9 easy walks in Southwest Scotland

Explore on foot, History and heritage, Open spaces

Walking in Scotland doesn’t have to be all about munro bagging or hiking to the highest point.

So we have chosen 9 easy walks in Southwest Scotland: Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

The leisurely slow path can be just as pleasing.

Take your time to stop and admire the unspoilt beauty, the unique wildlife and the dramatic skies.

And Moffat is the perfect base to discover them all…

1. Wander down by the riverside

Do (a small part of) the Annandale Way without much effort on Moffat’s scenic waterside walk and river corridor.

Alongside the wooded banks of the River Annan, this lovely walk takes you into town under a shelter of magnificent trees.

Look out for kingfishers on the riverbank.

You could extend your walk along to Station Park and its boating lake.

2. Join a nature trail

Moffat Community Nature Reserve, once a quarry, is now a haven for birds, butterflies and dragonflies – and walkers who like to take things slowly.

There are a few circular woodland walks, spots to stop for a picnic, three ponds and a couple of hides for birdwatchers. A peaceful place to nature watch.

3. Go golden eagle spotting

Take the path towards Gallow Hill (Moffat Community Woodland) via Tank Wood – you can stop at the double gates and retrace your steps or continue round the hill.

There are a few inclines but worth the little bit of effort because the views all around are breathtaking.

Watch out for golden eagles – they are here! – and the Moffat alpacas.

There is some foraging – wild raspberries, blackberries – to be had too.

4. Do a lap of the loch

Relish the historic and literary connections at St Mary’s Loch, the largest natural loch and one of the most attractive in the Scottish Borders.

A complete circuit might take you four hours but it’s mainly on the flat. The route includes the spot where William Wallace was elected Guardian of Scotland: St Mary’s Kirkyard.

5. Seek out a famous tree

Take a gentle stroll around the usually deserted Carrifran Wildwood – an amazing eco success story – and discover Scotland’s Tree of the Year.

Once this lonely rowan tree stood lonely as a cloud. Now 20 years on, 600,000+ trees are flourishing here.

6. Get close to wildlife

Earshaig Lochans Nature Reserve in Moffat is a wonderful green space surrounded by views of the Southern Uplands.

There are two lochans, one a wetlands area with a boardwalk so you can get across easily – the whole place is teeming with creatures.

Go in springtime for the frogs’ chorus and really get close to nature!

7. Take Moffat’s heritage trail

A conservation area since 1970, the town is a feast of rich history and architecture on display for all to see.

Along your walkabout, enjoy its oldest house dating back to 1723, the Georgian Town Hall, which was once a baths house when Moffat had a spa in the 17th century, and the old churchyard with its historic (and some towering) gravestones.

Why not continue your walk at night to the Moffat Community Observatory for a dark sky walk?

8. Complete a circuit to a castle

Castle Loch Circuit in Lochmaben is an easy-peasy, low-level, off-road circular walk in a pretty nature reserve.

There’s a wooded sculpture trail, plenty of wildlife and Lochmaben Castle ruins – claimed to once be the home of Robert the Bruce.

9. Feast your eyes on a forest

Ae is the shortest name in the English language – and that’s not the only reason to visit the Forest of Ae.

It’s huge but it’s also the perfect place for a nice ramble offering superb viewpoints overlooking the Water of Ae.

Discover the best gardens in Southwest Scotland, all of which are a joy to walk around.
Read more here.
There will be plenty of gentle walks on the Moffat Walking Weekend during the autumn.
Ask us for details.

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