Barnkirk Point

Low Level Walks
Circular walk along riverside to estuary, good exploring the countryside around Annan and Newbie and along the River Annan and the Solway Firth.
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About Barnkirk Point

Circular walk along riverside to estuary, good exploring the countryside around Annan and Newbie and along the River Annan and the Solway Firth. Look out for the seabirds and waders on the mud and sand – herons, oystercatchers, turnstones and lapwings can all be seen in season.

The walk has two options, both consisting of pavements, minor roads, paths, grass tracks and with steps and stiles in places. They are both moderate walks and Boots or stout shoes recommended.

Option A - 7km, 1-2 hours
Option B - 8km, 2.5 hours

Start from the Town Hall, turn right along the High Street, leaving the centre of Annan. Cross the bridge over the River Annan and walk down the steps on the downstream side of the bridge. Follow the path along the flood bank past the Sustrans National Cycle Network bridge and under the arched sandstone railway bridge.

Annan harbour has been renovated - from this side of the river you can see the once thriving Port Street, with its warehouses and merchants houses. The factory opposite is Youngs Bluecrest Sea Foods. Lower down, the quays are still used by local fishing boats. The path follows the edge of the tidal saltings towards Newbie – the remains of two quays on this bank of the river are further reminders of Annan’s maritime past. On reaching Newbie, pass the Cochran Boiler Works entrance, leave the main road and keep straight on along the lane until you reach a stile on your left just before a locked road gate and kissing gate.

Cochran & Co moved here in 1899 from Birkenhead where they built small ships and also submarines of a revolutionary design. After a few years at Newbie they discontinued shipbuilding and developed a wide range of boilers. The plant on the other side of the lane is the Shasun pharmaceutical plant. Climb over the stile and cross the field, remaining close to the boundary with Cochrans. You will soon see a second stile, which takes you to the riverbank. Follow the river downstream, taking care as the banks are steep and the path narrow. This will lead you down to Barnkirk Point, where the River Annan meets the Solway Firth. The views from here are wonderful – especially over the Solway and the sunsets over Criffel are breathtaking. However, it can be a bleak and windy place too. Robert Burns, when working near here as a excise officer in 1792, described it as “this wild place of the world”.

From here, the path turns west to join a track, past the site of the historic inn and farmhouse of Waterfoot, now sadly demolished.

At this stage, you have two options: -

OPTION A - Follow the track and after about 200 metres turn right at its junction with a tarmac lane and follow this lane back to Newbie.

OPTION B - Follow the track for about 200 metres. At its junction with a tarmac lane go straight on for about another 100 metres. Here, turn left up some steps to join the path to the top of Barnkirk Hill which overlooks the mouth of the River Annan.

This was the site of Annan Lighthouse which was built of timber in the early 1800s. It was destroyed by fire in the late 1960s and only the charred base remains. The lighthouse has been replaced with an electric beacon. Return to the tarmac road, then follow the grassy track along the coast. This is a pleasant, easy walk with views across the Solway to Silloth. This track eventually brings you to a small car park at Newbiebarns.

There was a large fishing station here until recently. Salmon were caught in stake or trap nets and shipped daily to the English market. Walk past several houses to the crossroads, turn right to return to Newbie. At the Cochran factory gates turn left, and retrace your steps to Annan.

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