SOUTHERN UPLAND WAY (www.southernuplandway.gov.uk)
Rangers Ross and Tom look after the western section of the SUW, which includes all of the route in Dumfries and Galloway and in neighbouring South Lanarkshire. An ongoing programme of maintenance works and improvements is underway (eg. laying boardwalk across sections of bog) and there are also occasional alterations and/or additions to the route; for example the official route east of Moffat is now a new ‘high route’, taking walkers up into the hills and away from the road. For many walkers, one of the attractions of the SUW is ‘The New Hoard’, a series of 13 individually sculpted containers or ‘kists’ along the length of the route, hidden only a few paces from the path. Each kist contains a minted coin or token called a 13th, showing images of history, nature, architecture and technology created by young artists. Small metal badges affixed to waymarkers indicate that a kist is nearby and the aim is, of course, to collect as many coins as possible.
Dumfries and Galloway is fortunate in having within its boundaries a broad range of habitats. It is also fortunate that it is a region recognised for its biodiversity and for its scenic value. As such, there are a number of areas of note designated by Scottish Natural Heritage (listed below by type, from east to west within the region):
National Scenic Areas - Nith Estuary, East Stewartry Coast, Fleet Valley. More information here.
Local Nature Reserves - Castle Loch, Lochmaben; Hightae Loch, Lochmaben/Hightae; Wigtown Bay, Wigtown. More information here.
Ramsar sites - Castle Loch, Lochmaben; Upper Solway flats and marshes (from Sandyhills eastwards along the Solway); Loch Ken and River Dee Marshes (various locations from New Galloway south to Castle Douglas); Silver Flowe, Galloway Forest Park; Loch Inch, Castle Kennedy; Torrs Warren (the northern end of Luce Bay between the Rhins and the Machars). More information here.
Special Protection Areas - Langholm Newcastleton Hills, east of Langholm; Castle Loch, Lochmaben; Upper Solway flats and Marshes (from Sandyhills eastwards along the Solway); Loch Ken and River Dee Marshes (various locations from New Galloway south to Castle Douglas); Glen App and Galloway Moors (east of Loch Ryan); Loch Inch, Castle Kennedy; Torrs Warren (the northern end of Luce Bay between the Rhins and the Machars). More information here.
Special Areas of Conservation - 17 sites, from the eastern end of the Solway to the Mull of Galloway. More information here.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest - 94 sites right across the region. More information here.