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, October 28, 2007

Brock Bottoms to Walmsley Bridge

It's a year to the day since we started our blog. Having a dog has given me an excuse to visit some lovely places that would otherwise have passed me by. As I've driven up and down the M6 near Garstang I've never realised that the nearby River Brock, between Brock Bottoms and Walmsley Bridge, would be one of the best walks we've found to date.

We parked at the almost full car park on Brock Mill lane and took a quick look at the information point outlining some of the waymarked routes in the area before heading downstream. With the autumn leaves falling from the trees, and the riverside path muddy from the heavy overnight rain, we were in doggy heaven. If there was a downside it was that the river was running quite high so swimming was out, and the narrow path's many twists and turns meant that I had to be fairly alert to make sure the dog didn't knock any poor defenceless children into the river!

We followed the path past the ruins of the old mill, then through wonderful, livestock free, open pastures to Walmsley Bridge.

We crossed the bridge and headed up the lane a short way before taking the footpath leading left through the farm. The path led us back up towards Bleasdale lane, which we followed a little further before the dog could once again run free on a muddy footpath leading left back down to the footbridge near the mill. There was just time for a quick paddle to wash off the worst of the mud before heading home, wet but happy.

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Doggy rating 7/10 (because of the short stretch of lane walking and potential for livestock in the fields, although they were empty today)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Arnside Knott

Today's walk takes in the three highest peaks in England, Scafell, Skiddaw and Helvellyn, all in the space of an hour or so. Well almost...the view from Arnside Knott is about as good as it gets, and whilst the low cloud prevented us from seeing many of the lakeland peaks this afternoon, the panorama on a clear day is amazing, and you can see all of these peaks.

Our walk started at the National Trust car park on Arnside Knott. From the car park we headed almost directly up the steep slope to the stone walled viewpoint. From there, we continued onwards, through a gate, into woodland and a good track which led to the left and continued up the hill to another viewpoint and a bench.

The hilltop provided a chance for some ball throwing before we headed onwards and through another gate diagonally downhill through open pastures. There were a few cattle gazing here but the dog, and the cattle, were pretty disinterested in each other.

Once we reached the far wall we followed the path right, alongside the edge of the pasture, with the wall on our left. A gate in the corner of the pasture led us back in to the woods and down a fairly steep and slippery (when wet) path.

In sight of the road, we bore right and passed beneath the steep limestone screes before continuing onwards, through several more gates, and back to the car park.

This is a great walk, of about 2 miles. If we'd have stayed in the woods rather than cut through the pastures, the entire walk would have been off-lead. As it was, the dog was on the lead for a short while past the cattle. The only down side from the dogs point of view was the absence of a stream or river.

If you wanted to extend the walk a little, and give your dog a paddle, you could start from Arnside promenade.

Doggy rating 8/10 (Would have made a 9 if the dog had found somewhere to swim!)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A quick stroll from Guys Thatched Hamlet

We returned to the the Lancaster Canal at Bilsborrow again today. Having parked next to the cricket ground at Guys Thatched Hamlet and Owd Nells we walked up the canal in the Lancaster direction, through the marina and to the viaduct over the river Brock. The walk up the canal to the Brock only takes 10 minutes or so, but is very pleasant.

Last time we were here, the river Brock was a raging torrent, but today we were able to descent the steep steps leading down to a wide grass riverbank and gently shelving pool next to the viaduct. This proved to be a heavenly spot for a spot of doggy paddle, and if we'd have had a picnic there could be no better place!

When the dog finally gave up chasing his ball, and began to shiver in the realision of how cold the water had been, we climbed back up to the canal and I began to walk back to our starting point. The dog though had other ideas and stared wistfully in the oppostite direction. Being the softee that I am, and thinking it wouldn't do any harm to get him dried off, I gave in and we walked up the canal to the A6 road bridge. The return alongside the A6 through Brock gave yet another chance to perfect our heel work (which is getting better!). After ten minutes of road walking we took a clearly marked track back towards Myerscough Collge which led us to the canalside and back to Guys.

All in all, a good little walk, and a great spot for dogs who love swimming.

Click here for the Guys Thatched Hamlet website

Doggy rating 7/10

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The best dog walks in Lancashire (to date)

Over the past year we've been on loads of nice walks and do of course have our favourites. I've come to realise that what makes a good walk for me doesn't necessarily make a good walk for the dog, and that what might be doggy heaven for the dog can turn out to be a muddy wet nightmare for me!

The walks that feature in our current top ten are (in no particular order):

- Anglezarke Reservoir
- Clevelys and Rossall Beach
- Cuerden Valley Park
- Hurst Grange Park
- Hoghton Bottoms and River Darwen Gorge
- Preston Junction Nature Reserve
- Roddlesworth Woods and Reservoir (Tockholes)
- St Annes Beach
- Turton and Entwisle Reservoir
- White Coppice and Great Hill

We've added a poll to the blog so you can vote for your favourite. If your favourite spot isn't listed hear why not leave a comment, and we'll give it a try!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

River Yarrow Country Park, Chorley (Balshaw Lane Car Park)

The Balshaw Lane entrance to the River Yarrow Country Park car park is clearly signposted off Balshaw Lane. Don't expect the signs at this end of the park to give you an easy time though, if you have no sense of direction, this is not a place for you!

From the car park, we followed the lane past the cricket club and through a kissing gate leading to a muddy farm track through fields. Within a few yards, we had our first decision, to follow a path left, or head straight on. The signs helpfully marked "Footpath" weren't much help so we carried straight on down the main track, and over a stile (the dog could just squeeze underneath) to an open field. Not really sure where we were heading, we crossed the field towards another stile which led, as it turned out, to a path leading beside woodland, above the waste treatment works and down to Common Bank Lane.

Once again, we took a guess at our route and followed a very muddy footpath to the river. The dog took the opportunity for a paddle and dig around on a rather muddy path of sand before we headed off, still not knowing where we were going, up what turned out to be German Lane.

Reassured that we were at least on a road, and seeing the railway tracks that we knew must lead us back up towards Euxton, we headed up the hill, put the dog on the lead and continued until we reached what we knew to be the A49, Preston Road. Not to be dispirited, we practiced our heel work and followed the road back to Balshaw lane and the car.

All in all, not the best trip out, but certainly not the worst. Perhaps we'll return some time to take a guess at which path leads down the river to the south end of the park that we enjoyed last week.

Click here for the Chorley Borough Council website with information about the park
Doggy rating 5/10

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ullswater and Aira Force, Cumbria

A drive along the A592 along the shores of Ullswater gives loads of options for your dog to have a good run around or even a swim. There are various places where you can pull in and park for free, and access the wooded lake shores.

We chose to park at the National Trust car park at Aira Force (free for Members) and had a stroll up the side of the beck to the dramatic waterfalls. The round trip is only a mile or so but well worth a visit, especially after some rain. There are no real off lead opportunities though, and your dog must be well under control near some of the steep drops! The paths are steep and rough in parts.

Returning to the car park, we'd recommend the toffee cake and coffee from the nearby cafe. The lakeside is just a short distance away if you can still manage it afterwards!

Click here for information on the National Trust website

Doggy rating 5/10

A run around in Ambleside, Cumbria

Ambleside always seems full of dogs, and I'm sure many of them (and their owners) don't frequent the high fells. With grazing sheep prevalent on most of the lower fells and public footpaths it can sometimes be hard to find somewhere to let the dog have a good run around off the lead.

Borrans Park, on the banks of Lake Windermere, is a good place to spend half an hour or so. It's ideally suited to start or end a walk round Jenkins Crag or Loughrigg. The park is easy to find, next to the A591, beside the Waterhead Hotel and very near to the Steamer Piers. There are several small gently shelving beaches and a large grassy area, ideal for "fetch". When we visited it was quite busy, but we did find a peaceful spot to sit on a wooded crag, whilst the dog ran frantically over the rocks, pleading with us to throw something in the lake.

Unfortunately for him, we didn't fancy dragging a bedraggled dog around Ambleside, so this time he didn't get a swim.

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Doggy rating 5/10