Galloway Forest Park
Start: Galloway Forest Park
End: Galloway Forest Park
Distance: 3.25 miles (5km)
Download map, route of path also available from: http://www.ayrshirepaths.org.uk/walkbarr.htm (Created by Ayrshire Paths) (Green path on map)
For those who appreciate a combination of forest and open hill, this walk will suit admirably. Following the track through the forest you suddenly clear the trees at the top of the hill, from where you can look down on the picturesque village of Barr and across the Stinchar Valley.
If you are lucky you may see some of the wildlife including deer, foxes, hares, kestrels and buzzards. The route now descends along the old road which runs from the Water of Minnoch to Barr as described in Armstrong's 1773 map of Ayrshire.
The village of Barr is known by local people as "The Barr" which is thought to mean the confluence of the waters. The trail passes close to Dinmurchie Farm which was the birth place of James Dalrymple (1619- 95) who became the first Viscount of Stair and was the author of the "Institutes of the Law of Scotland". The village is worth exploring from the historical viewpoint.
The area has a considerable Covenanting history. In the old churchyard there are two Martyrs' stones, one of which is to Edward McKeen who was arrested by soldiers at the farm of Dalwyne following suspicion that a prayer meeting was taking place. He was dragged out and after some questioning the officer in charge shot him twice through the head. One of the soldiers of the party thought he saw McKeen move and shot him a third time. This all happened in 1685 when such events were commonplace in the "killing times", however Barr is now noted for its peace and tranquillity. To stroll back along the narrow road which follows the Water of Gregg with its attractive wooded banks makes a fitting end to a memorable walk.