Caerlaverock Castle - Ward Law - Nature Reserve Circular

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'Mighty was Caerlaverock Castle,
Siege it feared not, scorned surrender!'

This easy walk centres on the impressive triangular, pink sandstone castle of Caerlaverock, in its deep moat amidst outer earthworks and set on the coast of the Solway Firth. The castle was built during the 1270s and saw sieges and battles over the centuries: Robert the Bruce, King Edward I and Parliamentary forces all laid siege to Caerlaverock, which was partially dismantled after 1640. Remains of the impressive Nithsdale Apartments, 'as fine a Renaissance palace front as any in Scotland', built within the castle by Robert Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale, may still be seen. There is an audio–visual presentation by the car park
on the history of Caerlaverock.
The site of an even earlier castle lies nearby, the subject of an archaeological excavation. The walk crosses the edge of the Caerlaverock Merse, affording extensive views over the Solway's reedbeds and mudflats, with their abundant wildfowl and wading birds. Natterjack toads also find refuge here.

Care should be exercised when crossing the merse (marsh) section in winter or at times of flood: do go suitably shod and if in doubt seek advice at the ticket-office (in the shop by Waymark 6).

Local weather forecasts and other relevant information and services can be found on Galloway Mountain Rescue's excellent website:

Scotland - South Scotland - Dumfries and Galloway - Solway Coast


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Castle, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Moor, Mostly Flat, Nature Trail, Public Transport, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
9/23/2020 - Walkingworld Admin

Thanks John! I've added your excursion to the route but now we could do with a photo by the fort so if anyone would like to send us a picture for there Walkingworld would be very grateful. Chris, WW Admin

9/18/2020 - John RICHARDSON

A delightful easy and well written walk. Note the interactive map is not showing point 3 and points 13 and 14 are overlapping. We strongly recommend the walk up to Wardlow and the Roman settlement from point 6 and there is a path marked through the fields that rejoins the walk at point 7. This excursion removed 0.5 miles of roadwork and adds stunning views and interesting features. At or close to point 10 there is a recently added well made wooden broadwalk path that effectively bypasses all of the squelchy bits. Note currently Covid restriction mean that Castle must be booked on line in advance. And coffee shop is closed. Lovely Lunch at the Boathouse on coastal road back to Dumfries.

7/12/2011 - Shaun McKittrick

A nice gentle, scenic walk with stunning views of Caerlaverock Castle. If you fancy adding 1.5m to it - at Point 6 - a walk to the top of Ward Law and back is signposted. Some nice views of Criffel etc. in the distance and indeed back down to Caerlaverock Castle.

10/13/2009 - karl noon

Loverly walk, nice and flat but squelchy under foot after section 11 (recommend you water proof your boots). Also got a bit confused at this point where it says keep straight ahead. You need to turn left on the duck boards and then follow the posts when you cross a stile(right). Keep your eyes peeled for wild deer.

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