Galloway Forest Park
|Galloway Forest Park|
|Location||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Area||774 km2 (299 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Forestry and Land Scotland|
|Website||Galloway Forest Park|
Coordinates: Galloway Forest Park is a forest park operated by Forestry and Land Scotland, principally covering woodland in Dumfries and Galloway. It is claimed to be the largest forest in the UK. The park was granted Dark Sky Park status ("Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park") in November 2009, being the first area in the UK to be so designated.
The park, established in 1947, covers 774 square kilometres (299 sq mi) and receives over 800,000 visitors per year. The three visitor centres at Glen Trool, Kirroughtree, and Clatteringshaws receive around 150,000 each year. Much of the Galloway Hills lie within the boundaries of the park and there is good but rough hillwalking and also some rock climbing and ice-climbing within the park. Within or near the boundaries of the park are several well developed mountain bike tracks, forming part of the 7stanes project.
As well as catering for recreation, the park includes economically valuable woodland, producing 500,000 tons of timber per year.
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, near Dalmellington, is located within the northern edge of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park. The observatory was partly funded by the Scottish Government and opened in 2012. It suffered a devastating fire during the early hours of 23 June 2021, resulting in complete destruction of the observatory. The fire is currently being treated as suspicious.
The park is also home to the ruins of the birthplace of Alexander Murray, the son of a shepherd and farm labourer. Murray was self-taught on multiple languages, and eventually went on to become professor of Oriental languages at University of Edinburgh. A short distance away, high on a hillside, is Murray's Monument, which was erected in his memory in 1835.
On 18 March 1944, 22-year-old Canadian pilot Kenneth Mitchell crashed his Hawker Typhoon aircraft in the forest (location here). The impact killed him instantly. Mitchell was in training in preparation for his squadron's role fighting the German V-1 flying bombs in the Second World War. On 18 March 2009, 65 years to the day since the crash, a commemorative plaque was installed on a mortared cairn at the crash site, where pieces of the aircraft still remain. Mitchell was buried in Ayr Cemetery, Ayr.
- "National Forest Estate Forest Parks GB". Scottish Government Spatial Data Infrastructure. 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
- "Forest park given Dark Sky honour". BBC News. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
- ""The Forest" BBC TV series". 8 January 2018.
- "Alex Salmond officially opens Dark Sky Observatory". BBC.com. 5 October 2012.
- Wilson, Stuart (2021-06-23). "Dark Sky Observatory destroyed by devastating 'suspicious' fire". Daily Record. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
- Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
- "Murray's Monument". VisitScotland. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
- Historic Environment Scotland. "Murray's Monument (LB19314)". Retrieved 3 February 2021.
- Dumfries and Galloway Standard, 18 March 2009
- Loch Skerrow, Typhoon Air Crash - The Scottish Military Research Group - Commemorations Project
- Kenneth Osborne Mitchell at FindAGrave.com
- Recreation at Galloway Forest Park at the Forestry and Land Scotland website
- 'Activity Tourism' from the Countryside Recreation Network
- Information on Hill Walking in the Galloway Hills
- Rock and Ice climbing in the Galloway Hills
- 7 Stanes
- 7 Stanes - Galloway Forest Park