On a hill overlooking Loch Ryan, Kirkcolm is rich in history, from prehistoric times to World War 2.

The area boasts vast landscapes, stunning remote beaches, miles of beautiful walks, clear night skies full of stars and rich coastal wildlife in every season. Read on to find out what local people cherish about where they live and what makes Kirkcolm such a special place to visit, whether for day out or as part of a longer trip along Scotland’s UNESCO Trail.

Wildlife & Natural Beauty

The views over Loch Ryan change daily and this important marine habitat hosts native oyster beds, with shells found along the shoreline. Seals bask on a rock near Solburn and swim in Daly Bay, and dolphins pass by. The shoreline flora is stunning and further inland the water meadows attract much wildlife. Elvers and otters are seen in the streams and three species of deer are seen locally – red deer, roe deer and fallow deer. Corsewall Estate is a beautiful area for walks, with wild garlic abundant in spring and red squirrels darting around the woods. Bird life is abundant with red kites, merlin, peregrine and barn owls in the area. In winter the whooper and mute swans and thousands of pink-footed geese arrive and can be seen grazing on fields locally.

Heritage & Culture

Originally named Stewarton, Kirkcolm could mean ‘church of Columba’. There is Irish ancestry in the area and many old churches and holy wells to explore, such as St Columba’s well near the old Kirkcolm churchyard. The ancient Kilmorie Cross is carved with serpentine creatures and dates from the 9th century. Discovered at the old Kirkcolm chapel in 1719, it can now be found at the Kirkcolm Church. From more recent history the remains of coastal forts can be found, and in World War II Loch Ryan was a repair and fuelling site for sea planes. Fishing and agriculture have always been important industries and there was the old Corsewall Mill. In the 19th Century migrant workers from Ireland known as ‘Tattie Howkers’ came to the area to help with the potato harvest. Lace tatting has also been a part of the local heritage.

Local Produce

Food from the Kirkcolm area is a product of local agriculture, and includes milk, cheese, sheep and beef, potatoes and barley, honey, fish and oysters. Local produce also includes beer, biscuits, cakes, jams, chutneys and cookery books by the Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI). Arts and crafts made in Kirkcolm are often inspired by the landscape and coast: sea glass jewellery and coasters, painting, photography, pottery and ceramics, knitting and even Kirkcolm t-shirts!

Recreation & Enjoyment

There is a wide range of outdoor activities here to enjoy, such as watersports, rowing, canoeing, boat rides, cold water swimming, dog walking, stargazing, fishing, bird watching and walking all around the area, including the stunning Rhins Coastal Path. There is a close and friendly community hosting Welcome Wednesday chats, hot drinks and snacks, the SWI, local pub, garden centre visits, new skills workshops and local talks. Interesting local events take place such as the Tractor Rally, craft fayres and annual Oyster Festival in nearby Stranraer, plus many clubs for all interests, including painting and drawing, photography, history and Tai Chi.


In this area with its vast landscape, sparse population and right to roam access, it is easy to find a quiet, tranquil space or to walk for hours without meeting anyone.  The air is clean, there is no stress, no noise (other than birdsong) and plenty of walking and cycling opportunities. With exceptionally low levels of light pollution the skies are truly dark at night, meaning the moon and stars can be seen clearly. Places like Lady Bay or The Mossy are particularly tranquil.


The landscape is a big inspiration with its atmosphere, changes of light, clouds and blazing sunsets. In the dark, it is the stars on a clear night and the Northern Lights. It is the nature such as birdsong, flora and fauna, wildlife, and the life on local farms. The fascinating history of the area and patterns in the landscape and textures on beaches are inspirational for artists, as are the local people ‘who are determined to enjoy their life’.

Find adventure, discovery and inspiration in Kirkcolm and beyond

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