Solway Military Trail developed
A group of enthusiasts from heritage visitor attractions around the coast have come together to develop the new Solway Military Trail.
There is a rich history of a military presence in and around south Scotland and north Cumbria, particularly around the Solway coast.
The quiet, rural surroundings coupled with access from ports such as Stranraer, Cairnryan and Silloth, made the Solway coast a perfect location for munitions factories in both world wars, RAF airfields, flying boat bases, practice bombing ranges and secret testing sites.
A number of the staffed visitor attractions developed around the military heritage of the area and while each centre draws their own audience it was felt by all the organisations involved that by collaborating and providing a selfguided trail of similar attractions along the Solway a wider audience could be attracted.
It is also anticipated that military heritage sites not previously well known about, will now be available to the public. Some of these may not be fully accessible but their stories can be shared through the website and in the publication to help inform the public of this forgotten heritage.
However, the group also felt the need to promote the trail as a family attraction, and so the layout of each trail has been carefully designed to include sandy beaches, charming towns and villages and some of the best scenic drives the area has to offer.
Each trail should take around half a day by car so there is plenty of time for exploring.
The trail is also designed to be enjoyed by cyclists, with as much of the route as possible being off the main trunk roads.
Trail spokeswoman Clair McFarlan said: “The whole area has so much to offer military history enthusiasts that we felt we had a duty to get the message out there.
“On the trail we have the birthplace of the father of the American Navy, a Battle of Britain Spitfire and a Cold War Vulcan bomber and a fascinating museum about munitions works and the towns that supported them.
“Along the way there is stunning scenery and lots of military ruins to look at and learn about what life was like when the military were so active around the Solway’
With funding from Allerdale Borough Council and Foundation Scotland and support from Solway Firth Partnership and Dumfries and Galloway Council, the trail is now live with a leaflet and a website which can be viewed at www. solwaymilitarytrail.co.uk.
Site of interest Alf Hannay, chairman of the John Paul Jones Trust, at the cottage museum at Arbigland where the founder of the American navy was born in 1747
Take a trip Trail spokeswoman Clair McFarlan says there is lots to see set against a backdrop of stunning scenerte
Site of interest A “beetle” pontoon at Garlieston Bay, one of several relics from Mulberry Harbour testing