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Best places for dog walking this summer

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From dog-friendly beaches in Wales to National Trust homes that are dog friendly, there's a place for every pooch to stroll

woman walking dog

What could be better than a beautiful walk in the sun with a dog by your side? The UK is blessed with countless idyllic dog walks that can be enjoyed all year round, but summer’s warm, dry weather makes it a particularly perfect time to explore the country with your canine companion.

To help you and your pooch plan an adventurous summer of outdoor fun, here are 10 of the best places to walk your dog in Britain.

River Avon Dam, Dartmoor

If you and your dog enjoy scenic riverside walks, this beautiful stroll in Dartmoor is guaranteed to please. Start from Shipley Bridge and make your way along the river up towards the dam.

Water-loving dogs will have plenty of opportunities for a dip, while owners are bound to appreciate the rugged country views. The walk is a little hilly, but with paths throughout it’s suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. 

Alexandra Palace and Park, London

With woodland, grassland, a boating lake and ornamental gardens, there’s plenty to see on a walk around the iconic Alexandra Palace in London. Its Grade II-listed park spans 196 acres, easily big enough for dogs of all sizes to spend hours exploring.

The jewel in the crown is a spectacular view of London’s skyline from the top of the hill – one of the best places in the capital to observe a summer sunset. 

Mobberley, Cheshire

One of the oldest parishes in England, a meander around Mobberley includes stunning countryside, picturesque churches and charming dog-friendly pubs.

Regular walker Fiona Keenaghan and her dog, Woof the Cavachon, recommend the Mobberley Rail Trail – a 6km walk from Mobberley station with ample opportunities for pub stops.

woof-the-cavachon-dog-in-a-pub

“It’s nothing too strenuous but can be muddy, so be prepared for dirty boots and pooch if it’s raining,” Fiona advises.

Rhossili Bay, Gower

Widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, Rhossili provides dog walkers of all abilities with some utterly enchanting views. This area of outstanding beauty is dog-friendly all year around, and pups can’t get enough of exploring its sandy dunes. Check the tide times before you set out to avoid an unexpected paddle.

Clent Hills, Worcestershire

A designated circular dog walking trail in this peaceful part of the midlands makes it one of the UK’s best spots for four-legged adventures. Woodland, fields and phenomenal views abound. If it’s a clear day, you might even be able to spot the Welsh Black Mountains from the Clent Hills’ highest points.

Chatsworth, Derbyshire

For a traditional day out where your dog will be welcome, Chatsworth House is hard to beat. Your furry friend will need to remain on his or her lead, but that needn’t stop you both from exploring Chatsworth’s epic 105-acre garden, famous for its historic waterworks and sculptures.

“We particularly enjoyed the higher, wilder areas that feel like woodland,” says Mary Mayfield, who writes about adventures with her dog Dylan on her blog.

dylan-the-dog-at-chatsworth

“Follow the streams that feed Chatsworth’s ponds, waterfalls and fountains.”

Balmaha, Loch Lomond

For a breathtaking example of Scottish scenery, look no further than Loch Lomond. Head for Balmaha, a quaint village on the banks of the loch that makes an ideal starting point for walkers and their dogs.

While Conic Hill is a great introduction to the area’s wild views, it may be a tad rocky for those who struggle on uneven terrain. Balmaha itself provides views beautiful enough to make it worth the trip for owners and dogs of all abilities.

River Mersey, Greater Manchester

Some wonderful walks can be enjoyed along the Mersey, particularly for dogs who like a paddle. Manchester local Naomi Timperley enjoys walking her dog Murphy from Sale Water Park to Chorlton, where dog-friendly cafés and bars await.

murphy-the-dog-sale-water-park-chorlton

“It’s a beautiful walk, especially in the sun,” she enthuses. “The walk to Chorlton and back usually takes about one and a half hours, and Murphy can spend most of that time off his lead.”

Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

Tumbling streams, mossy woodlands and stunning valley views are all offered on a hike to the hilltops at Hardcastle Crags. The bluebell bordered paths make it idyllic for a quintessentially English afternoon stroll, which can only be improved a faithful hound by your side.

Dogs love dipping their paws in the fresh water beside the 19th-century Gibson Mill, and there’s a café on site that offers dog-friendly ice cream. 

Big Dog Forest, County Fermanagh

It’s not just big dogs who’ll have a fun day out in this impressive conifer forest, which forms part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

Check out the Big Dog and Little Dog hills (supposedly named after legendary giant Fin MacCool’s faithful pair of Irish wolfhounds) while keeping an eye out for local wildlife including herons, dragonflies and red deer.

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