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Galloway Red Kites - Dumfries and Galloway
The Galloway Red Kite Trail, an exciting nature watching opportunity to view spectacular red kites in lovely scenery is now attracting the attention of walkers, cyclists, wildlife lovers and birdwatchers in Dumfries and Galloway and from much further afield. The 'Galloway Kite Trail' around beautiful Loch Ken promotes the population of kites, recently re-established in Kirkcudbrightshire, as a source of nature-based tourism to benefit local communities in the area. In so doing, the trail is helping 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 fourteen miles of forest drive (summer only). You can collect a trail guide leaflet at business outlets on the trail or download the leaflet here. Being out on a bike is a great way to spot red kites and for the energetic, it’s a reasonably level route, with cycle racks provided at Boat O Rhone, New Galloway 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 two red kite sculptures, (at Parton and Mossdale). Information shelters are situated in Castle Douglas, Crossmichael, Parton and New Galloway. The trail is signposted with brown road signs in an anticlockwise direction, for additional guidance en route.
A feeding station with a viewing hide has been established at Bellymack Hill Farm near Laurieston, and over 100 kites have often been seen together over winter months. These include a few of the birds released between 2001 and 2005, as well as birds, fledged in Galloway, and the odd visitor from elsewhere. RSPB Scotland are present on some days to provide information and answer questions. You can find out when these dates are if you visit the trail, as information is provided in folders located at business outlets in the local area. 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.
The site 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.
A community liaison officer is funded by RSPB Scotland with support from Scottish Natural Heritage. This officer is present at either the Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre (Galloway Forest) or at Bellymack Hill Farm (Laurieston) on certain days. For forthcoming dates on when he is available at these sites, please click here.
Other places to enjoy wildlife in Dumfries & Galloway
|As part of the Connecting Communities With Wildlife project, RSPB Scotland have produced a practical viewing guide to help trail visitors learn about and discover other excellent wildlife in this part of Scotland, from Langholm in the east, to the Rhins of Galloway in the west. These manuals can be found at business outlets and various centres around the trail but if you would like to print a copy for your own reference, please click on the icon here. || || || |