Galloway Forest Park is currently developing new visitor facilities across the area.
Plans include a new visitor complex at Kirroughtree, a complete modernisation of the visitor centre at Clatteringshaws, and an upgrade of the centre at Glentrool. The new tourist services at the forest will cost £4.5 million to complete.
The facilities are scheduled to open by the end of 2013 and are part of a strategy to increase tourism in the area. The Forestry Commission Scotland, who manages the site, is seeking businesses to run the new facilities.
The park has seen a rise in visitors, from 800,000 to over one million attendees a year. This rise can be partially attributed to its status as a Dark Skies Park. With one of the darkest night skies in Europe, visitors can see over 3000 stars on clear nights.
Galloway Forest Park is also home to two of the famous 7stanes mountain bike trails and has over 373 square miles of land.
FCS tourism manager for Galloway, Keith Muir, said: “A few years ago we recorded about 800,000 visitors were coming to Galloway Forest Park. Since then, the 7stanes biking project, new walking trails and the award of Dark Sky Park status have all boosted numbers.
“We are currently welcoming over one million visitors a year, making it a key visitor destination which has real potential for business development.”
Forestry Commission Scotland’s tourism strategy for the park aims to attract 1.6 million visitors each year by the end of 2015.
The park was established in 1947 and is located in Dumfries and Galloway, south west Scotland. It is rich in wildlife with 120 km of walking trails and 200 km of cycling routes.
Main image: Shutterstock ©
A similar route to the 7stanes mountain bike trail, a major draw for tourism.