bed and Breakfast.
Blair Farm, Barrhill, - Bed and Breakfast.
Glengennet Farm, Barr, - Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering.
(3) : North and East of the Machars :
Meiklewood, Ringford, - Bed and Breakfast
Balmaghie House, Glenlochar, - Self-Catering.
Craigadam, Castle Douglas, Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering.
Barclosh Farm, Dalbeattie, - Self-Catering.

Newton Stewart and area :

This small town beside the River Cree has its own charm and a cluster of interesting attractions. It was decided to include it with the Machars as it is in a sense the eastern gateway to this charming area, as well as to Glen Trool to the north.

Barholm Mains Open Farm : Enjoy seeing traditional farm animals.
Telephone : 01671-820346.

Creebridge Mohair and Woollens : Woollen mill specialising in luxury mohair fabrics.
Telephone : 01671-402868.

Creetown Gem Rock Museum : This unusual all-weather museum and audio-visual display offers a fascinating insight into fossils, minerals, gemstones and the wonders of geology. Definitely one for all ages. Gift shop, parking and tearoom.
Telephone : 01671-820357. Fax : .
Website : E-mail : Not available.

Creetown Visitors' Centre : History of Creetown and area, - granite quarries, shipping and social history. Display on Wigtown Bay Nature Reserve.
Telephone : 01671-820251.

Ferrytoon Carriage Services : Regular tourist drives in a four-wheeled carriage drawn by a Highland pony.
Telephone : 01671-820428.

Merrick Swimming Pool, Newton Stewart : Municipal swimming pool.
Telephone : 01671-404301.

The Museum, Newton Stewart : Displays on the natural and social history of Galloway.
Telephone : 01671-402472/402309.

Sophies Puppenstube and Dolls' House Museum : 50 inhabited dolls' houses/displays picturing life throughout the ages from home and abroad at 1:12 scale. Displays glazed in, allowing safe family viewing. Giftshop sells miniatures.
Telephone : 01671-403344.

The Machars :

Gardens and Wildlife :

Galloway House Gardens, Garlieston Telephone : 01988-600680.

Monreith Animal World, Shore Centre and Museum : Collection of birds and animals including Mij and Lucy the Otters. Learn about the seashore and local author Gavin Maxwell, who wrote 'Ring of Bright Water'.
Telephone : 01988-700217.

Tropic House Butterfly Centre : Breeding and exhibiting tropical butterflies.
Telephone : 01671-402485. Fax : Not available.
Website : E-mail : Not available.

Go to Nature Reserves for details of local wildlife reserves. There are three notable ones at Black Craig, Carsegowan Moss and the huge Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve.

Museums and Monuments :

N.B. : Some of the best examples of their kind, in a small area.

Bladnoch Distillery Visitors' Centre : The furthest south of all Scottish distilleries, established in 1817. Now a visitor centre with a difference. Guided tours, gift shop, fishing and canoeing. River and woodland walks. Picnic and barbecue. Good for a visit and a dram.
Telephone : 01988-402605. Fax : Not available.
Website : E-mail : N/a.

Glenluce Motor Museum : Collection of vintage and classic cars, motor cycles and memorabilia.
Telephone : 01581-300534.

Whithorn Trust Museum and Excavation : The first Christian religious site in Scotland.
Telephone : 01988-500508. Fax : .
Website : E-mail : Not available.
Notable Events :St. Ninian's Week - 11 - 19 September 1999.

Barsalloch Fort, Monreith : Iron Age promontory fort defended by a deep horseshoe-shaped ditch. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Chapel Finian, nr. Port William : Foundation remains of a small chapel in an enclosure. Probably built in c. 1100 A.D. as a chapel for pilgrims to Whithorn. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Druchtag Motte, Mochrum : One of some sixty motte and bailey fortresses in Dumfries and Galloway, probably 1100-1200 A.D., the ancestral home of the McCulloch clan. Amongst the first monuments preserved in Scotland. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Drumtroddan Cup and Ring Marked Rocks, nr. Port William : Three Bronze-Age groupings of these markings on a section of bedrock. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Drumtroddan Standing Stones : Alignment of three standing stones, one overturned, near the cup and ring markings. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Glenluce Abbey, nr. Glenluce : Cistercian abbey founded c. 1192 A.D. by McFergus family. Excellent late-1500s Chapter House and very unusual piped water supply. Grave of James Gordon, - the 'Young Lochinvar'. Museum and gift shop. Open all summer and weekends in winter. Parking for cars and coaches. Wheelchair access. Managed by Historic Scotland. Entry Fee.
Telephone : 01581-300541. Fax : As phone.

Laggangairn Standing Stones : At Kilgallioch, New Luce, on Southern Uplands Way. Two stones carved with early Christian crosses. Access difficult, but signposted through Forestry Commission lands. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Rispain Camp, nr. Whithorn : Rectangular bnk-and-ditch enclosure of a small 1st or 2nd century A.D. settlement. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.

St. Ninian's Cave, nr. Physgill : Early crosses carved on rockface now badly weathered. Freestanding crosses from site in Whithorn Museum. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access. Access by footpath to beach. Parking at head of path.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

St. Ninian's Chapel, Isle of Whithorn : Restored roofless ruins of pilgrim chapel of c.1200 A.D. on the route to Whithorn. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Torhousekie Stone Circle, nr. Wigtown : Bronze Age recumbent stone circle of 19 boulders on the edge of a low mound. A type common in South West Scotland. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information).

Whithorn Priory and Museum : The earliest Christian religious site in Scotland, founded in the 400s A.D. by Saint Ninian. His 'Candida Casa' - 'Shining Light', - became known as Whithorn. A Priory of Premonstratensian Canons was built in the 1100s A.D. and became the cathedral church of Galloway. The adjacent Museum has a fine collection of early Christian stones, including the earliest, the Latinus stone, and the Monreith cross. Joint ticket with the Whithorn Trust's adjacent Visitor Centre. Managed by Historic Scotland. Entry Fee. Open Easter-October 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Telephone : 01988-500700. Fax : As phone.

Wigtown Martyrs' Monument : Hilltop monument to 17th century Covenanters who were executed for their beliefs.

Other Attractions :

From Ewe to Ewe : The shop that has everything on sheep. For local farm ewe's milk, home-made sheep cheese, sheepskin rugs, woollen jumpers, and every souvenir with a sheep theme. Cheesemaking demonstrations and tours of the farm can be booked.
Telephone : 01988-850224. E-mail : . Website : .

West Drumrae Farm : Horse riding and driving centre.
Telephone : 01988-700518.

Wigtown National Booktown : Scotland's first booktown, Wigtown has over a dozen bookshops (notably Old Bank and The Box of Frogs) and several websites.
Telephone (Machars Action) : 01988-402633. Fax : As Phone.
Website :
E-mail :

Golf Links and Courses :

For details of local golf courses go to Dumfries & Galloway Golf Links. There are five good golf courses in the Machars.

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All text and images © 1999 Richard Edkins of Dalbeattie Internet.
Quality Farmhouse Holidays website started 17th February 1999.
Last updated 8th April 2002.