Source to Sea


A journey on the Nith beginning in the Carsphairn Hills and following its route through to the Solway Coast. With regular stops along the way to spotlight and celebrate the towns, villages and community activity that surrounds the Nith, we will be exploring, learning and sharing about Local Heritage, Folklore, Wildlife and Conservation, Community Groups, Landmarks and Art including any literature or songs that have been inspired by the Nith and its communities.

The Source to Sea Maps

Welcome to The Source to Sea Maps! You can begin your journey from the source of the river Nith to the Solway Firth by hovering over & clicking sections of each map, this will take you to a page with relevant information on that place.

If you want to skip the maps, you can still use our old site navigation.

For the best experience on mobile & tablet devices, please view using a landscape orientation.

The Source to New Cumnock & Kirkconnel

From a tiny trickle coming out of the earth, our river starts it’s life in the Carsphairn hills. In its first tumbling steps on its journey it passes through the high, hilly lands where Robert the Bruce spent time hiding from his enemies, or where a terrible mining disaster claimed many lives in the fifties. This stretch of the river also passes through lands which are recovering from centuries of human impact thanks to projects like the eco LIFE project or the east Ayrshire coalfield initiative.

Sanquhar to Drumlanrig Castle

The river flows into the lands surrounding Sanquhar and has passed quietly by for centuries while Sanquhar and the the villages round about grew into thriving mining centres, then declined, then learned new ways to thrive. From the mysterious Crawick Multiverse arts project, to the beautiful Sanquhar knitting pattern, creativity comes with the territory.

Thornhill to Moniave

When the river crosses into the dramatic wooded lands around Thornhill, you can tell there’s something creative in the air. From art installations like Striding Arches, through to the many creative events in the village of Moniaive, life on these banks of the river is all about celebrating creativity. There’s also beautiful pockets of nature, like Crichope Linn, or whispers of an Iron Age past at Tynron Doon.

Auldgirth, Holywood, and Uppercluden

Peace. That’s the overwhelming feeling you get when the river flows into the gently sloping countryside around Auldgirth. Dotted with little historic churches, tower houses and abandoned places concealed by copses of woods, and ancient stone circles brimming with energy, this is a special place indeed. It’s also, fittingly, home to the European Headquarters of ‘May Peace Prevail International’ whose mission is to promote peaceful ways of living around the world.

4. Auldgirth, Holywood, and Uppercluden
Fourmerkland Tower Ellisland Farm Allanton Peace Sanctuary Portrack Gardens of Cosmic Speculation Irongray Church Carnsalloch House

Fourmerkland Tower

Ellisland Farm

Allanton Peace Sanctuary

Portrack Gardens of Cosmic Speculation

Irongray Church

Carnsalloch House

Dumfries to Kingholm Quay

Perhaps it’s most famous and celebrated incarnation, the river Nith flows proudly through the town of Dumfries. The principle town of the region, the walls of the town have seen centuries of human lives and the stories they have to tell. From Lady Devorgilla building bridges, through Burns’ heady bevvy sessions at the Globe Inn, to the tireless work of projects like the Midsteeple Quarter project, Dumfries has seen many a thing. Drifting by the town on a lazy summer day you would notice the stunning sandstone buildings softly glowing with a reddish light, or the sweeping trees at the dock park, or the little boats moored at Kingholm quay.

Glencaple to Caerlaverock

Getting ever closer to the sea, you might notice wee boats and hints of a marine life when the river flows through Glencaple and Caerlaverock. You would also notice scores of bird life who make their homes at the wetlands centre, the crumbling ruins of Caerlaverock castle, the mystical ‘brow well’ who’s purported healing properties didn’t work for Rabbie Burns, and other historic curiosities like the Ruthwell cross.

 Islesteps, New Abbey, and Carsethorn

On the last rambling leg of our rivers tumbling run toward the sea we flow through the magical lands from Islesteps to Carsethorn. From the rugged Mabie forest to the arresting scale of beloved Criffel, the land offers up a spectacular final show before gracefully giving way to the coast. Here you will find gently sloping fields which run down to shelly beaches- and the mouth of the river where it finally opens up and joins the Solway, it’s journey at an end. Tales of lovers, fisherfolk, ghosts, excisemen, mermaids, and more are just some of the many things that characterise this wonderful place.

Download the Source to Sea Map Sections

You can download all sections of the Source to Sea maps below:

The Source to Sea Poem

To read the full “Source to Sea” poem by Hugh McMillan:

Begin the Journey

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