Solway Coastal Drive
Headland near Torr's Hill, Solway coast
From Dumfries take the A710 to Dalbeattie. This road goes through beautiful countryside with picturesque villages, sandy bays and rocky coves, with excellent views across Solway Firth towards Cumbria.

Along the route are 5 woodland areas cared for by the Forestry Commission. Dalbeattie Forest, Mabie, Doach Wood, Mark Hill, and The Hills offer an unrivalled opportunity for woodland walks, cycling, and horse-riding. There are wildflower meadows and coastal views at Mark Hill, and some of the tallest trees in Scotland in Doach Wood.

The coastal drive forms just part of the much longer Solway Coast Heritage Trail, which stretches for 190 miles from Annan to the Mull of Galloway, taking in multiple nature reserves, RSPB sanctuaries, rocky coastlines, sand dunes, and mud flats.

There is much more to the coastal route than the stunning scenery, however; there is plenty to see in the way of historic sites. Just outside Dalbeattie is Drumcoltran Tower, built around 1550 by the son of Lord Maxwell. Just north of New Abbey is Shambellie House, a historic mansion once home to an important costume collection, and now the subject of a restoration effort.

At New Abbey itself stand the remains of historic Sweetheart Abbey, and a short distance from the abbey ruins is New Abbey Corn Mill, a restored 18th-century mill in the case of Historic Scotland. Just south of New Abbey is Loch Kindar, where you can see the remains of a crannog in the centre of the loch.

At Arbigland, near Kirkbean, is the John Paul Jones Cottage Museum, where the American naval hero was born in 1747.

In Dalbeattie Forest, just south of the town, is an Iron Age hill fort at Moyle Hill.


The Solway Coastal Drive was briefly promoted by the Scottish tourist board but it seems they have transferred their efforts to publicise the much longer Solway Coast Heritage Trail (see above). The trail is well signposted for motorists with a distinctive blue on white sign in the shape of a Celtic cross.