There is a great variety of habitats within this large area which includes high mountains, remote lochs, rushing rivers, large conifer plantations, oak woodlands, fertile lowlands and a rugged coastline. Below is a selection of the many opportunities available.
Kirroughtree Forest – Papy Ha`Bird Trail.
There is a carpark and other facitilies at the Kirroughtree FCS Visitor Centre which is a few miles east of Newton Stewart. It is signposted from the A75 at Palnure. There are 3.5 and 5 mile footpaths as well as a forest drive open from Easter to October.
Species – Tawny owl. Buzzard, Siskin, Common Crossbill, Whinchat and several warbler species including the Wood Warbler and Common Whitethroat.
Wood of Cree RSPB
The reserve is on the east bank of the River Cree, 4 miles north of Newton Stewart. Car park with information board, a one mile trail with a further 1 mile extension.
Species – Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Buzzard, Water Rail, Curlew and the occasional Osprey.
Glentrool is 19 miles north of Newton Stewart with parking at Bruce`s Stone, Caldons and Stroan Bridge Visitor Centre. There are various waymarked trails including a circular walk round Loch Trool, part of which is on the Southern Upland Way. There are information boards at Stroan Bridge and Caldons.
Species – Siskin, Common Crossbill, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart. In moorland areas you may see Wheatear, Peregrine, Dipper and Raven.
Raiders Road Forest Drive
This is an unsealed road through a conifer plantation with areas of birch woodland. access points are at Clatteringshaws Dam or Mossdale near Loch Ken. The road passes Loch Stroan where some waterfowl may be seen. There is an information board mid-way.
Species – Siskin, Common Crossbill, Red Kite Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Common Sandpiper and Nightjar.
Cally Woods FCS
Access point is off the old A75 at east end of Gatehouse of Fleet, near the Cally Palace Hotel. Oak woodland and mixed forest.
Species – Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Jay, Woodcock