Walk the walk

Moffat was Scotland’s first Walkers are Welcome town. Come and see why

Walking in Moffat and all across Southwest Scotland can be as challenging or as relaxed as you like.

Whether you want an all-day hike or just a gentle amble Moffat will be your perfect starting point. Look out for the many way-marked routes around town.

Walking in Moffat and all across Southwest Scotland means: clean air, crowd-free spaces and vistas at every turn. Which will entice you back again and again. One recent visitor called it: ‘A hill walker’s dream.’

These are just a few of our favourite walks…

The magical walk

Join the Merlin trail and discover the real story behind the legendary wizard. Merlin was one of the last great druids who lived right here in southern Scotland during the Dark Ages. Now a major new trail uncovering the true story of Merlin and his ties to the South of Scotland has been revealed.

Take a walk up Hart Fell and get close to his cave where he took shelter for over a decade. The full route was developed by the Arthur Trail Association with more than 30 sites across Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders, East Lothian and the Central Belt.

But what’s fact and what’s fiction? Find out about this little-known period in history at the Moffat Museum.

The woodland wander

Gallow Hill was once a commercial plantation and is now being replanted as a recreational broadleaf woodland with native species such as rowan, oak, holly, juniper and much more. It’s now owned by the Moffat community for future generations to enjoy.

Catch it at the start of its new life. Better still: sponsor a square of land or carbon-offset your trip with a donation. Tree-mendous fun.

The mega march

It’s rugged, it’s steep, it’s 212 miles long… can you take on the Southern Upland Way?

Britain’s first official coast-to-coast, long-distance footpath is largely undiscovered by many walkers. But ‘the Way’ has something for everyone.

Hardy types love the challenge of the hill walking while the shorter stretches appeal to those who want to take it one step at a time. Pick it up in nearby Beattock.

The challenging circuit

The Annandale Way is 55 miles long and Moffat is its most northerly point. There’s plenty to stop and stare at en route. Navigate steep climbs and rough ground as you follow the River Annan and discover delights such as a Roman watch tower and a classic U-shaped glaciated valley.

Some say it’s a life-changing experience. You decide.

The dramatic trek

The Grey Mare’s Tail, a 60m waterfall and the fifth highest in the UK, is named after the horse in Robert Burns’ poem Tam O’Shanter. This breathtaking nature reserve and hanging valley is home to stoats, goats and peregrine falcons.

Follow the falls all the way to the top on the well-defined path and you’ll discover Loch Skeen. A pleasing place to pause before your descent. For the brave, there’s ice climbing to be had in winter when temperatures drop so low the water freezes.

The hike with history

The impressive landmark that is the Devil’s Beef Tub is a 500ft deep hollow and its name refers to the practice of hiding cattle stolen during cross-border raids. Novelist Walter Scott wrote: ‘It looks as if four hills were laying their heads together, to shut out daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A damned deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is.’

But don’t let that put you off! You’d miss out on its spectacular views.

The high climb

Golf Course Hill is a short but fairly steep walk – you’ll need to put in some legwork. And your reward? The 180-degree panoramic vista of Moffat nestling in the hills of Upper Annandale and the Devil’s Beef Tub. Worth every step. Plus you can practise your golf on an impressive 18-hole moorland course at The Moffat Golf Club.

The gentle jaunt

Walking in Southwest Scotland doesn’t have to be arduous. Pick up the waterside walk following the River Annan which rises in the Devil’s Beef Tub and flows towards the Solway Firth.

Each season is a feast for the senses. Seek out the snowdrops, daffodils and primroses in springtime. Take in the delicious, subtle aroma of wild garlic when it’s in season and relax in the shade of the many trees on hot summer days. In autumn, nature shows off its glorious colours with aplomb.

And this walk is on the flat so no huffing and puffing is required.

Join a walking festival

The first Moffat Walking Weekend takes place during 1-3 October.

Your reading companions

Slow Britain Guide to Dumfries and Galloway and The Dumfriesshire Dales both by Donald Greig and Darren Flint

The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs by Tristan Gooley

Where to stay

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PHOTOGRAPH: courtesy of Philip Hardy



You will have to go a long way to find somewhere that provides such good value for the price

Ricky & Janice, Darlington

We’re glad we came

Luke, New Boston, USA

Super stay. Here three nights, would have enjoyed a week

Gilly, West Sussex

A great base for drives and walks

Darren, Lancashire

Best B&B ever. Everything was amazing, best hospitality. Can’t wait to come back

Diana, Oxfordshire

A special place

Nigel, Rutland

This is a beautiful B&B. Rooms are very comfortable and well equipped

Lizzie P, Merseyside

If only all b&b accommodation could be like this

Jane, Liverpool

Very friendly, welcoming hosts who know the history of the area well and share it so generously

Rodney, New Zealand

We were very impressed with everything: precision cleaning, immaculate decoration. Absolute adherence to Covid requirements

Carolyn, Leicestershire

Well done for providing everything needed in these challenging times

Sandra, Newark

The hosts respect for Covid infection control made me feel very happy to stay with them

Fiona, Malvern

What a wonderful discovery. Miles & Caroline have put so much care into their home to ensure that every moment you spend there is perfect

Rachel, Canary Islands

A fantastic welcome that continued throughout our stay. Now we have our own special place to stay when we return to Moffat

Joyce, Manchester