Seven miles east of Caerlaverock Castle, in tiny Ruthwell, the church holds one of Europe’s most important early Christian monuments. The 6m-high 7th-century Ruthwell Cross is carved top to bottom in New Testament scenes and is inscribed with a poem called ‘The Dream of the Rood’; written in a Saxon runic alphabet, it’s considered one of the earliest examples of English-language literature.

Bus 79 running between Dumfries and Carlisle stops in Ruthwell on request.