|Galloway Kite Trail RSPB, The Old School, Crossmichael, Castle Douglas, DG7 3AP, GB |
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Galloway Red Kites - Dumfries and Galloway
The Galloway Red Kite Trail is an exciting nature watching opportunity to view spectacular red kites in lovely scenery. It is visited by families, walkers, cyclists, wildlife lovers and birdwatchers from across the UK and overseas. . The 'Galloway Kite Trail' around beautiful Loch Ken promotes the population of kites, recently re-established in Kirkcudbrightshire, and stimulates nature-based tourism to benefit local communities in the area. In so doing, the trail helps to strengthen the 'ownership' of the kites by local communities and tourist operators.
The trail is an anticlockwise route of some twenty four miles around Loch Ken (winter) with an additional sixteen miles of forest drive (summer only). You can collect a trail guide leaflet at business outlets on the trail or download the leaflet here. Cycling is a great way to spot red kites and the trail follows a fairly level route, with cycle racks provided at Boat O Rhone, New Galloway, Ken Dee Marshes and Mossdale. The west side of Loch Ken is particularly quiet and attractive for cyclists.
There are viewing points with interpretation boards; several walks,(from a few hundred metres to 5km); viewing hides; a feeding station; visitor centre with CCTV (summer only); information boards in various outlets around Loch Ken; and even two red kite sculptures! (at Parton and Mossdale). The trail is signposted with brown road signs in an anticlockwise direction and there are information points at Castle Douglas, Crossmichael, Parton and New Galloway, for additional guidance en route.
A feeding station, with visitor centre has been established at Bellymack Hill Farm near Laurieston, and over 100 kites have often been seen together over winter months around feeding time (2pm). These now include very few of the birds released between 2001 and 2005, as well as birds fledged in Galloway, with the odd visitor from elsewhere.
For a taster of the feeding spectacle at this farm, click on the red kite above for a link to YouTube and fantastic footage courtesy of Peter Hines.
An RSPB Scotland Community Liaison Officer is often present to provide information on the kites and other wildlife in the area. For forthcoming dates on when he is available at the feeding station or Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre in Galloway Forest Park, please click here.
The site sometimes also offers good views of raven and buzzard. Large numbers of kites are best seen in late afternoon in the winter months, but there are generally some kites around all day at any time of the year, and of course all round the rest of the trail.
Other places to enjoy wildlife in Dumfries & Galloway
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