Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Birchover and Stanton Moor (Derbyshire)

Another trip out to Derbyshire yesterday. Allow a little under 2 hours from Preston. The walk itself is mainly on good paths but has a few steep bits and stiles.

Our walk started from the informal car park opposite the large quarry near Birchover, on the road between Stanton in Peak and Birchover.

From the quarry car park we walked left up the road for a short way before joining the large path on the right leading to the Access Land of Stanton Moor. Follow the track up to the large "Cork" stone and bear left along the obvious track.

Follow the track across the moor and through trees until you reach the "nine ladies" stone circle. This a good place to rest a while.

From the stone circle continue along the path until you reach the tower commemorating the Reform Act of 1832 (it is now bricked up so you can't climb it) and follow the path on the right along National Trust land on (keeping the fence to your right).

This path gives great views towards Matlock and Riber Castle, eventually passing the "Cat Stone". From here, continue on the path in the same direction, keeping the fence on your right, and start to descend to the road.

When you reach the road turn right and walk up the hill a short way to join a footpath on the left, leading down through a farm and campsite. Follow this path past the farm building and take the signed footpath on the right to Birchover.

Once you reach Birchover you can enjoy a choice of pubs, we had a quick drink in the
Red Lion (water provided for dogs) or the Druids. The path back to the car park is immediately opposite the Druids, leading up a ridge through the trees.

Click here for Google map

Allow a couple of hours for this walk. We saw no livestock but remember that, on Access Land, you must keep your dog on the lead between March 1st and 31st July. Watch out too for the steep edges on places.

Doggy rating 6/10

Coniston and Tarn Hows (Cumbria)

Tarn Hows is one of the best known Lakeland beauty spots, and a good place for a fairly gentle walk on excellent paths with no stiles to climb. Allow about an hour and a half for a gentle ciruit of the tarns with a bit of time to sit and admire the views, and maybe let your dog have a little swim. Signs ask that you keep your dog on the lead as there could be grazing livestock in the area.

Tarn Hows is well signposted from Coniston and Hawkshead. The narrow road leading past the Tarns takes you to the main National Trust Car Park, and it was from here that we started Friday's walk.

Crossing the road, we followed the good path down to the Tarn and continued to follow the left bank of the Tarn through the trees. There were a few spots along here where other dogs enjoyed a nice swim but our dog (having recently taken to swimming at every opportunity) was kept nice and dry.

The path continues to the far end of the tarn before rising and sweeping back to the start point at a higher level. There are great views along here and if we had stayed for longer the obvious tree covered promentary jutting out in to the water would have made a good place for a sit down and a paddle!

Ice cream lovers (and their owners) might be able to enjoy an ice cream if the van is parked up in the car park.

We combined our trip with a visit to Coniston. The short walk from the village to the Lake and a short way along the shore provided a good opportunity to work up an appetite before having lunch in the Black Bull Hotel. The pub is very dog friendly (welcome indoors) and water and pats were offered on arrival. The food was simple but excellent and the portions were huge(the dog liked the cumberland sausage and fish). The dog's owners particularly liked the fact that the pub has its own microbrewery and serves some great beers!

Click here for the Black Bull website

Click here for National Trust information on Coniston and Tarn Hows

Doggy rating 6/10 (lovely spot but the lack of off-lead opportunities at Tarn Hows limits the score - the shoreline of lake Coniston may well provide better off-lead opportunities in places)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Grasmere and Ambleside, Cumbria

Not really a new walk today but maybe some useful bits information for anyone having a lazy day out in the Lakes with the dog.

One of the questions we had in our minds when we got our dog was would we still be able to enjoy a relatively lazy day out, with a bit of a stroll, a wander round some little shops, and a pub lunch? Evidently, the answer was yes, a demonstrated by yesterday afternoon's lazy trip out to Grasmere.

We parked in the National Park Car Park at Broadgate. This car park is adjacent to a small park beside the River Rothay, which means you can potentially let the dog off for a good run around with a ball after your trip. There are lots of benches to watch the world go by on so whilst your dog can be energetic, you don't have to!

Once the dog has run itself ragged you can stroll along the obvious riverside path through the park, on to Broadgate and towards the the village centre. No visit would be complete without a trip to Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread Shop so that was our first stop followed by coffee and Sandwiches in the garden of the Ash Cottage team rooms opposite the Red Lion Hotel. The Lamb Inn, which comes highly recommended as a dog friendly pub, was unfortunately closed for refurbishment but if open, it's worth a visit.

After a stroll round the village, and a few more shops (some, such as Cotswold, welcome well behaved dogs too) we returned to the park for another run around.

One the way home we had a quick stop off in Ambleside where the staff in SR Cunninghams Shop (the Jack Wolfskin shop) made a huge fuss of the dog and offered to come down to Preston on their days off to dogsit! He was also invited in to the Fat Face store on the market square. The Hayes Garden Centre, whilst not dog friendly inside, does have quite a nice hillside area for exercising your dog.

There are of course loads of walks in the area to choose from!

Click here for an interactive Grasmere map

We returned home with a heavily patted and tired dog. Who said dog ownership always had to be energetic?

Doggy rating 5/10

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Southport Marshside


Southport Marshside, a large RSPB reserve, is accessible from Marine Drive, the coastal road to the North of Southport. There is some limited access for dogs but check the maps posted on boards in the area and obviously make sure your dog is under control if he/she has a tendency to chase birds!

Our favourite walk round here starts from the car park next to the Sand Works. It would be hard to describe it as a dog friendly beach walk but it does lead out to the sands and is a good walk for clearing the cobwebs! From the car park you can see the "road" leading from the sand works way out onto the sandbanks off Southport. On some days you'll see the huge dumper truck and excavator making their way to and from a far off point where the excavations take place. I wouldn't recommend attempting to follow them to their final destination but you can walk to the edge of the sands quite safely and the whole route gives your dog the chance to have a good, if wet and muddy, run round. The tide comes in quickly around here so be careful or you could easily become stranded. You should also keep to the marked track to avoid dangerous soft sand.

The "road" leads out past coastal grassland and pools. Assuming your dog hasn't scared them all off, you can expect to see thousands of wintering waterfowl from September to May. Breeding birds include avocets, lapwings and redshanks (April to July).

Click here for a Google map / image

Click here for information on the RSPB reserve

Doggy rating 5/10

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Lancaster Canal: Bilsborrow to the Kenlis Arms

I'm not a huge fan of canal walks, but they do provide lots of opportunities for an off-lead run around and the towpaths are generally easy going underfoot. Canal walks also have a tendency to include a pub, and this is no exception! The walk was very quiet when we did it. The whole route is well fenced from the adjacent fields and livestock.

We parked today at Guys Thatched Hamlet at Bilsborrow. This well known canal-side attraction includes the Owd Nells pub and has lots of outdoor seating. Initially, though, it provides a good place to park the car.

We walked North up the towpath, past the marina and out into open country-side. It's not really a quiet walk as for much of the route you're close to ether the A6, M6, the mainline rail route or all three. The walk also passes the new site for Barton Grange Garden Centre and Marina. At the time of writing this, construction is is still in its early stages but it did cross my mind that at some stage you'd be able to start this walk with a coffee at Owd Nells, have lunch at the Kenlis Arms near Garstang, take afternoon tea at Barton Grange and enjoy a refreshing pint back at Own Nells. Sounds great!

The walk also takes in a few viaducts with crossings of the rivers Brock and, if you get that far, the river Wyre. We didn't quite make it up to the Wyre this morning but it makes a good target if you fancy a long walk. We retraced our steps after an hour or so of walking, at the small aqueduct near to Ray Lane and the Kenlis Arms.

Overall, a nice walk. It was fairly quiet although we did see another lovely springer spaniel and passed a short time with its owners talking about holidays in Cornwall and Ireland.

Click here for Google map / image

Doggy rating 6/10