To Dumfries and Galloway Access Officers
My family and I spent (another) few days in Galloway over our school half term - it's great to visit - apparently like Cornwall was 30 years ago says my partner.
We were staying at Knock School near Monrieth, walked near St Ninians cave, and took a trip round to The Rhins, including Portpatrick, Port Logan and the Mull of Galloway. We have visited these places before on earlier visits. We had a good walk from St Ninians cave to Isle of Whithorn along the coast a year or two back.
Going south from Port Logan, we came across an "end of path" sign. We could not easily continue over the barbed wire and brambles.
A few years ago we walked south from Portpatrick and came to a dead end at a "private property" sign, on which someone had written "is theft":-)
Anyway, we would like to recommend strongly that you put together a full coastal path. Although there is a right of access to all land away from buildings, this does not make it easy to walk along the coast, which we, and I am sure others, wanted to do - your coastal scenery and flora/fauna are a spectacular asset. A full coastal path would help a lot - as far as I am concerned it doesn't have to be an official long distance footpath, as long as it is present on the ground. For the most part, a coast path would not lose much if any land for farmers, and indeed if new fences were put in, would actual stop animals falling off the edge! Having an uncultivated strip on the coast would help the flora/fauna. Where the coast is built up, I am sure that a route could be found on the beach or around any obstacles.
I agree with you that we have some spectacular coastal scenery in this
region. The council have, for some time been keen to create a coastal
path running the length of D&G and over the years we have been improving
and creating sections as and when we can. For example, over the past 2
years the path from Burrowhead to the Isle of Whithorn has been opened
up and has had new gates and signposts installed. The path continues
north along the coast to meet the exising path to Cruggleton Castle. It
then continues through Garlieston to Innerwell fishery. There are also
new paths at the Mull of Galloway and the route from Portpatrick to
Morroch bay is almost complete. See attached maps for details.
The intention is to continue to work on sections of coastal path where
time and funds allow. However, as you can appreciate, D&G is a very
large area so this will have to be done over time.
In addition to paths being implemented by the council, some landowners
and farmers are also now receiving funding for improving and maintaining
paths. The funding for this comes from SEERAD and is one of many
options farmers can choose from in the Land Management Contract Menu
Scheme. One of the requirements is for farmers to make sure the routes
are signposted and this probably accounts for some of the signs you have
come across. The reason some of these paths suddenly stop is that the
farmer can only claim for paths on his land and the neighbouring farmer
may not be in the scheme or may not have chosen the paths option.
I hope this helps clarify things for you and I hope you have a chance to
try out the new paths on your next trip!