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This page: updated 15th July 2022

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Caerlaverock Country Walk
Dumfries and Galloway

Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve - Countryside Walk

Caerlaverock Countryside WalkDistance: 3.5km / 2miles

Typical duration: 1 hour

Walking on: Hard surface paths, beaten earth, boardwalks.

Starting point: B725 car park on right 2.5 miles from Glencaple.

Walk overview

Woodland and estate country walk.

Of special interest

Caerlaverock Castle - an impressive sandstone ruin of a unique triangular medieval fortress.

The castle and grounds are managed by Historic Scotland.

The entry charge (if you wish to enter the grounds near the castle) is displayed on signs and tickets must be purchased from the visitor centre.

The walk in detail

  1. The first 100m is an all ability trail which ends at a viewing area overlooking the merse.
  2. At the viewing area bear left along the woodchip path and enter the woodlands of Castle Wood.
  3. Follow the path - there is an option to turn off to a picnic area and bird-viewing seat (signposted from the main path).
  4. At the southeast corner of Castle Wood the path turns left past a row of cottages (Back o'Woods).
  5. You can choose to turn right here for a short circuit through a recently planted broadleaved woodland with views out to neighbouring farmland.
  6. This circuit path rejoins the main track near the site of the first castle at Caerlaverock - abandoned around 1277 when the buildings started to collapse.
  7. Keep going and you will reach the impressive sandstone ruins of the second castle, a unique triangular medieval fortress.
  8. Return along the same route.

Look out for

Barnacle geese from Svalbard (an island off northern Norway) spend winter on the Solway and many choose the merse and farmland around Caerlaverock.

The rare and protected natterjack toad can also be found here - identified by a distinctive yellow line along its back.

Learn about the local wildlife from the information boards before entering the nature reserve.

Also enjoy

A cup of tea and a rest at Caerlaverock Castle tea-room which opens from April to October. The playground, visitor centre and toilets are open all year.

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How to get here

Head out of Dumfries on the B725, pass through Glencaple and continue along the shore road into Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. The car park is in a layby approximately 2.5 miles from Glencaple on the right.

If you wish to cycle to Caerlaverock follow the National Cycle Route 7 from Dock Park heading for Gretna.