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Main Street, Kirkcowan - - 571409.jpg
Grid reference: NX328607
Location: 54°56’24"N, 4°36’-0"W
Postcode: DG8
Local Government
Council: Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway

Kirkcowan is a village in Wigtownshire, found 6 miles west of Newton Stewart, just south of the main A75 road through the county, which is effectively the LondonBelfast road.

The parish of Kirkcowan covers an area about 15 miles in length, and from nearly two to nearly seven miles in breadth, comprising 30,580 acres, of which 7,000 are arable, 300 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, which lands spread into the Machars. The village of Kirkowan itself bounded on the east by the River Bladnoch and on the west by the River Tarf. It is on the mediæval pilgrim route to Whithorn Priory.

The principal industry here has always been agriculture, although in the 19th century two woollen mills were erected on the River Tarf nearby.

Here are a multitude of beautiful places to venture, trails to follow and areas to explore.

There is a Community Council at Kirkcowan.[1]

The Village

The village of Kirkcowan is on the road to Wigtown, and situated between the Rivers Tarf and Bladnoch.[2]

Because the village is situated on the main Stranraer to Carlisle bus route, and between the two rivers, it attracts many fishermen, hikers and also cyclists since it is on the Machars Yellow cycle route.

The church, erected in 1829, under the patronage of the Agnew family, is a substantial structure with a tower. A congregation of Seceders assembled for public worship in an old barn.[3]

Kirkcowan Village has a Post Office; Nursery and Primary School; a village hall, garage/petrol station (Kirkcowan Service station), pub/hotel(Craichlaw Arms) and a cycle shop/repairs (Kirkcowan Cycles). Alongside Kirkcowan Cycles runs its sister company "Courtyard Cycle Hire"

Big society

  • Scouts, Cubs and Beavers

Places of Interest

  • Loch Maberry Castle Crannog: A fortified island surrounded by the remains of a massive drystone wall, enclosing a large area which contains buildings, all except the largest of dry-stone. A causeway from the south-western end of this island links with that between the southern island and the shore.[4][5]
  • Eldrig Fell, Wood Cairn: A large circular cairn 60 feet diameter and 7 feet high.[6]
  • Boreland Mote (or Motte), about 20 feet high and 100-120 feet around the base.[7]
  • Mindork or Mondork Castle, at Wood Hill: Thomas M'Dowall was born c.1500 at Mondork Castle.[8][9]
  • Woodhill: A cairn opposite Mindork Castle


In 1684, according to Symson, this area had a salmon fishery with nets on both the Bladnoch and the Tarf.

At the Mill of Barhoise, the Laird of Craichlaw had fishing rights. Barhoise Mill is a T-shaped two storey construction of granite, whinstone and slate, which is falling into a dilapidated state. The mill was driven by a wheel which was situated at the side of the building. Of this wheel only the wooden axle remains. The datestone above the door reads 1827, but this mill is most certainly a reconstruction of a much earlier one, perhaps connected with the Old Place of Glaisnick, a one-time nearby residence of the powerful Gordon family of Craichlaw. The main road from Kirkcowan to Wigtown and from Kirkcowan to Minnigaff via Glaisnick crossed the river just south of this mill. There are still stepping stones at the fording place east of Ring Farm.

  • Glendarroch Loch: Easily accessible from the A75, this is one of the region's coarse fishing gems. The loch is a small, gin clear estate loch which holds a large head of roach, rudd and perch. Carp have been stocked in recent years and are regularly caught whilst tench and bream up to 3lb are also present.[10]


William Gordon, had charters of parts of the barony of Craichlaw, in the parish of Kirkcowan and county of Wigtown, 17 September 1500 and 28 January 1506-7; one of the lands of Larglegastell and Markleif, 10 January 1515-16; and another of the lands of Auchingilbert, 4 August 1515. He married Janet Baillie, and was ancestor of the Gordons of Craighlaw.

The railway station of the Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway closed in 1965.

A mill was erected in 1822 for the manufacture of woollen cloths, blankets, plaidings, flannels, and plain and pilot cloths, for the dyeing and dressing of which the soft water of the Tarf was well adapted.


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