Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries an Gallowa
Dùn Phris is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh
Coat of arms of Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries an Gallowa Dùn Phris is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh
Official logo of Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries an Gallowa Dùn Phris is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh
Coordinates: 55°06′N 3°54′W / 55.1°N 3.9°W / 55.1; -3.9
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Lieutenancy areasDumfries
Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
Admin HQCounty Buildings, English Street, Dumfries
 • LeaderGail MacGregor (Cons)
 • Total2,481 sq mi (6,426 km2)
 • RankRanked 3rd
 • Total148,790
 • RankRanked 13th
 • Density60/sq mi (23/km2)
ONS codeS12000006
ISO 3166 codeGB-DGY
Topographic map of Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway (Scots: Dumfries an Gallowa; Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Phrìs is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh) is one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland, located in the western part of the Southern Uplands. It is bordered by East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, and South Lanarkshire to the north; Scottish Borders to the north-east; the English ceremonial county of Cumbria, the Solway Firth, and the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the west. The administrative centre and largest settlement is the town of Dumfries. The second largest town is Stranraer, located 76 miles (122 km) to the west of Dumfries on the North Channel coast.

Dumfries and Galloway corresponds to the historic shires of Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire, the last two of which are collectively known as Galloway. The three counties were combined in 1975 to form a single region, with four districts within it. The districts were abolished in 1996, since when Dumfries and Galloway has been a unitary local authority. For lieutenancy purposes, the area is divided into three lieutenancy areas called Dumfries, Wigtown, and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, broadly corresponding to the three historic counties.


The Dumfries and Galloway Council region is composed of counties and their sub-areas. From east to west:

The term Dumfries and Galloway has been used since at least the 19th century – by 1911 the three counties had a united sheriffdom under that name. Dumfries and Galloway covers the majority of the western area of the Southern Uplands,[1] it also hosts Scotland's most Southerly point, at the Mull of Galloway[2] in the west of the region.

Water systems and transport routes

The region has a number of south running water systems which break through the Southern Uplands creating the main road, and rail, arteries north–south through the region and breaking the hills up into a number of ranges.

The A701 branches off the M74 at Beattock, goes through the town of Moffat, climbs to Annanhead above the Devil's Beef Tub (at the source of the River Annan) before passing the source of the River Tweed and carrying on to Edinburgh. Until fairly recent times the ancient route to Edinburgh travelled right up Annandale to the Beef Tub before climbing steeply to Annanhead.[4] The present road ascends northward on a ridge parallel to Annandale but to the west of it which makes for a much easier ascent.

From Moffat the A708 heads north east along the valley of Moffat Water (Moffatdale) on its way to Selkirk. Moffatdale separates the Moffat hills (to the north) from the Ettrick hills to the south.

National scenic areas

There are three National scenic areas within this region.


Transport in the region is operated by bus companies Houston's, McEwan's, Stagecoach Western and McCall's coaches, and train operators ScotRail, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast.


A Virgin Pendolino leaving Lockerbie station for Carlisle

The region has seven working railway stations. All are on the Glasgow South Western Line, except Lockerbie which is on the West Coast Main Line.

The Port line

The mainline from Dumfries railway station via Newton Stewart to Stranraer Harbour railway station, was closed under the Beeching cuts. The line previously connected London Euston and the West Coast Main Line with the ferries to Larne Harbour railway station and the Port of Belfast.

The Port Road line to Stranraer was the last to go in June 1965, leaving only the original G&SWR main line open to serve the Stranraer. The Beeching cuts ended the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway and Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Railway has resulted in adverse mileage to connect Stranraer with a longer line via Kilmarnock and Ayr.

Bus and coach

The area is served by buses which connect the main population centres. Express bus services link the main towns with Glasgow, Ayr, Edinburgh and Carlisle. Local bus services also operate across the region.


Stena Line provided HSS sailings between Stranraer and Belfast

Dumfries and Galloway is home to two ports which have services to Northern Ireland, both are in the West of the region. Stena Line and P&O Irish Sea both have a port in the village of Cairnryan.


The region also has no commercial airports; the nearest are Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport. The region does host a number of private airfields. The town of Lockerbie was the scene of the Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist attack on 21 December 1988.


The main roads to and from the region are:

Emergency services

Police Scotland is the police force for the region. Its predecessor, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary (dissolved 2014) was the smallest police force in the United Kingdom. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (formerly Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service) provides firefighting services across the region. The Coastguard, Lifeboats, Moffat mountain rescue and Galloway Mountain Rescue also offer emergency services across Dumfries and Galloway.

Nith Inshore Rescue is based at Glencaple. This independent lifeboat provides water rescue cover for the River Nith, surrounding rivers and inland water. Nith Inshore Rescue is a declared facility for HM Coastguard, the control centre and overseeing authority responsible for call outs.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway provides healthcare services across the region. The two main hospitals are the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Dumfries and Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.


Dumfries & Galloway Council provides nursery, primary and secondary education across the region.

Alternative Schools

Nursery and primary schools

For a list of nursery schools and primary schools, see List of state schools in Scotland/Council Areas A-D (excluding cities).

Secondary schools

The Minerva building of Dumfries Academy


The region is known as a stronghold for several rare and protected species of amphibian, such as the Natterjack toad and the Great crested newt.[15] There are also RSPB Nature Reserves at the Mull of Galloway,[16] Wood of Cree (Galloway Forest Park),[17] Ken Dee Marshes (near Loch Ken)[18] and Mereshead (near Dalbeattie on the Solway Firth)

Welcome sign

Outdoor activities

There are five 7Stanes[19] mountain biking centres in Dumfries and Galloway at Dalbeattie, Mabie, Ae, Glentrool and Kirroughtree. The Sustrans Route 7[20] long distance cycle route also runs through the region. There is excellent hill walking in the Moffat Hills,[21] Lowther Hills [22] the Carsphairn and Scaur Hills [23] and Galloway Hills.[24] The Southern Upland Way[25] coast to coast walk passes through Dumfries and Galloway and the 53-mile long Annandale Way [26] travels from the Solway Firth into the Moffat hills near the Devil's Beef Tub. There is also fresh water sailing on Castle Loch at Lochmaben[27] and at various places on Loch Ken[28][29] Loch Ken also offers waterskiing and wakeboarding. [30] The Solway Firth coastline offers fishing, caravaning and camping, walking and sailing.

Arts and culture

Dumfries and Galloway is well known for its arts and cultural activities as well as its natural environment.[citation needed]

The major festivals include the region-wide Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, and Spring Fling Open Studios. Other festivals include Big Burns Supper in Dumfries and the Wigtown Book Festival in Wigtown – Scotland's national book town.


In terms of television, the area is cover by BBC Scotland broadcasting from Glasgow and ITV Border which broadcast from Gateshead.

Radio stations are provided by BBC Radio Scotland which broadcast the local opt-out from its studios in Dumfries and the commercial radio station, Greatest Hits Radio Dumfries & Galloway also broadcast local news bulletins to the area.

The area is served by these local newspapers: [31]


Largest settlements by population:

Settlement Population (mid-2020 est.)[32]












Newton Stewart


Castle Douglas






Main settlements in bold text.

Places of interest

Main articles: Scheduled monuments in Dumfries and Galloway and List of Category A listed buildings in Dumfries and Galloway


Dumfries and Galloway
Coat of arms or logo
Malcolm Johnstone,
since 7 March 2023
Gail Macgregor,
since 7 March 2023
Dawn Roberts
since July 2022[34]
Seats43 councillors
17 / 43
11 / 43
8 / 43
1 / 43
6 / 43
Single transferable vote
Last election
6 May 2022
Next election
Meeting place
Council Offices, 113 English Street, Dumfries, DG1 2DD

See also: Category:Wards of Dumfries and Galloway

Administrative history

Prior to 1975, the area that is now Dumfries and Galloway was administered as three separate counties: Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire. The counties of Scotland originated as sheriffdoms, which were established from the twelfth century, consisting of a group of parishes over which a sheriff had jurisdiction.[35] An elected county council was established for each county in 1890 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.

The three county councils were abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which established a two-tier structure of local government across Scotland comprising upper-tier regions and lower-tier districts. A region called Dumfries and Galloway was created covering the area of the three counties, which were abolished as administrative areas. The region contained four districts:[36]

Further local government reform in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 saw the area's four districts abolished, with the Dumfries and Galloway Council taking over the functions they had previously performed.[38] The council continues to use the areas of the four abolished districts as committee areas. The four former districts are also used to define the area's three lieutenancy areas, with Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale together forming the Dumfries lieutenancy, the Stewartry district corresponding to the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright lieutenancy, and the Wigtown district corresponding to the Wigtown lieutenancy.[39]

The council headquarters is at the Council Offices at 113 English Street in Dumfries, which had been built in 1914 as the headquarters for the old Dumfriesshire County Council, previously being called "County Buildings".[40][41]

Political control

The first election to the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council was held in 1974, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new system came into force on 16 May 1975. A shadow authority was again elected in 1995 ahead of the reforms which came into force on 1 April 1996. Political control of the council since 1975 has been as follows:[42]

Regional council

Party in control Years
Independent 1975–1994
No overall control 1994–1996

Unitary authority

Party in control Years
No overall control 1996–present


Since 2007 the council has been required to designate a leader of the council. The leader may also act as the convener, chairing council meetings, or the council may choose to appoint a different councillor to be convener.[43] Prior to 2007 the council sometimes chose to appoint a leader, and sometimes did not. The leaders since 2007 have been:[44]

Councillor Party From To Notes
Ivor Hyslop Conservative 15 May 2007 1 Oct 2013
Ronnie Nicholson Labour 1 Oct 2013 23 May 2017
Elaine Murray Labour 23 May 2017 5 May 2022
Stephen Thompson SNP 24 May 2022 3 Feb 2023 Co-leaders, with Thompson being the civic head and convener and Dorward being the depute convener.
Linda Dorward Labour
Stephen Thompson SNP 3 Feb 2023 28 Feb 2023
Gail Macgregor[45] Conservative 7 Mar 2023 Malcolm Johnstone (CON) as Depute Leader of the Council and Convenor


Since 2007 elections have been held every five years under the single transferable vote system of election. This system was introduced by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 to achieve a reasonably proportionately representative outcome. Election results since 1995 have been as follows:[42]

Year Seats Conservative SNP Labour Liberal Democrats Independent Notes
1995 70 2 9 21 10 28
1999 47 8 5 13 6 15 New ward boundaries.[46]
2003 47 11 5 14 5 12
2007 47 18 10 14 3 2 New ward boundaries.[47] Conservative and SNP coalition.
2012 47 14 10 15 1 7 Conservative / SNP coalition until October 2013.[48] Labour / SNP coalition until June 2014.[49] Minority Labour administration 2014–2017.
2017 43 16 11 11 1 4 New ward boundaries.[50] Labour and SNP coalition.
2022 43 16 11 9 1 6 SNP and Independent Group Coalition with Labour support until February 2023.[51] Conservative minority administration from March 2023.[45]


Map of the area's wards (2017 configuration)

The council area is divided into 12 wards that elect 43 councilors:

Ward Number Ward Name Location Seats
1 Stranraer and the Rhins 4
2 Mid Galloway and Wigtown West 4
3 Dee and Glenkens 3
4 Castle Douglas and Crocketford 3
5 Abbey 3
6 North West Dumfries 4
7 Mid and Upper Nithsdale 3
8 Lochar 4
9 Nith 4
10 Annandale South 4
11 Annandale North 4
12 Annandale East and Eskdale 3


See also


  1. ^ The district of Wigtown was named in the 1973 Act as "Merrick", but the name was changed to Wigtown prior to the new system coming into force in 1975.[37]
  1. ^ "Visit Southern Scotland".
  2. ^ "Home". Mull of Galloway.
  3. ^ "Home". www.theglenkens.org.uk.
  4. ^ "Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Proceedings of the Society Feb 11th 1924 ANCIENT BORDER HIGHWAYS by Harry R G Inglis" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2007.
  5. ^ "Nith Estuary National Scenic Area". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  6. ^ "Roman Britain - Organisation". Roman Britain. Archived from the original on 6 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Dumfries Museum – The Brow Well". Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  8. ^ "Forestry Commission web page on Mabie Forest and its facilities".
  9. ^ "Scotland's Natural Nature Reserves page on the Kirkconnell Flow". Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  10. ^ "National Museum of Costume web site". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  11. ^ "East Stewartry National Scenic Area Map, and Introduction to Coastal Walks in the Area". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  12. ^ "Auchencairn Initiative walk from Balcary to Rascarrel". Archived from the original on 17 December 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  13. ^ "Mersehead Nature Reserve, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland". The RSPB.
  14. ^ "Fleet Valley National Scenic Area". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  15. ^ "Rallying cry from frog stronghold". BBC News. 6 May 2008.
  16. ^ "Mull Of Galloway Nature Reserve, Scotland". The RSPB.
  17. ^ "Wood Of Cree Nature Reserve, Dumfries & Galloway". The RSPB.
  18. ^ "Ken-Dee Marshes Nature Reserve, Dumfries & Galloway". The RSPB.
  19. ^ "7stanes mountain biking - Forestry and Land Scotland". forestryandland.gov.scot.
  20. ^ "Route 7 on Sustrans website". Archived from the original on 10 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Moffat Hills Introduction showing Hill Walk Routes and Local Information". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  22. ^ "Hillwalking in the Durisdeer and Lowther Hills - Introduction". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  23. ^ "Hill Walking in the Scaur or Carsphairn Hills - Introduction, Scotland". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  24. ^ "Hill Walking Routes in Galloway - Introduction". www.walkscotland.plus.com.
  25. ^ "Website for the Southern Upland Way". Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  26. ^ "Annandale Way - Welcome". annandaleway.org.
  27. ^ "Annandale Sailing Club : Home". Annandale Sailing Club.
  28. ^ "Loch Ken Marina - Water Sports & Water Skiing in Dumfries and Galloway". www.lochken.com.
  29. ^ "skilochken.co.uk - Domain Name For Sale". DAN.COM.
  30. ^ "Airds Farm Guest House | Bed and Breakfast Accommodation | Dumfries and Galloway". www.airds.com. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013.
  31. ^ "Newspaper Indexes". Dumfries & Galloway Council. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  32. ^ "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Home". Devils Porridge Museum.
  34. ^ "Dumfries and Galloway Council appoints new Chief Executive". Dumfries and Galloway Council. 6 April 2022. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  35. ^ "Type details for Scottish County". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  36. ^ "Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1973 c. 65, retrieved 22 November 2022
  37. ^ "The Lord-Lieutenants Order 1975", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1975/428, retrieved 27 November 2022
  38. ^ "Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1978 c. 39, retrieved 22 November 2022
  39. ^ "The Lord-Lieutenants (Scotland) Order 1996", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1996/731, retrieved 22 November 2022
  40. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "English Street, County Buildings (LB26174)". Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  41. ^ "Dumfries, 113 English Street, Dumfries County Buildings". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  42. ^ a b "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  43. ^ "The Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Remuneration) Regulations 2007", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2007/183, retrieved 27 November 2022
  44. ^ "Council minutes". Dumfries and Galloway Council. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  45. ^ a b McLean, Marc (10 March 2023). "Dumfries and Galloway Council power takeover leads to even more political unrest". Daily Record. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  46. ^ "The Dumfries and Galloway (Electoral Arrangements) Order 1998", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1998/3180, retrieved 29 January 2023
  47. ^ Scottish Parliament. The Dumfries and Galloway (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2006 as made, from legislation.gov.uk.
  48. ^ "Dumfries and Galloway Council deadlock meeting planned". BBC News. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  49. ^ "SNP quits Dumfries and Galloway Council ruling coalition". BBC News. 2 June 2014.
  50. ^ Scottish Parliament. The Dumfries and Galloway (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2016 as made, from legislation.gov.uk.
  51. ^ McLean, Marc; Standard, Dumfries and Galloway (7 February 2023). "Council coalition hangs on to power". Daily Record. Retrieved 8 February 2023.