The Tidal River Dee PDF Print E-mail
New Walks For 2012

The Tidal River Dee


Difficulty rating: Easy

Distance: About 3.5 miles

Time: Approx. 1 ½ hours

Map: OS Explorer 312

The River Dee has its source in Loch Dee in the Galloway Hills. It flows southwards into Loch Ken and then takes a meandering course of some 15 miles in distance to enter Kirkcudbright Bay. Unfortunately, there are only a few places where it is possible to walk alongside the river and this flat and easy walk is one of them. It takes in the lower section below Tongland Dam where the river is wholly tidal and, depending on the state of the tide, you will see a variety of landscape that could include the wide, slow moving river or the riverbed itself, left bare by the outgoing tide.


The Start point of the walk is the wonderful town of Kirkcudbright where there is plenty of parking available. See other guides regarding the amenities of the town itself.


The Walk.

Head towards the harbour where you will most likely see part of the fishing fleet that predominantly fishes for King and Queen Scallops in the Irish Sea. With the harbour and river to your left, head the short distance towards the bridge where you cross over the road onto “Dee Walk”. This easy to follow path runs alongside the river for ¾ mile to reach a wooden footbridge and, after crossing it, the path turns sharp left to follow the raised banking that protects the land behind from flooding.

In another ¾ mile or so you will come to a point that is the confluence of the River Dee with a much smaller river, the River Tarff. At this point, again depending on the state of the tide, the 2 rivers expand into a large area of water that almost forms a large lake. You will notice the large amount of reeds, which form one of the largest areas of reed beds in Scotland.

After a further ¼ mile you will reach the main road where you turn left to walk over the bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1806. There is an excellent view from the bridge of the river and Tongland Power Station. Note the high water mark etched into the rock. Cross over the bridge and turn left onto the New Galloway road, which is followed for a 100 yards to reach a visitor plaque giving information about the construction of the bridge.

Return towards the bridge but do not re-cross. Instead, continue ahead passing firstly the remains of the railway viaduct that once carried the Kirkcudbright Railway to Castle Douglas and Dumfries and then the Tongland Power Station, which sadly no longer has a visitor centre. In a short distance turn right onto a minor road that drops down to another bridge crossing the river then take the signed footpath up the banking to the right. The path takes you into fields on the opposite side of the power station and it is possible to see the exit tunnels from the turbines where the water is returned into the river.

A couple of hundred yards downriver and you will come to a pile of stones that represent all that remains of the viaduct once spanning the river. Here, you have a couple of alternatives to the walk; you can either continue ahead towards the main road and cross over to rejoin the riverside path or turn left to follow the remains of the railway line banking. Assuming the latter, you will shortly come to a small cutting where the railway line passed through a rocky outcrop, at the end of which you take a left turn diagonally across the field to a gate set in the corner. Passing through the gate you will come to a minor road where you turn right and follow it to the main road.

Turn left at the main road and walk back in the direction of Kirkcudbright for just under ½ mile until you reach a break in the footpath at the entrance to “Fludha House”. Cross the road to the opposite footpath and through the gap in the wall to rejoin the riverside path taking you back to Kirkcudbright itself.