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Kirroughtree Country House Hotel
01671 402 141
A picturesque market town, Newton Stewart is sited on the slopes above the River Cree and is a pleasant mixture of building styles and materials with the fine bridge over the river built in 1813 by John Rennie.
Newton Stewart Museum exhibits nursery, tradesmen's tools, dairy, kitchen, smithy, textiles, local photographs and other aspects of natural and social history.
Newton Stewart is within reach of coast, forest and mountains, and some of Galloway’s finest scenery is to be found here.
To the east, rising steeply to 711 metres (2,332ft), is Cairnsmore of Fleet round which Richard Hannay was pursued in John Buchan’s ’The Thirty-nine Steps’.
To the north is Merrick at 843 metres (2,766ft), the highest mountain in southern Scotland, together with several other summits of more than 610 metres (2,000ft). Merrick can be climbed from Glen Trool (see below).
The Southern Upland Way crosses this area and although much of it is demanding walking, the section along Glen Trool is easier and can be enjoyed by less experienced walkers. Glen Trool is a favourite beauty spot well provided with signposted trails and picnic areas. The loch, long and narrow with craggy hillsides, the mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees and tumbling waterfalls is all reminiscent of Highland Scenery.
Much of this area is within Galloway Forest Park - the largest forest park in Britain covering 300 square miles of spectacular forest, moorland and lochs. Forest drives, walking, cycling and horesriding routes are available whilst the artworks and monuments and spectacular view points provide plenty to see. The Forest Park also houses a Red Deer Range, Wild Goat Park, Clatteringshaws and Kirroughtree Visitor centres and Bruce's Stone - one of two in the forest commemorating Robert the Bruce's first triumph over the English.
Once a busy port from which granite, quarried nearby, was shipped. The old harbour and waterfront has some excellent 18th Century and early 19th Century houses. A clock tower commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The old school is now the Creetown Gem Rock Museum housing a world famous collection of gems, rocks, crystals and fossils.
Across the River from Newton Stewart is Minnigaff, which is the older settlement, though today much smaller than Newton Stewart. There are traces of a former motte at Minnigaff and the village lies on an old road followed especially by pilgrims on their way to Whithorn Priory.
Follow "The Queen's Way" from Newton Stewart and you will arrive in New Galloway, the smallest Royal Burgh in Scotland established by Viscount Kenmure in 1633. The fine granite bridge was built by Rennie. This district needed 10,000 Highland troops to subdue the Covenanters. Now a holiday centre with golf, fishing and watersports in the vicinity, and also the RSPB Ken-Dee Nature Reserve.