North Balfern Smallholding
North Balfern Smallholding is a traditional farm steading and former watermill, which has been partially renovated to form a three bedroom cottage, which is currently used as part of a holiday letting business. The remainder of the main steading has been re-roofed but had planning permission granted in 2004 to convert the rest to another cottage and an owner's residence. The owner's residence conversion would have panoramic views of the Galloway Hills. There is a garden formed from the steading courtyard which provides entertaining and play space. The steading sits on the side of an Iron Age hillfort and includes approximately 18 acres of grazing land of grade 3(2) as classified by the James Hutton Institute, and a 2 acre mill pond.
North Balfern sits just outside the village of Kirkinner, which has a village shop, pub and highly regarded primary school. The nearby town of Wigtown, home to the internationally renowned Wigtown Book Festival, offers a range of services, with a supermarket, several pubs, hairdressers, library and health centre. A broader range of services can be found in Newton Stewart including the Douglas Ewart High School.
Kirkinner sits just 10 miles, around 18 minutes, from the A75 Euro-route which runs from Gretna in the east of the region to Stranraer in the west. The A74/M6 motorway network link at Gretna is approximately 82 miles from Kirkinner (adequate travelling time should be allowed due to the very rural location of North Balfern). Prestwick airport with its regular flights to Europe is about 61 miles northwest and both Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport are 94 and 117 miles respectively. There are regular daily ferry services from Cairnryan to Belfast, around 30 miles to the west.
The South West of Scotland is well known for its mild climate, attractive unspoilt countryside and for the diversity of the sporting and recreational pursuits. It is because of this mild climate that the area is so attractive to gardeners and there are several gardens open to the public nearby, such as Logan Botanic Gardens, Threave Gardens, and Castle Kennedy Gardens. The nearby Galloway Hills are popular for those who like to walk and cycle. Of note are the Seven Stanes mountain bike tracks at Kirroughtree Forest Park near Newton Stewart. A "Walking Fest" is held annually in Newton Stewart and is exceedingly popular with visitors. The Galloway Forest Park is recognised as Britain's first Dark Sky Park, and provides astronomers phenomenal views of the stars with a newly opened Observatory in Wigtownshire. For golf enthusiasts, there are fine 18-hole courses at Newton Stewart and Stranraer - the later designed by James Braid.
The area is of historic significance in particular in the Whithorn area, where St Ninian arrived in the AD390's after studying in Rome, and built the first Christian church in Scotland. The construction of an Iron Age roundhouse to show how people lived in Galloway in the fifth century BC has been created in Whithorn. In addition there are several sporting opportunities such as shooting and stalking as well as trout and salmon fishing on the River Bladnoch and various other varieties in the regions numerous rivers and lochs. Water sports are available on the Solway coast.