History of Galloway

Scotland's colourful and turbulent history is well represented around the fringes of the Galloway Hills, but seldom did anything of note occur within their bleak confines.

Galloway has a long and proud history going back almost 14 centuries when the first humans arrived on foot as the last ice age receded.

Very little is known about the first few centuries but archeologists are constantly finding evidence to gain a better picture of our ancestors
and how they lived. We know hunter-gatherers settled along the coastal margins during the later Stone Age period and migrated during the
Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages.

The geographical position of Galloway, being close to the English border, meant there was constant interaction over the centuries, but surrounded
by sea, rivers and hills it was a difficult area to control and was referred to as the "Kingdom of Galloway".

Over the centuries Galloway was visited by the Romans, Christianity was established by St Ninian in 379 AD and the Vikings arrived in the 8th century.
The Kingdom of Scotland was established in 843 AD and a succession of Houses ruled until Robert the Bruce was crowned King in 1306, but it was disputed
and heralded a period of turbulence culminating in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The early years of this struggle were in Galloway with battles at Raploch
Moor and Loch Trool and this period and area is often called "The Cradle of Scottish Independence".

In the second half of the seventeenth century there was a period of conflict between the Scottish Presbyterian Covenanting movement  and the government forces of
Charles 11 and James V11. This was largely in the south west, particularly Galloway with in access of 18000 covenanters murdered.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Galloway, along with other parts of southern Scotland, endured the Lowland Clearances which in many ways
was even more brutal than the well documented Highland Clearances.

Galloway today is still off the beaten track but with our empty hills is well worth the keen walker taking time to visit and savour the beauty and solitude.

Galloway Forest Park

The Galloway Forest Park covers much of the forestry Commission's holdings in the Galloway Hills. Some 250 square miles (670 sq km) of land was designated as a Forest Park in 1943. Although the Forestry Commission's primary purpose is to produce timber, not all the land has been planted. There are no plantations on the highest hills, where the trees simply do not thrive, nor have all the boggy valleys been planted, even though they would support forest cover.

The needs of conservation and recreation have been recognised and the Forestry Commission have provided some basic amenities and interpretative facilities for visitors, as well as allowing virtually free access on foot.

In recent years the visitor centres at Kirroughtree, Clatteringshaws and Stroan Bridge have been developed to provide first class facilities in the heart of the park.

The 7 Stanes, Extreme Mountain Bike routes at Dalbeattie and Kirroughtree provide an exhilarating experience for experienced riders as well as more sedate options suited to families or less ambitious cyclists.

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