NTS Rockcliffe and Rough Island

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The NTS' Rockcliffe property is about 120 acres in size and sits between the villages of Rockcliffe and Kippford.  It includes Rough Island and a thin strip of coastline heading south towards Castlehill Point. Rockcliffe is in the East Stewartry Coast National Scenic Area.  Habitats on this small property are diverse and include rocky shore, shingle, merse, woodland, scrub, alder carr, stream, flower rich meadows and heather-topped granite outcrops.  A network of small paths allows access throughout the property and a walk across the mudflats takes you to Rough Island. Please avoid visiting the island from the beginning of May to mid July to avoiding disturbing beach nesting birds

  • Notable animal species: red squirrel, otter, adder, slow worm, butterflies including purple hairstreak, holly blue, grayling and northern brown argus. Oystercatcher and ringed plover breed on the beaches on Rough Island and large numbers of wildfowl and waders including greenshank spend the winter months in Rough Firth. Peregrines that breed locally can be seen hunting over the estuary.
  • Unusual/rare plants: greater butterfly orchid, seaside centaury & sea-kale.
  • Meadow areas have been identified as important for waxcap fungi.

Best in

The summer months for flowers, butterflies and breeding warblers but also fantastic in autumn and winter for wildfowl and waders on Rough Firth.


Between Rockcliffe and Kippford villages, five miles south of Dalbeattie and one and a half miles west of Colvend on Rough Firth.

Post Code: DG5 4QQ

Grid Ref: NX 845 540

How to get there

By car: Follow the coast road (A710) from Dalbeattie or Dumfries and take the Rockcliffe turning at Colvend or take the Kippford turning to access the property from the North end.

By bus service: Bus numbers 372 and 372a from Dalbeattie and Dumfries. Check timetable carefully as not all buses come as far as Rockcliffe.

By cycle/on foot: There are walking and mountain bike routes (7stanes) through Dalbeattie Forest which make it possible to get to Rockcliffe from Dalbeattie avoiding the main road. Follow the brown waymarked route from Dalbeattie Town Wood to Auchensheen, follow the single track road up to the A710. Cross the road and follow the track down into Markhill forest, continue on that route until you reach the main Jubilee Path at Rockcliffe. See OS Landranger Sheet 84.


  • Car parks and public toilets at Rockcliffe and Kippford villages.
  • Information and orientation boards in car parks.
  • A network of footpaths to allow access throughout the property.
  • NTS runs a programme of guided walks and events.
  • NTS offers a range of Education topics for schools and can arrange visits for other groups.


The National Trust for Scotland

Countryside Team

Ranger Office Number: 0844 4932244

Email: threave@nts.org.uk

Website: www.nts.org.uk/Property/Rockcliffe

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