Straiton has some great walks which will tempt you to explore the area even more. Stay a few days in the area and you can experience a thousand years of history, multimedia visitor centres, and ancient lochs.
A stroll through Straiton is both rewarding and relaxing. The quiet narrow main street, the Black Bull Inn, the Church, the old manse are just what one would expect in such a perfect Ayrshire village setting. Most buildings date from the 1760's although the church has some 16th century parts and a 20th century window by Sadie McLellan.
If you recognise the village perhaps your saw the 1999 film The Match (or The Beautiful Game) which was filmed in Straiton. The village was the fictional Highland village called Inverdoune. It starred Richard E. Grant, Neil Morrissey, and Pierce Brosnan among others. For some snapshots taken during filming click here. Before you set off, or on your return, you can visit the Black Bull Inn or the Buck across the road for some lunch or coffee. Straiton Stores is also nearby.
Follow the Bennan walk to its southernmost point on the map where it crosses the Water of Girvan. Continue following the river a further 2 miles to Tairlaw Bridge. Here you will find waterfalls, stunning scenery and the start of the Galloway Forest Park. A local poet William Davidson (1885) wrote of Tairlaw Linn: There is a spot, a calm retreat Where earth and heaven seem to meet, Where pleasures are for ever sweet, 'Tis Tairlaw.
If you continue south from Tairlaw Bridge for about 2 miles you will come to a path which leads to Stinchar Falls. For any of these paths leading into the Galloway Forest take a good map such as the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map 32. A good map for coverage of the Straiton area which also includes as far north as Troon and west to Girvan is the Ordnance Survey Explorer map 326 which at 2.5 inches to the mile is a practical guide for walking.
If you are interested in a relaxing day out fishing around Straiton you can choose from one of the many lochs in the Galloway Forest Park. If you are planning a day out to Dalmellington there are other fishing opportunities there.
Follow the road out of Straiton heading south into the Galloway Forest Park for around 6 miles. At Stinchar Bridge go left, the car park is on the left. The area is natural habitat for the Red Grouse, Kestrel and Peregrine.
Six miles east of Straiton is Bogton Loch near Dalmellington. Here you can see swans, geese and other water fowl as well as the odd otter if you are lucky. The area is also favoured by Hen Harriers and other birds of prey. Click here for details.
No trip to Straiton is complete without a visit to Blairquhan (Blair-wan) Estate (open to the public in the summer). It was a location for the filming of "The Queen", starring Helen Mirren. The walled gardens, extensive estate grounds and magnificent 19th century Blairquhan House provide a great day out in the heart of Ayrshire. You can not only visit Blairquhan, you can stay there too. Visit the Blairquhan website.
One of Scotland's foremost sculptors is Alan Lees who is based in Kirkmichael. You may come across his work when you visit the village. To find out more visit Alan's website.
If you head towards Dalmellington which is around 6 miles east on the B741 there are a number of historical and industrial heritage sites. In the centre of the town is a well preserved Motte, a flat-top cone of earth used as a type of defence in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Dalmellington Motte dates from the time of William the Lion although there is evidence of Neolithic activity here dating back 6000 years. The name Dalmellington (dael meallain tuinn) means 'meeting place at the mound with a Motte'.
Also in Dalmellington you can learn about the area's weaving heritage at the Cathcartston Visitor Centre. You can see a reconstruction of a weaver's room and enjoy an audio-visual presentation on life in the Doon Valley in the 18th century.
There are sites of Special Scientific Interest at Dunaskin Glen and Benbeoch where there are examples of carboniferous and igneous geology. Between the B741 and the A713 routes where they meet is Dalmellington Moss or Sillyhole Moss. Here are fine examples of a raised bog area and rare bog plant species such as the white beak-sedge, great sundew and bog rosemary. The site is also home to a rare species of water beetle. Other areas of special scientific interest include Loch Doon, Bogton Loch and Ness Glen on the River Doon south of Dalmellington.
The Scottish Industrial Railway Centre is just 1/2 a mile north-west of Dalmellington. Here you will see a collection of rolling stock, 9 steam locomotives and 15 diesel locomotives. There is a museum, shop and buffet. They also have steam open days and visitors will be able to travel on the line to Waterside station at Dunaskin 2 miles away. Check out the website for more details of opening times and events.
For exploring the Dalmellington area use the Ordnance Survey Explorer map 327.
There are a some traditional farmhouse B&B's and local Hotels available in the area. Go to the Ayrshire and Arran Tourist Board website to search for accommodation.