Set in the northern corner of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, Nithsdale offers a glorious escape to the natural world. As you traverse the trails in the forests and meadows you can expect to hear the wind, the cries of hunting birds and the sound of silence.  

The town of Thornhill, built in 1717 by the Earl of Queensberry, acts as a hub of sorts with cafes, shops and inns. Just out of town is the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle, once a stronghold of the Douglas Clan, it is now home to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry.  

You can walk or cycle through the estate’s vast trails and catch glimpses of the pink sandstone castle which has featured on the small screen in Outlander and the Buccaneers. 

A landscape of distinctive landforms awaits at the Crawick Multiverse just north of Thornhill near the town of Sanquhar. The late American landscape architect Charles Jencks transformed a former 55-acre open cast coal mine into a glorious parkland inspired by astronomical and cosmological features and theories. It now hosts events such as one for the summer solstice and a music festival. 

If exploring the landscape on two wheels is your ideal, you are in good company. The first ever pedal bike was invented here in Keir Mill by blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan. You can do an easy loop created in his honour near Drumlanrig or tackle the mountain bike trails of the forest of Ae.