At the southern end of the Nith, just before river broadens to estuary, lies Dumfries, southwest Scotland’s main town. It’s a historic place with a wealth of interest, some fine buildings, riverside parks, and several significant Burns attractions.

It’s also home to a new major literary attraction still in development related to J M Barrie and Peter Pan. The ambitious Moat Brae project promises to help cement Dumfries’s place on the tourist map as it comes to fruition over the coming years. (Read more about the Moat Brae project here).

WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre © Brian Morrell
WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre © Brian Morrell

Each year Dumfries also hosts one of Scotland’s premier winter music events, the Big Burns Supper, to coincide with the bard’s birthday on 25 January. (Click here to read more about Burns in Dumfries.)

The eastern strip is enchanting, a place of ever-changing light and colours, mudflats and saltmarshes, where ships from far-flung places once docked and to where enormous colonies of birds now return each year.

South of Dumfries the river divides the landscape in two, with the flatter wetlands of an internationally important bird reserve on the eastern side and the mighty Criffel dominating the west. The eastern strip is enchanting, a place of ever-changing light and colours, mudflats and saltmarshes, where ships from far-flung places once docked and to where enormous colonies of birds – barnacle geese, in particular – now return each year. To the west lies a historic abbey, one of the most romantic in Scotland’s history, a 7stanes biking forest also known for its butterflies, and towards the southernmost reach a quaint waterside village with a fine pub.