Sandhead is a small village in the Rhins of Galloway, some seven miles south of Stranraer. It sits on the shore of Luce Bay, just at the point where the broad sweep of Luce Sands turns south, passing Sandhead Bay en route to the Mull of Galloway, 12 miles to the south.
What you find today is a small, largely residential village lining either side of the A716 and extending between it and the shore. The extremely broad Main Street is home to the Tigh na Mara Hotel and the Woodlea Tea Room, as well as a village shop, a church, and a gospel hall.
At the south end of the village the seaward side of Main Street opens out into playing fields which offer wide views over Sandhead Bay.
There is evidence of settlement in the area around Sandhead dating right back to the very beginning of the Christian era. Early carved stones found at Kirkmadrine Church, a mile and a half to the south west, have been dated to the 400s or 500s and are thought to indicate that there was a very early monastery on the site.
Closer to modern Sandhead are the obvious remains of Balgreggan Motte, constructed on the summit of an existing ridge a few hundred yards north of the village. This seems to have been the location of a very early castle and has possibly overlooked the village since the 1100s or 1200s.
The motte stands to a height of nearly 9m above the surrounding ridge and the oval summit measures some 20m by 17m. Traces of a surrounding ditch up to 5m wide and 1m deep have also been found. The castle that stood here was almost certainly made of wood, and appears to have burned down. A later Balgreggan Castle belonging to the MacDowall family was sited a little further inland. This was replace by Balgreggan House, which was itself demolished in 1966.
By the 1600s, a mill had been constructed on the Sandmill Burn, and another appeared to the south of Sandhead in the 1700s. More recent development has largely been residential, or to service traffic passing along the main road from Stranraer to Drummore.
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