Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve



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The Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR, close to the Galloway Forest Park near Newton Stewart, is one of the wildest places in southwest Scotland, yet surprisingly accessible. There are wide-ranging views of the mountains of the Southern Uplands, and a self-guided trail and the track of a former railway will take you to most of the many special features of this beautiful reserve. You may hear the eerie cries of peregrines, the harsh croak of ravens or the onomatopoeic sound of stonechats on a summer visit. Roe deer live in the woodland fringes and red deer on the higher hills, while delicate dragonflies and damselflies dart around the pond areas and orchids bloom on the heath. The bronze of the bracken and the purple of the heather provide a stunning autumnal backdrop of colour for the rutting red deer stags in the main area of the reserve.

Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover Dumfries & Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway is a wonderfully undiscovered corner of Scotland – a romantic land of wooded glens, high hills and exposed moorland, haunted by its colourful past and the ghosts of those who fell in fierce and bloody battles. Heading west from Gretna Green you soon reach Dumfries, straddling the River Nith, where you may see red-breasted mergansers in summer.

The market town has strong associations with one of Scotland’s most famous sons, Robert Burns, who farmed nearby and returned to Dumfries towards the end of his life. You’ll find Burns-related visitor attractions around town, plus a portfolio of other sights ranging from ruined castles and abbeys to quirky museums. You can see for miles from the Camera Obscura, which occupies the top floor of the 18th-century windmill.

To the north lies a vast and endless landscape; mile upon mile of open moorland and afforested slopes stretching towards the Ayrshire coast. On the long haul to Stanraer, you’ll want to make regular stops and visit places like Gatehouse of Fleet, a delightful 18th-century planned town, and Creetown, a planned village on the estuary on the River Cree. Perfect for walking and fishing, Dumfries and Galloway seems gloriously untouched by 20th-century progress.

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