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.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

River Yarrow Country Park, Chorley (Birkacre Car Park)

Today was our first visit to the River Yarrow Country Park. The park lies close to Chorley and was created through the redevelopment of the once industrial Birkacre area. Nature has pretty much reclaimed the land and it proved a very pleasant place to spend an hour or two.

Our walk started from the main car park by the Birkacre Visitor Centre. There are a few information boards dotted around the car park and, having looked at a potential route, we headed off on the "woodland walk". A nice path led through a picnic area and up through the woods. We soon lost our way though and had to retrace our steps having reached another park exit somewhere near Longworth Avenue. Not that it mattered, there were plenty of woodland paths to choose from and we soon found ourselves back on a substantial footpath and a bridge over the river Yarrow.

We followed the riverside path up to the weir and continued until we reached what I imagine was a capped coal shaft. Here, the main path seemed to loop back sharply to the left, towards Burgh Lane.

We followed the path up the hill and out on to open scrub land. After a short game of fetch (thistles somewhat spoilt the fun) we worked our way round the trees and down the hillside, returning to the riverside path, and retracing our steps to the bridge.

On reaching the bridgewe decided to take a stroll round the main lodge. Until this point the dog was entirely off lead but I played it safe until I was sure there were no fishermen about. The path round the lodge provided a chance for the dog to attempt to scavenge bread from several children trying to feed the ducks, but unfortunately for him, the ducks were quicker!

We returned to the car park, having walked for a little over an hour, and found a good spot for a further game of fetch.

The park is huge and there are plenty of other places to walk. I'm sure we'll return again.

Click here for further information about the River Yarrow Country Park, on the Chorley Borough Council website.

Doggy rating 7/10

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cleveleys and Rossall Beach

The Fylde Coast may not be Cornwall but it can offer plenty of fun for dogs and their owners and is, happily, rather easier to get to from Preston. Having said that, on a sunny day, it can seem as if the whole of Lancashire is heading to the Coast, and you'll need plenty of patience approaching the Windy Harbour traffic lights on the A585.

Our walk this afternoon started at the car park on Cleveleys Promenade, near to the Royal Hotel. The Promenade itself has undergone quite a few changes since we were last there. It's a shame to see the open space around Jubilee Gardens given over to a featureless brick built multiplex cinema and pizza outlet. Having said that, I assume the funding the Council received from selling the car park and land is contributing to the ongoing sea defence works, the "Peoples Prom" and the much improved facilities for kids in the adjacent park.

The dog enjoyed a good splash around as we strolled up the beach towards Rossall. The tide was well in so we did have to give some anglers a wide berth as well as watch for kids throwing stones into the sea. The dog, having recently gained his sea legs, is a little over confident in the water and I had visions of him swimming out through the surf in a doggy impression of Bay Watch.

At the far end of the beach towards Rossall, we were forced up on to the prom by the sea, end enjoyed the walk in front of the sea wall to Fairway. It was busy with people, bikes and dogs along here, but that was fine and gave us a chance to practice some heel work with some major distractions! It probably also made me look pretty stupid, constanlty barking "heel" and taking two steps back every time he pulled, but such is life.

We returned the same way, stopping at the ice cream van in the Promenade car park to try to recapture some of the spirit of last week's holiday. I'm sorry to say that the ice cream of Terry's of Cleveleys just doesn't match Roskilly's of Cornwall. The dog enjoyed the remnants of the cone all the same though.

The views ac cross Morecambe Bay, out to the new Wind Farm and beyond, were great. The dog loved the beach and didn't seem to notice the difference between the clear blue seas and golden sands of Cornwall and the brown seas and slightly grubby shingle of the Fylde. My powers of observation were slightly sharper but it didn't spoil a good afternoon out and we'll return there soon.

Click here for Google Map

Click here for information and pictures relating to the Cleveleys Promenade and Sea Wall Defence Works.

Doggy rating 7/10

Holiday in Cornwall: The Lizard

Holidays are great, especially when you're lucky enough to have almost two weeks of sunshine whilst staying with our dog in one of the recently converted lighthouse cottages on the Lizard in Cornwall!

The cottages themselves were great for the dog. The floors were tiled or wood, so easily cleaned. Each cottage has a small yard with a solid gate, giving and outside extension to the living space. The Lighthouse Complex is surrounded by a 6 foot high wall keeping you and your dog safe and secure from the surrounding cliffs. Perhaps the only down side of the cottages themselves is the fact that when it's foggy, a very very loud fog horn sounds, which can be heard over 3 miles away. Unsurprisingly, the dog was less than impressed, as we were, on the one night when it sounded. We weren't able to use the "free" earplugs provided as we wanted to be able to hear and reassure our grumbling and barking dog. I don't actually remember whether the dog stopped barking or whether the fog horn stopped, but we did eventually get to sleep, and awoke to wonderful sunshine.

The Lizard point requires you to take care of your dog. A small bowl outside the National Trust shop was dedicated to Skippy, who fell in May 2007. A small bunch of flowers near the top cafe were dedicated to a trusted friend. Posters asked us to look out for a lovely looking Springer Spaniel, who disappeared in early August 2007. My heart went out to those owners and the dogs who had fallen from the very very steep cliffs round here. It served as a warning for the duration of our stay and our excitable and easily distracted dog was never ever off the lead on the cliff tops.

Don't be put off visiting the Lizard with your dog though. We found plenty of places off off lead run arounds which were perfectly safe. There were no sheep at all in the area, only cattle, so paths crossing fields and the many green lanes were generally great places for a good run around. For those staying in the Lizard, I'd recommend the book "Five Walks from the Lizard", available in most local shops and the National Trust car parks, to give you a range of short but really enjoyable walks. These proved ideal for early morning jaunts, and we generally had the whole place to ourselves save for the occasional other friendly dog walker.

The Lizard itself isn't great for dog friendly beaches. The best we found were at Porthoustock and Coverack. Both had plenty of space and were safe for swimming with care. Most other beaches on the Lizard, especially the busy ones such as Kynance, either ban dogs in season or otherwise only allow dogs on leads.

As with our holiday in June, we had a great time, and I think the dog did too. We've never seen him so tired!

Roll on next summer!