The motte above Ardwell pond. Image by SRWD 2012

The motte above Ardwell pond. Image by SRWD 2012

Ardwell is situated about 2 miles south of Sandhead on the shore of Luce Bay. One of the most notable features of the village is the ancient shoreline rising above the village, a testimony to the varying heights of sea levels over the millenia.

As you approach the village along the A716 (Stranraer – Drummore road) the cross roads at the northern end of the village gives access (on the left) to the foreshore of Luce Bay and the adjoining Ardwell Holiday Chalets. There are six self catering chalets for hire throughout the year, with great views across the Bay and plenty of opportunity for a BBQ or beach fire. These chalets, incidentally, offer a great place from which to observe the night sky over Luce Bay, due to the low levels of light pollution there.

A right turn at the crossroads takes the visitor up towards Ardwell Kirk, a beautiful structure, built by the local Lairds for the use of the local population. (Services every second Sunday). About half-way between the crossroads and the Kirk, look for the entrance, on the left, to Ardwell Gardens. Beside Ardwell House is an interesting walled garden (with seasonal plant sales), and a  very pleasant ‘Pond Walk’ that takes a route around the exterior gardens, through the woodland surrounding Ardwell House, down towards the sea and then back round again via the ancient high shoreline. At the top of this one can find a medieval Motte with some fine views of Ardwell House and the surrounding countryside.

In the centre of the village stands a boat dealers and a chandlers. They also sell fishing rods, tackle, a wide range of bait and accessories. They can also provide a wealth of knowledge about local marks to fish, suggested bait and tackle and what’s being caught lately. (typically Mackeral, Pollack, Tope…)  The chandler’s also sells ice cream, soft drinks and – for the young – buckets and spades!

After passing the boat dealer’s, keep an eye out on the left for access to the car park beside the foreshore. Apart from hard and grass-standing spaces for cars to park, there is also a slipway to launch boats from, plus picnic benches/tables and public toilets (seasonal opening). The beach here is rocky with occasional patches of clear sand, and is also serviced by the new Coastal Path.The path stretches from Drummore to Bareagle Point (and thence onwards into Stranraer to join the Glen App route north). The Bay is very popular with Kayakers, motorboats, sea anglers and windsurfers.

Two miles south of Ardwell is the world renowned RHS Logan Botanic Garden. (well signposted along the A716) Here you will find a wide range of flora species, both domestic and exotic. The remains of a castle are incorporated into part of the walled garden. There is ample parking, a plant shop, excellent translation and interpretation services for visitors and a great bistro/coffee shop on site. The Stranraer – Drummore bus service passes the end of the drive up to Logan Botanic Garden.

Ardwell: Bluebells carpet the woodland walk - image by SRWD

Ardwell: Bluebells carpet the woodland walk – image by SRWD