Galloway Red Kite Trail worth £8.2 million to local economy

A good news story!

RSPB Press Release, 10 January 2017

Wildlife Trail Generates Millions for Economy

Tourists spend £8.2 million in Dumfries & Galloway after travelling to see red kites

People visiting Dumfries and Galloway to see the region’s red kites have contributed over £8.2m to the local economy, a new report has found.

These birds of prey were re-introduced to an area north of Castle Douglas from 2001 and two years later the Galloway Kite Trail – a self guided tour circling Loch Ken – was launched as a partnership project led by RSPB Scotland.

An economic survey carried out by the conservation organisation found that between 2004 and 2015 the trail attracted over 100,000 visitors to the area and that £8.2m of spending was directly attributable to people who came to the region to see red kites. On average, the trail also supported the equivalent of 19 full-time jobs each year – however that figure rose to 21 in 2015.

Calum Murray, RSPB Scotland Community Liaison Officer, said: “The re-introduction of red kites has been a massive conservation success story and we now have over 100 pairs breeding in Dumfries and Galloway, but this survey clearly demonstrates how nature can bring economic benefits to areas as well.

Tourists are visiting the Galloway Kite Trail from all over the UK and many are coming here especially to see our amazing red kites. The report also shows the fantastic support that is being given to the trail by local businesses and many of our visitors are now making repeat trips!

The Galloway Kite Trail is a community based project facilitated by RSPB Scotland, in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland and Bellymack Hill Farm, which takes visitors to some of the best locations in the region to see red kites – as well as promoting activities and services provided by local businesses.

Overall visitors to the Galloway Kite Trail spent an estimated £54.6million in the region.

Doug Wilson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “The Galloway Kite Trail has been a fabulous success story, in many more ways than one. As an ambitious nature conservation project, it has achieved outstanding results in terms of increasing red kite numbers, educating the public about these spectacular birds of prey and raising awareness of RSPB Scotland’s superb efforts to protect them and their habitat and encourage breeding.

The Kite Trail has also become an outstanding asset in Dumfries and Galloway’s incredible portfolio of outdoors activity attractions, giving visitors another great reason to come to the beautiful Galloway Forest Park and explore the stunning Loch Ken area. Having attracted well over 100,000 visitors, the trail has delivered significant benefits to tourism within the region and the impact on our local economy has been tremendous.”

Red kites were persecuted to extinction in Scotland in the 19th century but have now made a comeback in many parts of the country. These graceful birds, which are slightly longer-winged than buzzards, feed mainly on carrion and small mammals and often come together in groups during the winter to roost.

Kites are now breeding in all three vice-counties in Dumfries and Galloway with a nesting pair discovered near Stranraer in Wigtownshire last year. A total of 105 breeding pairs were counted in surveys in summer 2016, with at least 120 young fledged.


For more information about the Galloway Kite Trail visit their website here or download a Trail leaflet here.

A fantastic success story, both in terms of the conservation of the red kite and as a demonstration of the value of these birds to the local and regional economy. Great stuff, and in sharp contrast to the fortunes of red kites in northern Scotland, where a report published in October 2016 revealed that the high rate of red kite persecution in that area is just as bad as it was 25 years ago.

8 Responses to “Galloway Red Kite Trail worth £8.2 million to local economy”

  1. 1 Doug Malpus
    January 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Good news.
    Tourism makes a lot more sense than a few well heeled folk, blasting birds out of the sky and making the rich richer rather than the community.
    The figures previously quoted by the shooting estates have always seemed to overblown/inflated and I’m sure most of it goes to tax free havens.
    In my travels around Dumfrieshire I have come across a substantial number of people from other European countries, visiting to see the wildlife and scenery. (I’ll talk to anyone given the chance)
    Let us hope the tourism takes over from lead filled skies and dead birds.


  2. 2 against feudalism
    January 11, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Hugely encouraging, this is the future for Scotland, when the criminals stop slaughtering our wildlife. Replace guns with cameras.

  3. 3 Chris Roberts
    January 11, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Great news. Just think how much money Inverness and the Black Isle could generate, if the killing estates and their gamekeepers around Inverness stopped persecuting our Red Kites.

  4. 4 AnMac
    January 11, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Just spent a few days in Galloway and visited the Red Kite feeding station on a wonderful day of bright sunshine and although cold was magnificent. Arrived at the feeding station to the site of 30/40 Kites sitting on the trees surrounding the area and all calling away. What a lovely sight and sound in early January. Someone told me that about 80/100 Kites were in the area that day.
    On the approach to the area Kites were visible along the main roads and on local minor roads to the north towards Dalry Kites were often seen.

    Just think if this was happening on the Black Isle and the land to the south of Inverness!

    We need to work hard to change the mindset of the ‘shooting’ fraternity and convince them that there is a large amount of money ready and willing to come into an area where the visitor can truly see a Scotland that we can be proud of where it’s wildlife is treasured and on show.

    • 5 Les Wallace
      January 12, 2017 at 9:49 am

      The usual suspects were ranting on about how there couldn’t be any ground nesting birds within ten miles (etc) of these kite feeding stations. I contacted a couple and lo and behold between them they have lapwing, sandpiper, redshank, snipe and woodcock all living and breeding quite happily on their land. If talking shite generated money then that’s the one area in which the traditional shooting estates could pip the economic potential of eco-tourism, but it doesn’t. The countryfile feature last year of the ‘safari’ on a grouse moor was a joke, the real ones are a huge threat to them.

  5. 6 SOG
    January 11, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I wonder how much money the ospreys brough to the Loch Garten area.

    • 7 Les Wallace
      January 12, 2017 at 9:55 am

      I think the Cairngorms Campaign group has good figures on that, but what stuck in my mind was them mentioning that inspite of millions spent in the area by visitors the RSPB has received very little acknowledgement or thanks for what they’ve done for the local economy. I’ve seen a RSPB policy where they try to give preferential treatment to local contractors. They don’t brag about that, which makes the anti RSPB bilge coming from Botham etc especially nauseating.

  6. 8 Alan Johnson
    January 14, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Good positive stuff………BUT, I would have been grateful for a bit more detail on the derivation of the numbers. We can’t be critical about the economic benefits claimed by grouse shooters, if we expect blind faith in RSPB figures. Sorry to appear negative.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Stats

  • 5,728,691 hits


Our recent blog visitors