Headline photo

Headline photo
Rockcliffe and Kippford from South Glen Brae: Ed Iglehart [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Introductory text

Kippford and Rockcliffe are on the East Stewartry Coast, an unspoilt National Scenic Area with two other NSAs in close proximity. It is in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland, a region known for it's wonderful scenery, biodiversity, turbulent history, smugglers and black and white 'belted' cattle known as Galloway Belties. This stretch of coastline has many names. Known locally as the Colvend Coast or the 'Secret Coast' (due to the peace and tranquility) it is often referred to as the 'Scottish Riviera' due to it being the holiday resort of choice for Victorian millionaires and having a Gulf Stream influenced microclimate: evidenced by palm trees in some gardens. Castle Douglas, the food town is a short drive away and Kirkcudbright, the Artists Town is over the next headland.

This a scenic and unique part of the world and we started the blog to share the experience of living in this wonderful place. We hope that it will be of interest to others who live here and give those planning to visit the area a taste of all it has to offer.

The blog has a correspondent in both Kippford and Rockcliffe village, you can also follow their Twitter feeds on the right of the page. If you would like to get involved we look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rockcliffe to Kippford - Kippford to Rockcliffe Walk

The best ever family walk... (in our humble opinion) is the Rockcliffe to Kippford - Kippford to Rockcliffe Walk which takes in the famous Jubilee Path.

We have fond memories of doing this walk as youngsters with stop offs at shell beach and, what was then the Post Office and general store and now is, The Ark for ices creams! It is ideal for everyone with (on the whole) fairly level, man made paths or tarmac and not much in the way of hills. You can do it in either direction but we recommend starting from Rockcliffe as there is a good sized car park (and you can get an ice cream at The Ark half way round!).

Rockcliffe to Kippford Return - Jubilee Path
Time Allow 25 Minutes each way. Distance Approx 2.5 miles
Shoes Sturdy Comfortable the path is usually dry in Summer odd muddy patch during Winter. Path made up of grit/gravel and later tarmac.
A lovely walk with beautiful views out to sea and across the estuary on land managed and owned by the National Trust of Scotland. Lots of memorial seating on  the way where you can relax and enjoy the views. The Jubilee Path has been a favourite for many years and was named to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee

Pier at Rockcliffe overlooked by the Mote of Mark
Park at Rockcliffe car park Grid ref. NX847537 walk around the bay and take the path to the left of the public toilets. Pass through two kissing gates and in to meadow. Follow the path left and over a small wooden bridge. At gravel lane turn left you will see a gate on the bend on your left this takes you to the little pier with lovely views of Rough Island.

The path follows the shoreline at this point and passes two lovely, typically local granite Victorian cottages
Continue on gravel road through gate at cattle grid and straight on past the cottages with the Estuary on your left. After a slow incline you will see a cottage ahead of you,  take the right turn signed Kippford on a carved granite boulder. (see below)

Boulder Signpost for Kippford as modelled by Murphy
Follow this path, trying to suppress your curiosity and exploring all the little trails leading off from it. ( I always take a different path and always seem to end up in Kippford - although in different parts of the village. ) In our eight years of running the B&B and recommending this walk regularly we have not lost any guests on this walk day or night - yet!!

The path winds through National Trust for Scotland woodland 
After a few minutes the path splits, follow it to the left and down the hill. Its a little rocky here but the scenery at the bottom is beautiful. You descend to a T junction which is the private (no-through) road to Rough Firth (pedestrians and residents vehicles only )
In front of you there is a lovely shell beach and a bench a good place to rest a wee while. (the left turn is a dead-end but worth a peek as it takes you to the other end of the shell beach and the start of the causeway across to Rough Isle) 
Note: Dog owners please be aware that although very pretty, the shells can cut soft paws! 
Shell Beach Kippford looking South towards Hestan Island
At this point (signpost pictured above) take the road right and follow it in to the village. 

View looking up the Estuary from Rough Firth, North towards Palnackie  
Funny Faces along the side of the road at Rough Firth

As you walk along the road you will see funny statues and amusing sculptures in a local artists garden on your right. A favourite with for children of all ages.

The yacht club pontoon and moorings, Kippford - Urr Estuary
When you reach  the newly renovated bus shelter and The Ark, you are at in Kippford, the halfway point of your walk. 
If you fancy a break or need sustenance for the return trip, you can stroll along the sea wall to The Anchor or The Mariner for lunch or pop into The Ark a lovely little coastal themed gift shop  which also does takeaway coffee, sandwiches, cake and ice cream.

From here take the road up the steep hill (this is the only steep bit, promise! Its a tarmac road, only a short hill and has good footing) and follow the Jubilee Path back to Rockcliffe past The Muckle and the Mote of Mark. This path has lovely glimpses of the Estuary, Hestan and Rough Island and several benches along the way. I love it as it changes with the seasons.

The National Trust for Scotland own and manage the area. Removing invading sycamore and creating habitats with the felled timber. Standing dead wood in the alder woodland creates opportunities for the great spotted woodpecker and the oak woodlands support more than 280 bugs and beasties along with jays and red squirrels who collect the acorns.

Photos taken with my Nikon D130 all photographs copyright: L Birdsall, Millbrae House
NTS copy taken from leaflet 'Mudflats to Meadows'