The River Cree with Newton Stewart beyond
|Post town:||Newton Stewart|
|Council:||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Dumfries and Galloway|
The main local industries are agriculture, forestry and tourism. The town hosts a local market, and a number of services to support the farming industry. Newton Stewart lies on the southern edge of the Galloway Forest Park, which supplies a large amount of jobs to the town.
Newton Stewart bills itself as the "Gateway to the Galloway Hills".
The town was founded in the mid 17th Century by William Stewart, youngest son of the 2nd Earl of Galloway. The "New Town of Stewart" was granted Burgh status by charter from King Charles II allowing a weekly market and two annual fairs to be held.
According to legend, Robert the Bruce forded the river here while on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Ninian at Whithorn in 1329. A bridge was built here in 1745 but was destroyed by floods in 1806. The present bridge was designed by John Rennie the Elder and built in 1813.
The industrialist, Sir William Douglas (who died 1809) is best known for founding the planned town of Castle Douglas, but he also established cotton mills in Newton Stewart, which was temporarily renamed "Newton Douglas" in his honour.
The nearby village of Blackcraig was once a major lead-mining centre. Granite from the area was used in the construction of most major dock-sides in Britain.
Road and rail
Newton Stewart’s railway station closed in 1965, as a result of the Beeching Axe. The nearest railway stations are at Stranraer and Barrhill which are 25 miles and 18½ miles away from Newton Stewart respectively.
There are numerous nature trails nearby as part of Galloway Forest Park, managed on behalf of the state by Forest Enterprise. There is a local museum at St John's Church, a doll's house exhibition and a butterfly and tropical plant house nearby. The latter two are no longer open for visitors. Newton Stewart is also only 7 miles from the county town (and Scotland's book town), Wigtown.
Newton Stewart on film
- The Wicker Man (1973), the famed folklore-horror film, may have been set on a fictional, Hebridean island, "Summer Isle", but it was filmed almost entirely on location around Newton Stewart and had its premiere at its cinema in 1972.