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The Central Trail

Sweetheart Abbey in the picture postcard village of New Abbey is the starting point for the Central Trail which winds its way through the Stewartry.

The Abbey was built by Lady Devorgilla, mother of King John Balliol who was humiliated by Edward I in 1296, and was the launching point for many an invasion of the western area of the region. Buittle Castle, stronghold of the Lords of Galloway, stood on ground alongside the 16th century Tower House, Buittle Tower, which is still occupied. Buittle Castle was one of the most important in the south west and it was under siege by Bruce's brother Edward for several months before finally surrendering. Bruce had is razed to the ground.

Castle Douglas was occupied by the English in 1308, under the command of Robert Clifford, when Sir James Douglas came calling. The town was to witness tremendous slaughter as Douglas killed most of the defenders and destroyed the castle fortifications.