|Location Map ( geo)
|38 miles (61.2 km)
|A77, A75, A746
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The A714 is a coast-to-coast road running across the South-West corner of Scotland.
Girvan - Barrhill
The route starts at the Shalloch Park Roundabout on the A77 on the southern edge of Girvan, where it also meets the B7035 and heads south past a handful of houses before very quickly leaving the town behind and heading out into open fields. It climbs gently through the low gap between Shalloch Hill and Dow Hill before winding around to find the railway line. The distinctive shape of Byne Hill stands off to the right, and the road ambles up the eastern side of the wee valley with a series of distinctly Alpine-esque bends, crossing the railway in the process. The route then levels out and becomes more sinuous as it crosses the wild, sheep laden hillsides with the occasional farm dotted between. The railway is recrossed whille it is buried in a tunnel below, with the road winding through a small block of woodland soon after This is the summit of this section of the route at just under 150m. It remains distinctly twisty, until the Glasgow-Stranraer railway line reappears at the tiny hamlet of Pinmore, where the two routes run side by side for a short time, separated only by a line of trees.
The road then crosses back over the railway to wind through some more trees. Around the next bend however, the road dives under the railway, takes a horseshoe bend around a wee burn and then passes back under the tracks, three crossings in half a mile, the last two under the same viaduct!. The route continues to drift down the hill and comes alongside the River Stinchar, although the river itself is mostly hidden behind trees at first. The B734 crosses Pinmore Bridge on the left to join the A714, offering a clearer view of the river before it meanders away again. After another brief section on the riverbank, the road curves back under the railway and follows the edge of Black Wood around to Daljarrock. Glimpses of the widening valley ahead can be seen through gaps in the trees as the route passes a caravan park and then crosses Daljarrock Bridge at a tight double bend over the River Stinchar.
A short sharp climb takes the route back over the railway, and a brief break in the trees offers a spectacular view downstream The B734 has been multiplexing with the A714 for the last couple of miles, but now turns off to the right to follow the Stinchar downstream, while the A714 curves round into the tine settlement of Pinwherry, where it crosses the Duisk River on Pinwherry Bridge. The route starts to climb again, winding along below the railway line as they follow the Duisk upstream. The first climb doesn't last too long, before it dips down to cross a burn, with the route becoming more undulating thereafter. This section of the route has clearly been improved in the past, with several loops of old road to be seen, but it is still sinuous as it passes through a holiday park and drops a little to find the bank of the meandering river. A couple of bends later, it reaches Barrhill, one of the large settlements on the route.
Barrhill - Newton Stewart
The long wide Main Street through Barrhill is lined with brightly painted houses, but traffic has to take care crossing the narrow bridge over the Cross Water halfway through the village. A crossroads just before the bridge leads right up to the station and then over the hills to find the A75 at Glen Luce, loosely following the railway line across largely desolate moorland. At the southern end of the village, the B7027 continues ahead as the A714 swings round to the left to cross the Duisk Water again, on Duisk Bridge, and starts to climb out of the valley. At first the two routes are running almost in sight of each other on either side of the river, with just trees blocking the view. However, after crossing the small Feoch Burn at Feoch Bridge, they start to diverge and the route climbs steadily through the fields between often high hedges. There are some good views south across the forested hills of Galloway. After a couple of miles the A714 finds the forest edge itself, and follows a winding route through the trees, passing a scattering of houses.
It then reaches the summit of around 180m before dropping down a little to cross the Dumfries and Galloway border at Wheeb Bridge over the River Cree. The bridge stands in a large open area of moorland fields, partially due to recent felling, but soon the route dives back into the forest as it passes through the western edge of Glentrool Forest, which forms part of the Galloway Forest Park. The river has meandered off to the south, while the route crosses the undulating hills before dropping back down to the hamlet of Bargrennan, where the remote mountain road via Glen Trool (which, incidentally forms an alternative northbound route to the A77 all the way back as far as Maybole) reconnects with the major A-road network. The Cree is recrossed and then followed downstream, often on the tree lined riverbank and rarely more than a narrow field away. Breaks in the trees reveal rolling farmland with forestry across the river.
As the route follows the Cree downstream, the landscape suggests this is an upland valley, but in reality the valley floor is only 20 or 30 metres above sea level. A couple of longer straights connect the windier sections of road, before a slight climb lifts the route away from the river and through the trees at Penninghame. A mile or so beyond, the southern end of the B7027 is met at Challoch Church. It has travelled a similar distance, and also enjoys some fine scenery, but is generally narrower and twistier making it the slower of the two routes. The next right turn is effectively a western bypass for Newton Stewart, and signed for lorries destined for the A75. The A714, however, sticks to its original route into the town, which is soon reached, entering as Douglas Terrace, before following King Street and Arthur Street along the riverbank. It then meets the B7079 at a TOTSO at the western end of the Bridge of Cree.
Newton Stewart - Braehead
The B7079 has followed the old A75 route through Minigaff, from the eastern end of the bypass, and so has priority as the two routes briefly multiplex south through the town centre on Victoria Street and Albert Street. Newton Stewart is a delightful, bustling town, one of the larger settlements in Galloway, and so providing many shops and services for the wider area. The B7079 then turns right onto Station Road, the old A75 line, despite it no longer connecting to the A75 itself at the further end. The A714, meanwhile follows Queen Street and Wigtown Road south to the Wigtown Road Junction, a busy roundabout on the A75 bypass. The A714 continues south, running along the foothills of Barrhill, with good views out across the meandering Cree as it snakes back and forth across the meadows. Occasionally tree lined through the bends, the route soon opens up into some long straights connected by sweeping bends as it turns away from the river to avoid the Moss of Cree. There are a scattering of roadside properties, but this is a largely agricultural landscape.
The B7005 turns right at the busy Culquhirk Fork, offering a bypass to Wigtown, but the A714 continues ahead, soon climbing up into the hill town. The former county town is entered on New Road, which kinks left by the school and then comes to a TOTSO at the entrance to the vast central square. Wigtown is known as Scotland's Book Town, and there are perhaps a couple of dozen shops selling books scattered around the square, and the side streets leading off it. Many, however, have diversified and offer books as part of a wider range of products, while a few have inconveniently placed chairs and tables in front of the bookshelves as they morph into cafes. The buildings are almost all old stone properties, rising to two or three stories, with many brightly painted to five a lovely street scene, with the old county buildings rising up at the east end of the square. The A714 turns right onto North Main Street, and runs alongside the town park as it slowly tapers down to a wide fork with South Main Street. Just beyond this junction, it TOTSOs again, turning left onto Agnew Crescent.
Wigtown is not a big place, and after passing just a handful of twentieth century houses, the route leaves the urban area behind and winds out across the fields once more. Before long, however, the small village of Bladnoch is reached, with its long row of cottages looking out across the River Bladnoch. At the end of this single street, the A714 meets the southern end of the B7005 Wigtown Bypass at a roundabout. The two routes then multiplex across Bladnoch Bridge and around a couple of bends before the B7005 forks off to the right. A short distance further on, apparently in the middle of nowhere, the A714 ends at a T-junction with the A746 and B7085 just to the north of Braehead. Unusually, all three directions at the junction have different road numbers, the latter originally being part of the A714 which stretched all the way to Port William on the coast, but was officially downgraded to the B7085 designation in the 1970s - although many of the signs didn't get updated until the late 1990s!
As originally classified in 1922, the A714 continued further south, as noted above, to reach Port William on the coast. This section was renumbered in the 1970s as part of a wholesale review of road numbering in the area and is now the B7085. This review led to the very unusual situation whereby there is a single Class I route around the coast of the Machars Peninsula from Newton Stewart to Glenluce, which carries three different numbers - the A714, then the A746 and finally the A747. Furthermore, the latter two were originally B roads, upgraded to A roads in the mid 1920s.
Aside from the curtailment of the route, the A714 has seen a lot of improvements over the years, even if the overall alignment hasn't deviated very far to either side. There are still some very narrow twisty sections, particularly to the north which are the most memorable in many ways, even if the straighter, faster sections to the south comprise the majority of the route. On the long, twisty climb out of Girvan, there is plenty of evidence of widening, particularly on the bends where wide verges show that the curves have been adjusted to improve the flow of the road. None of these improvements, however, have taken more than a couple of metres of land from the fields to either side, leaving the general shape of the road much as it has always been. The same is true as the road winds south through Pinmore and Pinwherry, there are numerous small laybys and wide verges hinting at minor realignments over the years, and the road width varies somewhat, again suggesting that the route has been widened in places.
A couple of miles before Barrhill, the road suddenly opens out. A loop of old tarmac can be seen disappearing into the bushes behind a wooden fence on the left, rejoining just before the bridge over the small Lig Burn. A small layby has then been left in the wide verge just around the corner, and the bends through the holiday park have all been eased. Just beyond, a loop of old road on the right crosses the old bridge over the Daltangan Burn, followed by another loop to the right, partially in use as a farm track and then a very overgrown loop to the left. A little further along another loop on the right is now a narrow layby. In between these old pieces of road, and continuing south into Barrhill, there are numerous stretches of wide verge and then a shallow layby at the entrance to Barrhill, all showing further evidence of road improvements.
Beyond Barrhill, the road is a little narrower once more in places, but much of it has been widened albeit almost entirely online, with wider verges and tiny laybys here and there to show where bends have been eased. There are small laybys either side of the Feoch Bridge, followed by a long overgrown loop to the right, but this is the only offline improvement of any note before Bargrennan. Once across the county boundary, however, the route is notably wider as it runs through the forest and often has wide verges as well. The old Bargrennan Bridge has been bypassed, with the new bridge standing close by, cutting off the old road alignment at the junction. The long run alongside the River Cree doesn't feel as wide as the road through the forest, but this may just be because the trees stand much closer to the roadside, with narrower verges giving a more claustrophobic feeling.
Just before Glenhapple, there are a couple of laybys on the left, followed by a long loop of old road on the right, now used by the farmer. There are further small loops of old road before Penninghame, most seem to be intended to be used as laybys, although some are slowly being reclaimed by nature. At Penninghame itself, the old twisty section has been replaced by a long sweeping bend, but a combination of deliberate planting by the estate and nature taking over means that the old road is almost completely overgrown. There are two loops to the right either side of a loop to the left shown on the map, although these are barely identifiably from the road. At the further end, there is another loop in the trees behind the houses, which can just be glimpsed from the road. The next offline improvement of note is found at Challoch Church, where the old road used to run up the B7027 past the church, then turn left over the burn and come out at the driveway to Creeside Cottage. There are then just a couple of laybys on bends on the way into Newton Stewart to show minor improvements.
Beyond Newton Stewart the closure of the railway has allowed a cycle track to be built alongside the road, but apart from the removal of the old crossing there is little evidence of anything other than minor widening at first. The old railway bridge at Nether Barr was on an awkward double bend, and the road now uses the railway alignment to curve back onto the old road further south. Wide verges and sweeping bends then show where the road has been reprofiled around the corners, but the long straights generally seem to be a little narrower. At Causeway End, the old road can be seen running past the farm on the left. The old bridge over the Bishop Burn has been bypassed, and then there is a wide curve to the left which has been reclaimed by the farmer. Despite appearance at this point, however, the loop around the low hill which runs alongside the old railway line was never part of the A714.
There are a number of other signs of minor realignments on the way into Wigtown, and one substantial one. After the B7005 junction, a long loop with a sharp bend has been bypassed. This still survives and is crossed by the minor road which curves around the back of the hill to enter Wigtown from the east. The only other notable improvement to the south of Wigtown is that the junction with the A746 has been reconfigured. The A714 used to run through the layby, giving an easy curve onto the B7085, which was of course originally the A714 to Port William. However, with greater traffic flows on the route to Whithorn, priority is now given to that route, with the old alignment of the A746 now the southern entrance to the layby.