The fantastic climate of the south-west coast of Scotland means that it is the perfect place to visit some fabulous gardens and the coastline is a great place to keep your eye out for wildlife both in the water and on the land.
Ballantrae is home to a bird sanctuary and there is a 55-acre site at the mouth of the River Stinchar which was established in 1969 to protect the little tern. Grasslands, mudflats and shingle provide both resident and migratory birds with a variety of feeding and nesting sites. The beach provides a great place to watch diving gannets and peregrine falcons can be seen on the cliffs between Ballantrae and Girvan. Ailsa Craig is a nesting site for puffins, razorbills, guillemots and fulmer as well as being famous for its gannets, see www.ailsacraig.co.uk for more details.
A walk through the Galloway Forest may reward you with sights of red deer, black grouse, red squirrels, otters and nightjars – arrange a guided walk with one of the rangers from June to September, see www.forestry.gov.uk/gallowayforestpark for more details.
Head out to the Mull of Galloway RSPB Reserve which not only offers fascinating wildlife but breath-taking views – you can see the Solway Firth and the Irish Sea with the Isle of Man in the distance and you will also experience the large cliff colony of seabirds from guillemots to razorbills and kittiwakes. See www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/m/mullofgalloway/index.aspx for more details.
Ballantrae is excellently located for visiting many wonderful gardens, below are a few that are well worth a visit.
Castle Kennedy & Gardens – approx 17 miles from Ballantrae
Logan Botanic Gardens – approx 30 miles from Ballantrae
Dunskey Walled Garden – approx 24 miles from Ballantrae
Culzean Castle Walled Garden – approx 23 miles from Ballantrae
Glenwhan Gardens – approx 21 miles from Ballantrae
Bargany Gardens – approx 19 miles from Ballantrae