Thursday, 21 September 2023
A tranquil spot at the heart of Galloway Forest Park. Discover the lively waters that meet at picturesque Loch Trool on scenic trails beneath the mighty Merrick. This area's history is also written into the landscape – look out for Bruce's Stone, overlooking the site of the Battle of Glen Trool, and a moving monument to 17th century covenanters who were slain for their religious beliefs.
For those seeking a few more thrills, Glentrool is one of the world-famous 7stanes mountain bike centres, with a range of trails for novice and experienced riders.
And once you've completed your outdoor adventures, unwind in the café and watch woodland birds busy on the feeders.
Can you spot tiny goldcrests on this circular trail through tranquil conifer woodland?
A smooth gravel path with moderate gradients, with some short fairly steep ramps.
Allow ¾ hour
As you go, listen out for the high, piping call of tiny goldcrests as they flit through the conifer canopy. These busy insect-eaters are the smallest birds in the UK.
Wind through the birch woods along the rushing Waters of Minnoch and Trool and look up to the high Galloway Hills.
Mostly loose gravel surface, with short uneven section. Includes one steep slope. Look out for vehicles along the short road section.
Allow 1½ hours
A scenic trail through the oakwoods alongside the Water of Trool. Discover the tragic Martyr’s Tomb and a magnificent viewpoint by Spout Head Waterfall.
Loose gravel surface throughout, with occasional uneven sections. Long slopes with several short steep sections. Includes two road crossings and a pair of bridges (one 0.9m wide).
Allow 2½ hours
Winding through the woods you'll see the poignant Martyrs' Stone, where six Covenanters were murdered in 1665 because of their convictions to obey God rather than the King. Enjoy spectacular views down Loch Trool as you return through the forest, passing the pretty Spout Head Waterfall.
You can extend this trail to make a full day out by joining the Loch Trool Loop (green waymarkers) at the bridge over the Water of Trool. This will take you right round Loch Trool and past the historic Bruce's Stone.
The Loch Trool Green Walking Loop is closed due to harvesting works.
A circuit of stunning Loch Trool and its untouched native oak woodlands. Great views throughout over the loch to the foothills of Merrick.
Loose and occasionally uneven gravel surface. Steeply rolling terrain with some long fairly steep slopes. Includes a bridge 0.9m wide, some steps and a section along the road.
Allow 4 hours
Listen hard and perhaps, above the gentle lapping of the loch, you might also hear the ancient roar of combat. Here on the Steps of Trool, a bitter battle was fought between the English and the Scots during the Wars of Scottish Independence 700 years ago.
This trail starts at Caldons car park, at the western end of Loch Trool. From Glentrool Visitor Centre, follow signs to Loch Trool and Bruce’s Stone. After about 1½ miles (2.5 km), turn right into the car park. You can extend this trail to make a full day out by joining it with the Water of Trool Trail (yellow waymarkers) at Caldons car park. This takes you through the forest to Glentrool Visitor Centre then back through the glen along the lovely Water of Trool.
Glentrool is one of the world class 7stanes mountain bike venues. It features green and blue graded trails and is the starting point for an epic 36 mile offroad journey into the heart of Galloway Forest Park.
Take a day long ride into the wild heart of Galloway Forest Park with magnificent views of the nearby lochs and hills. Embark on an epic journey that encompasses staggering views of Galloway’s lochs and hills. This route takes you along minor public and forest roads, and while there’s no technical singletrack, the Big Country route still offers a challenging ride with long climbs and sharp descents.
The Glen is a short leisurely trail around the picturesque Palnagashel Glen. Suitable for families looking for an unhurried pace. Enjoy picturesque views of Palnagashel Glen, on this short but sweet route that meanders along the banks of Black Linn and through tall larch trees. There’s forest track and a section of gentle singletrack.
The Green Torr climbs gradually up through the forest to stunning views over Loch Trool. This ride mainly features purpose built singletrack, and the lack of large rocks and tree roots make it welcoming to less experienced mountain bikers. The most challenging section is the steady 218 metre climb through forest to the Green Torr, after which you can enjoy the long final descent back down to the Glentrool Visitor hub.
Glentrool is a great place to watch wildlife. See the wide variety of woodland birds that visit the feeders or flutter in the canopy overhead, including great tits, goldcrests and crossbills. Red squirrels and roe deer are also regular visitors to the woods around the centre, especially early in the morning and at twilight.
We’ve established a mountain garden at Glentrool to protect and breed from some very special wee trees that grow high on the hills at the very edges of the woods. These small, stunted trees look quite unremarkable but are an important remnant of rare mountain woodland. Look out for tiny junipers and a variety of minute mountain willows. Willows love wet places – their Latin name Salix comes from the Celtic sal (near) and lis (water).
Scotland has some of the darkest skies in Europe, and Galloway Forest Park is one of the darkest places in Scotland – which is why it’s the UK’s first Dark Sky Park.Glentrool is a brilliant place to enjoy the night sky – look out for information panels at the visitor centre which will help you spot the stars.
National Cycle Route 7 (Glasgow to Carlisle via Dumfries and Glen Trool) also winds through the Forest Park, linking Glentrool with the two other visitor centres here. You might not want to tackle the whole 200 miles, but get a taste of the experience on scenic stretches of the route.
The Southern Upland Way runs along the Water of Trool just below Glentrool Visitor Centre. This is Britain's first official coast to coast long distance footpath, running 212 miles (340 km) from Portpatrick on the Dumfries & Galloway coast to Cockburnspath on the North Sea between Edinburgh and Berwick on Tweed. It’s a dramatic and challenging route through the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands. Sample a scenic stretch from Glentrool to Loch Trool and see if you’re inspired to walk the rest.
The Visitor Centre has toilets (with fully accessible facilities) and a welcoming café. Toilet facilities are only open during normal café opening times.
10:30 am - 4:30 pm 7 days a week
The charges to park at Glentrool are:
Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our local forest list without the £ symbol.
Available in advance by downloading the relevant application form and emailing to the Regional Office. The Galloway and Dumfries and Galloway Annual Pass can also be purchased from the cafes listed on the form. Please read our Annual Pass terms and conditions (PDF) before applying.
Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.
Dogs are welcome in the visitor centre and café.
The turning for Glentrool Visitor Centre is signposted from the unclassified road that passes north from Glentrool village.
DG8 6SZ is the nearest postcode.
Short walk to one of Scotland's most beautiful views
An ancient semi-natural woodland, home to wildflowers and many birds