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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A stroll round Alderley Edge (Cheshire)

Unable to bear the crowds in the Trafford Centre last weekend, Dogs Dad and Dog took the opportunity of a wander round Alderley Edge whilst Dogs Mum and nephew shopped to their hearts content.

Alderley Edge has always held special memories. When visiting as a child I was told of the legend of the wizard and the sleeping knights. On subsequent visits there was a magical feel about it, almost like an unseen energy, so I was looking forward to short walk with the dog followed by some tea and cake from the cafe.

We parked at the National Trust car park at the Wizard and walked through the adjacent field to a bridleway which led to the gate to the woodlands around Pillar Mine. Passing through the gate we followed the good but muddy path along the top of the sandstone edge, with impressive views over the Cheshire Plain. Reaching the large clearing at Pillar Mine we paused for a while, slightly disappointed by the massive erosion caused by the thousands of visitors who, like us, visit the site. No unseen mystical energy was apparent so we continued through the woodlands and followed a muddy path to the foot of the edge before passing below the mines and back to the gate and returning to the car park via Old Alderley Quarry. Given the mining history of the area, the dog was under fairly close control throughout the walk so the highlight of the trip (for the dog)was a return to the field adjacent to the car park for a game of Frisbee!

Overall, a better way to spend an afternoon than braving the crowds in the Trafford Centre, but I'd have preferred to have had my fond memories of Alderley Edge rather than the reality of a site which appears not to be bearing up well to the huge numbers of visitors. It is though clear that lots of work is taking place to try to control the erosion. A number of areas are fenced off to prevent further damage, and new paths are being created. Nature is a great healer and no doubt she'll work her magic before the sleeping knights are woken by the sound of feet above their resting place.


Doggy rating 6/10

Click here for the National Trust pages for Alderley Edge

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A perfect walk in Ainsdale

The car park next to the Pontins Holiday Camp at Ainsdale, near Southport, was the starting point for todays perfect dog walk. Dunes, woods and wide open beaches combined to make this as close to doggy paradise as we've got.

Starting at Ainsdale Discovery Centre we followed the white marker posts south through the dunes making up Ainsdale Hills, towards the distant woods. The going was tough but the dog loved the excitement of seeing what was over every high crest before we eventually joined the well marked Pinfold Trail which skirted the edge of the National Nature Reserve Woods.

Near to West End Lodge we took the wide gravelled track that continued south beside the well fenced off railway tracks and Woodvale Airfield. With woods to one side and in the main, grassland to the other, the dog had a great time chasing his ball before we joined the well signed Fishermans path through the woods to the shoreline.

We wandered along the largely deserted beach, enjoying the solitude and views towards the Fylde coastline for a couple of miles before reaching our starting point.

Almost all of the route was off lead although since the Fishermans path is fairly narrow, and also a cycle track, we did have a brief chance to practice some heelwork. Our route was a little over 5 miles but you could make it much shorter if you wanted. Fantastic!

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 10/10

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Indoor entertainment

After a few hours run round Cuerden Valley Park this afternoon the dog refused to settle down and entered "random barking" mode. His unruly behaviour might have had something to do with the fact he was denied the roast beef dinner enjoyed by Dogs Dad, but it did inspire this post listing 10 ways of getting some in-door entertainment.

1. Filled Beef Bones

Filled beef bones can keep him entertained for a good hour or so. It's not necessarily a quiet activity though as getting the filling out can involve the bone being tossed across the floor, and it's certainly one restricted to tiled floor or the garden rather than the carpet!

2. Raw Hide Chews

Highlife Chews are a favourite and give a good 30 minutes of calm. He gets bored of larger bone type Hide chews and remnants are left to be pawed around the floor before being binned at a later date.

3. Kong

The standard Kong has been the only dog toy that has stood the test of time. Filled with a little cream cheese or a few small biscuit treats it keeps him entertained for 15 minutes or so. It's not necessarily a quiet activity though as the standard way of getting at the treats is to pick it up and toss it across the room in an effort to get the treats to fall out.

4. Nylabone

The Nylabone comes in several flavours. Whilst I don't see the attraction of chewing flavoured synthetic material myself he seems to enjoy it for 10 minutes or so before realising the label's promise of real "bacon" flavour just doesn't compare to the real thing!

5. Tissue paper

Ten seconds of pure heaven for the dog. Ten minutes of clean up operation for us.

6. Soft toys

The dog loves all soft toys. Most last about 5 minutes before we're faced with wildly excited barking as the stuffing spills out. Any manufacturer claiming that their "soft" toy is tough is lying!

7. Rope toys

Even the toughest sounding rope toy is no match for our dog. After 30 minutes we can guarantee that the rope will have been shredded and the remnants either littering the floor or relegated to the bin. Supervised "tug" play is the only way to enjoy a rope toy safely.

8. Orka Jack Dog Toy

The Orka Jack has a great puppy toy, giving hours of chewing pleasure. Unfortunately the grown up version of our bundle of joy manages to chew through the ends in half an hour or so.

9. Twist n Treat

The Twist n Treat is a great toy. Two halves screw together meaning you can fill with a few treats to keep the dogs interest for 15 minutes or so, but it doesn't roll underneath furniture whilst being pushed around the room. It's pretty much indestructible.

10. Scrunchies

Any colour will do. Ones left on bedside cabinets taste best. Given a chance he'll even give them a tug whilst being worn!

If you do manage to get ten minutes peace don't forget this is the last week for voting for your top dog walk of 2008 at visitpreston.com or http://www.21topdogwalks.co.uk/. We're rooting for any of our local walks, including Cureden Valley Park, Preston Junction Nature Reserve or the Millenium Ribble Link.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wycoller - Weaving (and muddy) ways

With fireworks and the recent wet weather behind us we took advantage of the Sunday sunshine for a walk near the pretty village of Wycoller, in East Lancashire.

From the visitors car park we headed along the footpath towards the village. Where the path joined the road we went right, over a small stile, and through fields and more stiles. En route we suffered a mile or so of thick mud before emerging, wet and covered in muck, at Higher Stunstead. Wondering why anyone would find pleasure from this route we followed a better farm road to New Laith. Unfortunately the optimism didn't last long and making our way through the farm buildings we were dismayed and, with hindsight, strangely surprised to find more mud and stiles marking our route to the aptly named Mean Moss.

Fortunately the walk became more pleasant as we headed away from Trawden and joined the Pendle Way, following a lovely wild path over the moors and down beside a rugged stream back towards Wycoller. The dog was happy to wash off the worst of the mud by paddling in the icy waters before we followed an idyllic woodland and waterside track to Wycoller and the car park. The round trip was a little over 5 miles. There was little opportunity for off lead walking as livestock were roaming free most of the way.

No one in their right mind should attempt the first part of this walk before next summer, unless the ground is frozen. A better option would be to walk from the car park and through the village, following the stream and the Pendle way towards Beaver. There are a few places for a game of fetch or a paddle on the way, and if you return the same way you'll remain relatively mud free.

If you really want to try this walk you can find the full route on the excellent Nature Valley website. Leave it until next summer though!

Information on Wycoller can be found on the Lancashire County Council website. We'll return one day for a more sedate stroll through the Country Park.

Doggy rating 5/10

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A walk in the dark

Hi there to "Springermum" who left a post in the guest book asking if we knew of any good evening walks now that the dark nights are upon us. Unfortunately we've not got much to recommend and don't suggest you follow the example of some others by wandering around the local park with a torch!

Most of our evening walking sees us treading the same dull path up and down local roads and possibly a spell wrecking the grass in the garden, longing for the weekend when we can have a really good trip out. On the plus side, the mornings are a little lighter for now at least, so there's the possibility of an off lead run before work. We're also lucky to have Chris or Martin, our wonderful dog walkers from Home Comfort Pets, to get the dog out in daylight if we're at work.

The only half decent local walk in the dark I'd recommend is around Preston docks. It's reasonably interesting, generally traffic free (although we keep the dog on the lead), well lit and provided you don't leave it too late, popular with other people out for a stroll or a jog. You can even combine with a trip to Pets at Home! If you go a little further afield, Lytham Green and the Prom is nice and well lit too.

Almost goes without saying but keep to well lit areas that you know and make sure you and your dog can be seen. There's plenty of reflective gear, or "flashing" accessories to make sure you do.

Let us know if you find anywhere better!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Formby Point to Lifeboat Road

After the downpours of the past 24 hours the thought of waterlogged fields and muddy dogs was too much to bear, so it was off to Formby for a lovely 3 mile wander along the beach, dunes and woods.

After an eventful journey through flooded streets at Croston, where the normally sedate River Yarrow was close to bursting point, our walk began at the National Trust car park at Formby Point. Having crossed the dunes to a windswept beach we found the tide was on the way out this morning and the compact sand was a pleasure to walk on, with the added bonus of being geat for ball obsessed dogs. We headed south, towards Lifeboat Road, passing plenty of other dogs en route, including a similarly playful English Springer.

After a mile or so we reached the high marker post and lifeboat Road. We headed inland, over the dunes, to the car park and followed the wheelchair accessible trail which was clearly signposted to Victoria Road. Passing through old asparagus fields provided a chance for another game of fetch before we wandered through the woodland paths back towards the National Trust car park. The final stretch through the woods was "on lead" to ensure that the inquisitive dog didn't distress any red squirrels although unfortunately there were none to be seen following the recent and ongoing outbreak of Squirrel Pox.

Tired but content we reached the car and headed for home. Passing more flooding at Moss Side and New Longton we were thankful that the rain has at least passed for now, and grateful that waterlogged fields and muddy dogs were all we had to worry about this morning.

Click here for information about the National Trust at Formby Point

Doggy rating 9/10

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Worden Park, Leyland (Revisited)

Last time we were at Worden Park, it was to see Billy Smart's Circus. Scared by the memories of being dragged in to the circus ring by resident clown, Chico Rico, Dogs Dad hasn't dared set foot in the place since!

Today's visit was far more gentile, for me at least, with a chance to catch the autumn sunshine whilst the dog spent a good hour chasing back and forth after a ball we'd just bought.

Worden Park remains a great place to visit. From the main car park there are two large fields on either side, the one to the left being particularly good for a game of fetch. Once you've tired of playing, you can stroll past the miniature railways to the craft centre and coffee shop, alongside the riverside paths, or just take in a circuit of the huge open fields. In the sunshine, the park is full of other dog walkers, families and footballers, so just make sure you respect each other's space.

The recent rain has left the fields rather waterlogged and muddy but help is at hand when you return to the car park if you seek out the purpose built dog wash, complete with shower hose to wash off nature's worst. Fortunately, Chico Rico was nowhere to be seen.

Click on the South Ribble Borough Council Website for more information about Worden Park

Doggy rating 8/10

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scorton Nature Trail

It was off to Scorton in the sunshine today for a stroll round Scorton Nature Trail. We spotted this easy walk in the Driving with Dogs website and thought it sounded worth a trip, combined with a quick visit to stock up on a few winter tubs from the Ashley Garden Centre near Barton.

Parking at the large and well signposted picnic site at Scorton we headed off on the path to the left of the car park, through the picnic area, and in to woodland. It wasn't long before the dog spotted the adjacent River Wyre and promptly dumped his rubber ball on the shallow river bed. After 5 minutes or so of fruitless searching we eventually guided him to his target and onwards we went, along a well trodden path through the woods, to a Hide overlooking the duck filled mere.

Trying not to disturb the wildlife on the mere we followed a small track which once again led us to the river. Here, a large pebble beach gave the dog a chance to practice his doggy paddle before we continued on, winding through trees, until we reached a large open field near the car park. Once again, the ball came in to play and we spent a good while playing fetch, until the dog decided he'd had enough exercise, and lay down stubbornly in the long grass.

You could walk the 1 mile easy route in 20 minutes or so but with a few stops along the way it's a nice place to spend an hour. On the down side, the noise of the nearby M6 motorway was rather intrusive at times, but you could wish for little more in terms of a riverside setting.

The site is managed by Lancashire County Council Countryside Service and although there many be a few puddles it's suitable for wheelchairs and trampers.

Doggy rating 6/10

Monday, September 22, 2008

Southport Marshside (Revisited)

The weekend sunshine saw us craving sun, sea and sand so it was off to Southport for a return visit to Marshside, and the long sandy "road" leading out through the marshes

Having fought our way on to the busy car park next to the sand works the dog was in fine voice, barking wildly at the prospect of a walk along the beach. Leaving the car park, we walked through the gate and joined the stone road that leads from the works out to the distant sand banks. Disappointingly, the early stretch of the walk was littered with rubbish, some no doubt washed up by the occasional spring tides, but most probably dumped by irresponsible visitors. After a few hundred yards though the walk took on a more respectable quality and the dog enjoyed some energetic games of fetch, hunting for his ball in the adjacent marshland shrubs.

Despite the recent short spell of dry and sunny weather, some large puddles remained scattered about. Unfortunately,(for me at least) these seemingly insignificant puddles held the thickest, blackest, smelliest mud that the dog has ever encountered. Black smelly mud and sand was though a happy combination for the dog, who sought out every opportunity to wallow in the stinking mess.

Hoping to find some genuine seawater we continued out towards the sands but, as usual at Southport, the sea proved elusive. We returned to the car with the dog on the lead for the final stretch in a vain attempt to avoid undertaking a major valet once we got home.

Despite the obvious disadvantages, Marshside was still worth a visit, and was clearly very popular with other dog owners. Many dogs were on leads, and it's worth remembering that some owners with less sociable dogs probably like this walk because of the clear views ahead and behind and the natural boundary provided by the adjacent marshes. Make sure that you don't let your dog distract these less sociable four legged friends, and keep close control if it's clear that other dogs don't want to make friends!

Overall, still worth a trip.

Click here for a Google map. The "sand" road is the obvious track leading out towards the sea.

Doggy rating 5/10

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Knipe Fold, Iron Keld and Tarn Hows

Tucked away between Hawkshead and Coniston lies the small hamlet of Knipe Fold. We've been lucky enough to stay in Knipe Fold for the past week, and even luckier to find our first absolutely perfect dog walk right on the doorstep.

Our morning walks began near to Borwick Lodge, just to the South of Knipe Fold, and led up the stony bridleway towards Iron Keld Plantation. The bridleway is well fenced from adjoining fields and is fine for off lead walking but do keep an ear out for an occasional farmer in his landrover checking on his sheep or highland cattle.

Climbing higher, the views back towards Lake Windermere and down the valley towards Esthwaite Water were good enough before glimpses of Tarn Hows below, and the Langdales ahead, provided a spectacular vista. The dog seemed not to notice the views, but did wait expectantly each time we reached the gate to the recently felled Iron Keld Plantation. Felling has completely opened up the fellside and ensured that the views are maintained throughout. Deer seemed commonplace, particularly early in the morning, although as usual the dog was completely oblivious to their presence.

Winding our way round Iron Keld we rejoined the bridleway, where we had the option of a brief detour to Tarn Hows for a swim (the dog not me), or returning directly back down the bridleway to Knipe Fold.

We could not have wished for a nicer walk and even the pouring rain couldn't dampen our spirits. Perfect.

Remember that although the walk is on good paths, it is steep and rocky in places. Make sure you're equipped for the lakeland terrain and climate!

Click here for a Google map

Doggy rating 10/10

Friday, August 29, 2008

Guestbook

If you've got a suggestion for a walk, especially one that's off lead, or just want to say hello, please leave a comment here clicking on the "Post a Comment" link below. You don't have to create a blogger account or sign in and you can remain anonymous if you want. All I ask is that you don't post spam and keep your comments family friendly!

Cheers

Monday, August 25, 2008

Longridge Fell and Spire Hill

We had a return visit to Longridge Fell early this morning, this time taking in the fantastic views from Spire Hill, which was well worth a visit.

Our walk began as before at the small car park at Turner Fold. Following the forest track on the zig zag up hill from the car park, we soon gained the ridge and followed this for a couple of miles. The track here is wide and edged in the main by thick forest on either side, giving plenty of chances for a game of fetch.

As the main track began to descend down to Brownslow we took the fork off to the right, climbing gently on a good path bordered with flowering heathers. We soon reached the edge of the forest and passing through a gate turned right to follow the moorland track to the top of Spire Hill. The views accross to the Bowland moors were great but the dog was in no mood to rest so we carried on to High Beacon, where we entered the forest once again.

The route here became rougher with seemingly endless black peaty mud covering the dog and leaving me wondering what state the car would be in by the time we got home. Soon though, the mud gave way to stony paths and we joined another major forest road leading left towards Hare Hill. A pleasant walk followed, spotting a couple of deer on the way, before we reached the logs and viewpoint overlooking Walker Fold. From here, a short but again muddy path led us back to the main forest road leading back towards the car park.

Of course, at this point the dog was still black with mud, so I was glad that he managed to hunt out a small pool beside the forest road and after a spot of paddling, had washed off nature's worst.

Our trip took a little over 2 hours, with about five miles of off lead walking.

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 8/10

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Waterways from Rufford

Today's walk has been on our list of things to do for well over a year, and it was well worth the wait. Starting at Rufford and taking in the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, returning alongside the River Douglas, the walk of has a little under five miles of almost entirely off lead walking.

Our route began at the park and ride station car park at Rufford, and you could of course get the train out to this rural station for a car free day out. Crossing the tracks at the level crossing led us to the canal, where we crossed the road and took the towpath north, through lovely wooded banks and with glimpses of Rufford Old Hall opposite. The towpath is well fenced from adjoining fields so other than the occasional spell on the lead whilst passing the numerous anglers en-route the dog was able to run free.

After Rufford Old Hall the views opened up to reveal the flat expanse of fields towards Croston, and pleasant towpath walking passed several swingbridges and scenic moorings.

After a couple of miles we reached the small car park at Sollom and turned right, with the dog back on the lead, along the quiet lane and track leading to Red Bridge (which was actually green. Here, we turned right and crossed the easy stile to join the levy running alongside the River Douglas. The dog was in his element by the river, running through the long grass and expressing his pleasure with the occasional bark. There are two choices of path, along the foot of the levy, or along the top. I chose the higher route whilst the dog decided to run below. Bear in mind though that the levys are designed to control floodwaters, and the banks are steep, so walking here when the river is in flood is not recommended!

Passing through the gate at Sollom pumping station led us quickly to Croston Road, where after negotiating another easy stile and crossing the busy road with care, we continued along the top of the levy towards Rufford. The choice of top or bottom route is important here. Stay on top or you'll find yourself having to climb a bed of nettles after half a mile or so, to reach another easy stile en-route.

The riverside walk ends with a pleasant wide path before reaching the railway bridge where our route led us down to the right of the levy and through a small silver gate to return to the canalside moorings at Rufford.

All in all a great walk, but quite rough in places alongside the River Douglas. It is worth the effort though, evidenced by the tired and contented dog lying alongside me on the sofa!

Click here for Google map.

Doggy rating 8/10

Monday, August 18, 2008

A stroll through Lathkill Dale (Derbyshire)

The stunning Lathkill Dale is supposedly one of the quieter Derbyshire Dales, but there were plenty of others enjoying the food at the Lathkil Hotel and (relatively) gentle valley walks when we visited yesterday.

Our trip began with lunch in the Lathkil Hotel. The cosy bar played host to at least five other dogs on our visit, and were very much welcomed, unlike the muddy boots of walkers which were abandoned by the doorway. Had the weather been nicer we could have enjoyed a table in the large tented beer garden but the unpredictability of our summer this year meant we took the safer option.

After a filling lunch we headed off over the stile to the right of the pub, which led us through fields and then steeply down to Conksbury Bridge. At the bridge we took the well made path up the riverside path, past crystal clear pools filled with trout, and occasional caves and shafts left from the Dale's industrial past.

As we progressed, the Dale narrowed with steep wooded sides, reaching the ford and road leading steeply back up the hill to Over Haddon. Whilst we could have returned this we, we decided to continue on for another half an hour or so before retracing our steps and returning up the road to our start.

The upper Lathkill Dale is a National Nature Reserve and consequently dogs must be kept under strict control. It is though a nice place to visit with your dog, not least because of the welcoming Hotel to start our end your visit.

For a virtual tour of Lathkill Dale click here

Have a look at doggiepubs.org.uk for details of dog friendly pubs, including the Lathkil Hotel

Doggy rating 6/10

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Old Man of Coniston (Cumbria)

Picking dog friendly mountain isn't as easy as it sounds. There are plenty of things to consider; Is the dog (and owner) fit enough? Are there any tricky scrambles which might be easy for you, but not your four legged companion? Is it an easy descent, or is your dog likely to drag you headfirst down the mountainside? Taking all these in to consideration, the Old Man of Coniston seemed like a good option. Of course the dog was on the flexi-lead given the general hazards of the mountain crags, sheep and numerous mine workings from years gone by.

Our route started in Coniston itself and led up the incredibly steep road towards Walna Scar. Reaching the fellside car park, after a climb of 20 minutes or so, the dog trotted smugly past watching picnickers before we branched right on a gentle path round the base of the crags, towards the copper-mines valley. Eventually our respite ended and we began the steep climb on wide slate paths through the old quarry workings. Rusting cables crossing the path provided some initial interest for the dog before he caught scent of several dogs which we could see dragging their owners up the mountainside above us.

After an hour or so we rested for lunch above Low Water. The dog clearly wasn't tired, attempting to play with every passing four legged friend, before diving into the rucksack to steal (unsuccessfully) a ham and mustard sandwich. Biscuits were though on offer and after wolfing down his food the dog decided it was time to continue our climb.

We soon reached the summit cairn, and I realised that his enthusiasm was probably due to the 20 or so walkers munching through their lunches, so we continued quickly to descend down the track to Goats Water where the dog was able to have a cool swim in its crystal clear waters before reaching the Walna Scar Road and returning to our start.

This is a good walk for fit dogs and owners. Of course keep your dog under close control, particularly given the numerous quarry and mine workings in the area, but the paths are good and should not present any problems. Goats Water provides a good spot for a doggy paddle!

Click here for Google map

Cick here for MRC safety advice for users of mountains and fells and a link to the Met Office Mountain Weather Forecasts

Doggy rating 6/10 (a mountain walk rather than a dog walk!)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Vote for your favourite dog walk 2008

Three of the walks we've enjoyed in Preston Walkies have been shortlisted for the Uks 21 Top Dog Walks sponsored by Hills in association with Enjoy England, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales. The Lancashire entries are:

- A walk around Cuerden Valley Park
- Daisy Nook
- Heysham Old Village, Downs and Beach
- The Millenium Ribble Link and;
- Preston Junction Nature Reserve

Why not vote for your favourite at http://www.21topdogwalks.co.uk/vote/vote.asp and you could win your dog a years supply of petfood as well a chance to see some of the best dog walks in the UK.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hindley Hill Woods, Ladyewell Shrine and Haighton House

We took an early morning trip to Fulwood today to explore some of the woodland close to 31a of the M6 at Fulwood. We managed to pull together a nice walk of about an hour, with a mix running off lead through the woods, public footpaths through farmland and the pretty driveway leading to Haighton House. There were a few stiles en-route but none that our spaniel couldn't negotiate or bypass thanks to his new found confidence following some agility training!

We began our walk on Fernyhalgh Lane near to the Anderton Arms, and walked through the first gate in to Hindley Hill Woods. A nice wide gravelled path led us through the woods, past fitness equipment, before forking right and down to a small footbridge over Savick Brook.

The path continued through the woods, and we kept straight on, until we came close to the M6 and headed left up the steep path adjacent to the Motorway. Of course it was noisy here, but the motorway itself is well fenced off. I did though put the dog back on the lead as a precaution.

After a few hundred yards we took the footbridge over the Motorway and down to a narrow grassy field. Our route here wasn't obvious but ahead and right of the stile took us to another stile and through open farmland to Ladyewell House. Within the grounds of the house lies an ancient sacred well of which I knew nothing before our walk. Thanks to "Virtuso" and her blog I now know some of the fascinating history of the well, and the plight of Fergus Maguire and his search for Fernyhalgh.

Our trail of discovery led us down past the Ladyewell and, emerging on to the lane leading to Haighton House, left along the lovely white fenced drive. Here, the motorway seemed a distant memory and it was hard to believe we were no more than five minutes walk from one of the busiest stretches of the M6 in the country.

Soon, the path forked right and over another small footbridge before we turned right towards Clock House Farm. A small and muddy path led us to the lane than runs past the farm, where turned right and then right again over another stile and across several fields back to Fernyhalgh Lane.

Overall, a good walk with plenty to keep you and your dog entertained. I'm sure we'll be back to explore some of the many other paths around here.

Click here for Google Map

Doggy rating 7/10

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Grizedale and Nicky Nook

Lancashire's Grizedale and Nicky Nook lie on the edge of the Forest of Bowland close to Garstang. Hundreds of thousands of people drive close by on the M6 each year, and most probably have no idea what an inspiring walk starts and ends just a few yards away in Scorton.

We began our trip in Scorton and followed Snowhill Lane past the Church and over the Motorway before taking a footpath off to the right by Snowhill cottage. This path led us briefly through woods before joining Tithe Barn lane. We walked up the road to its end before turning right to join the footpath up Grizedale at Slean End. The path here was wonderful, walking off-lead through trees, adjacent to Grizedale Brook and then on to Grizedale Reservoir. The dog absolutely loved it, paddling in in the Brook at every opportunity and seemingly sniffing every bracken leaf along the way. His sense of smell was though far better than his eyesight, and he didn't spot the startled Deer which took flight up the steep slopes of Nicky Nook on hearing our approach.

Eventually our route took us out of the woods on the track to Fell End Farm, where we crossed a metalled bridge before taking the footpath left, through fields of grazing sheep, to the summit of Nicky Nook. The view out over Morecambe Bay was fantastic, so we paused a while for some doggy treats, and to make friends with a lovely 13 month old black Labrador who is soon to embark on her guide dogs of the blind training. Having made a brief mental comparison of our mad Spaniel, and the many demands that would be made of the Labrador over the coming months, I wished her owner luck and we made our way past the Tarn towards Scorton. Part way down we came across a bench which allowed me to have a rest and admire the view whilst the dog chased his ball down the grassy slopes.

Tired and contented, we rejoined Snowhill Lane for the short walk back to the car.

Although this walk involved some short stretches of walking along the lanes, and the dog could not be off lead on the top of Nicky Nook, this is still a fantastic walk for dogs (and their owners!)

Click here for Google Map

Doggy rating 9/10

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Red Nab to High Wray Bay, Windermere

Woods, fields and water combine to make doggy heaven on this short walk along the banks of lake Windermere. The walk is one of the Lake District National Parks "Miles without Stiles" series. The Miles Without Stiles routes are perfect for those in wheelchairs, buggies or who find walking a challenge. We've also found that some of these routes are perfect for a short dog walk, but with plenty of opportunities for the dog to run for miles chasing his ball, or swim to his hearts content.

We parked up at Red Nab, near to Wray Castle, and joined the well made path which led through the woodland lining the shores of lake Windermere. Great views across the lake, and over to the Fairfield range, kept us entertained whilst the dog explored every rocky outcrop and beach along our route. After a mile or so we reached High Wray Bay where the large field and gently shelving beach allowed the dog a chance to cool off in the the clear lake water, and us to enjoy the wonderful sunshine, before retracing our steps to the car.

The walk can be extended by walking south to Ferry Nab, a route we took on Saturday whilst watching some of the spectacular displays from the Windermere Air Show.

Whilst most of this walk can be done off-lead you do need to keep a careful watch out for cyclists and of course be mindful of others who might be finding the walk enough of a challenge without having to worry about playful dogs in their path!

Doggy rating 8/10

Click here for the Miles without Stiles pages

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lost in Middle-earth

I'm told that Tolkein was so inspired by the misty landscape of the Ribble Valley that it formed the basis of Middle-earth in the Lord of the Rings. We've been planning to walk the Tolkein Trail, which takes in Hurst Green, the banks of the Ribble and Hodder, and the impressive Stoneyhurst College, since Ciara posted a comment on the blog recommending a trip. Yesterday afternoon seemed like a good time to pay a vist.

Our walk began in Hurst Green and, following the path past the Shireburn Arms, we made our way through the muddy fields to the banks of the Ribble. The route from there was simple enough, following the river for a few miles next to open farmland and passing a few isolated farms and barns. As the river was high, and crops were growing in the fields, the dog was on the lead throughout, but he didn't seem to care.

Eventually we hit the road, near to Mitton and Cromwell's Bridge, and continued alongside the banks of the Hodder, getting a little soggy in the passing showers. After a mile or so we reached a small footbridge crossing a stream, at which point our trusty guidebook helpfully told us to take the long flight of wooden steps leading up through the woods. This we did, with the dog leaping two steps at a time, before the path became narrower and narrower, with overgrown vegetation making our path increasingly difficult. Undeterred, and trusting our guide, we continued onwards until the dog agreed that we could go no further. Looking around, we spotted several other wooden flights of steps, heading in different directions, and equally overgrown. The dog selected one at random and I was happy to follow, hoping to find our way to civilisation. The dog was clearly enjoying this game of snakes and ladders, but I was ecstatic to finally reach the footbridge where we'd begun our aimless wanderings a good half our beforehand. Disappointingly, we didn't spot any hobbits en-route.

Following a different path, we soon reached another flight of steps which fortunately led us back to civilisation and onwards to Stoneyhurst College and to our start. Hot, moddy, wet and tired (for once, me not the dog) just about summed it up.

Overall, perhaps not the best walk for large dogs, given the 10+ stiles we crossed, but a good walk all the same and one we'll repeat. Thanks Ciara and I hope your new addition has settled in well!

If you want a slightly shorter version of our walk, which misses out the woods of Middle-earth, have a look at the BBC Lancashire site

Doggy rating 7/10

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cornish holidays again

If you thought that the dog had been denied his walkies lately you can rest easy. The last month or so has seen a return to Cornwall for two weeks as well as plenty of trips to Cuerden and our other favourite haunts.

Cornwall was, once again, a great place to visit with the dog. We stayed on a farm near to Polzeath in North Cornwall, just a short drive away from miles of golden dog friendly beaches between Daymar Bay and Rock. The coast around here is spectacular and a trip around the Rumps, with the dog on the lead given the steep cliffs, is also worth doing.

Of course the dog joined us in some great pubs and eating places, eyeing up every crumb of pasty he saw. He also took a liking to waitress' feet on at least one occasion - licking just to see what they tasted like of course. The Blue Peter in Polperro is well worth a visit, as is the fantastic Old Inn at St Breward on Bodmin Moor. Both are happy for your dog to join you in the bar. The Old Inn is really close to the Camel Trail, voted one of the UKs best dog walks last year, and the wilds of Bodmin Moor, so there should be plenty to keep you and your dog entertained.

Roll on next time!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Keswick to Lodore, Derwentwater

Cumbria feels like a second home at the moment, and despite the cost of diesel we headed off to Keswick this morning for a wander along the shores of Derwentwater and a trip on one of the Launches that circle the lake.

Our walk began at the Keswick landing stages along the well trodden path to Friars Crag. Bearing left, we crossed grassy fields before joining a woodland path which continued alongside the lake. The path and lake shore often blurred giving the dog plenty of opportunities for paddling. Much of the route was well fenced off from adjoining fields and the busy Borrowdale Road, and had had it not been a busy bank holiday Monday, the dog would have been pretty much off the lead throughout.

We passed the jetty at Ashness Gate, continuing to the Lodore Jetty, only to find that services were cancelled due to "low water levels" (what a difference a few weeks of sunshine makes). We retraced our steps, along with many others, to Ashness where we just squeezed on to the Launch for a very choppy cruise back to Keswick. We pitied the 30 or so people who were left at Hawse End as the boat was too full to take any more passengers in the high winds!

Overall, this is a great walk for dogs. No stiles to cross and off lead opportunities for much of the route.

Click here for the Keswick Launch website

Doggy rating 8/10

The wilds of Turton Moor

We gave Roddlesworth a rest yesterday and decided instead to take a blustery trip around Turton Moor. The walk was a wild one, with rarely a soul in site and only the faintest of footpaths at times. At all times though, we were only a short walk from either the well trodden path that marks the Witton Weavers Way or the roads leading from Cadshaw to Belmont.

Our walk began at the United Utilities Car Park at Slipper Lowe, Roddlesworth Woods. Crossing the road, we took the path through fields signed "Lions Den" to the well trodden path leading steeply upwards between Darwen Moor and Turton Moor. The views from the top towards Winter Hill and the Lancashire coast to the west, and to the Pennine moors in the east, were spectacular.

Descending towards Cadshaw, we crossed over a stile on the right of the path, over a new stretch of fencing on to open moorland. Our route followed a faint path alongside the fence and through a number of ruined farmsteads, before we caught fleeting glimpses of Entwistle Reservoir through the wooded valley below.

We continued around Turton Moor, passing close to Charters Moss Plantion, before rejoining the Witton Weavers Way, and a good track, near to Pasture House Farm. The track led us back above Belmont Reservoir and back to our starting point.

Almost all of the walk crosses Access Land and consequently the dog was on the lead throughout. He wasn't bothered though, and was suitably tired by the end. The walk took us about an hour and a half, and involved several stiles over which I had to lift the dog. Not the greatest dog walk in the world but enjoyable for Dogs Dad none the less.

Click here for a rather featureless Google map. You will need an OS map, and a compass if you're undertaking this in bad weather.

Doggy rating 5/10

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A short walk from Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale

Devil's bridge, at Kirkby Lonsdale, is a mecca for bikers but also provided a nice spot (on a quiet day) for the dog to have a good run around on the stony "beach" beside the river Lune followed by a riverside walk through the Mill Brow Nature Reserve. Visit on a bank holiday Monday at your peril!

Our short walk began by the bridge, where we spend a good half an hour on the stony beach by the river whilst the dog chased various sticks and destroyed (through constant pawing) the carrier bag that housed the many doggy treats we'd bought at the Animal Emporium in the town. The river was shallow and fast running where we camped out, but there were some deep pools which were being enjoyed by other four legged friends.

We followed the obvious footpath beside the river, which led us past football pitches below the town and the Mill Race behind the church.

Short but nice! Click here for Google map

Lunch was had at the Highwayman Inn at Burrow. The food was good and the dog was welcome on the Garden Terrace. Probably not a good place to visit after your walk if it's muddy or wet!

Doggy rating 7/10

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A weekend in Grasmere

"Random Barking" is the term we use to describe the dog's unpredictable periods of barking for no apparent reason, probably because he's heard a car door shut half a mile away and thinks a doggy treat is about to arrive at the front door. "Random Barking" has occurred quite a lot recently, often late in the evening or early morning, when Dogs Mum and Dad are attempting to sleep.

It was then with some trepidation that we set off to stay at the Red Lion Hotel in Grasmere last weekend, on our first visit to a dog friendly hotel. Before arrival we had a trip to the Western Lakes, taking in the little Railway at Eskdale and a short walk and a run around the woods at the nearby Stanley Ghyll. We reached Grasmere late in the afternoon and after checking in the dog had a good sniff round his new surroundings, clearly finding some good smells to keep him entertained for a while.

We ate in the Lamb Inn, which is adjacent to the hotel. The dog was made very welcome and offered a few treats and water, and Dog's mum and dad enjoyed a few drinks in the bar.

Night time soon came and the dog didn't disappoint. After about 10 minutes, and a brief spell of Random Barking as residents drifted back to their rooms, the dog was firmly stationed on his lead next to the bed, under orders to be quiet! Happily, he stayed that way and soon adjusted to his new surroundings, giving a peaceful remainder of our stay.

Our second evening was spent al-fresco in the Ash Cottage Hotel, which was virtually deserted following the afternoon's thunderstorms.

There were several options for short walks around Grasmere, which is lovely at dog waking up time around 6.30am. We took in a short early morning walk up the road towards Easedale Tarn and round the woods at the back of Butharlyp How, footpaths alongside the river and a lovely path alongside Grasmere itself, which was fenced from adjacent fields so fine for off-lead walking.

We also visited Grizedale Forest, which was great dog walking territory. A few words of advice though, watch for mountain bikers and watch out for humans flying through the air (they certainly gave the dog a fright) as they traverse the high ropes and decent from aerial runways which form the "Go Ape" attraction at Grizedale.

Fortunately the weather was great so hoteling with the dog was fine, but it could have been difficult had we returned wet and bedraggled. The Red Lion itself was comfortable but expensive for our needs, which didn't really include the leisure facilities on offer. We'll no doubt return to stay in Grasmere but a simple cottage would probably be a better option for us.

Click here for the Red Lion website

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Haslingden Grane and Calf Hey Reservoir

We were up early this morning, missing the rain that now seems to have set in, for a three to four mile trip round Haslingden Grane.

We intended to park at the United Utilities visitor centre car park at Clough Head but since the car park was still gated and locked (note it closes at 4.00pm) we had to make do with a layby a short way up the road.

Wandering back to the car park wasn't particular pleasant owing to the vast amounts of discarded rubbish lining the A6177 Grane Road, but it was soon over with and we joined our intended footpath, leading just to the left of the visitor centre. The route was well signed "Rossendale Way" and lead us through moorland, alongside some small coppices, and back down to the road. Sheep were everywhere, and the dog was less than impressed with being kept on the lead.

Crossing the road and joining another signed track just to the left, we passed through fields of cattle which, fortunately, were not in the slightest bit interested in the dog. Here, the walk became more interesting, passing through the many ruined buildings which line the valley, reminders of the Grane's past existence, which included illegal Whiskey Distilling, before the valley was flooded to provide water for the growing industrial towns.

The dog too enjoyed the second half of the walk, with no sheep or cattle in sight, he was able to run through the woodland off lead, seemingly sniffing every blade of grass along the way.

The final part of the walk led us round Calf Hey Reservoir, still following the Rossendale Way signs, before heading down and over the dam and back up the signed footpath to our starting point.

It took us about an hour and a quarter to complete the walk but we didn't stop for long along the way. The dog had to be on the lead for much of the route, as we passed fields of sheep and cattle, and crossed Access Land. The off lead spots more than made up for it though, and it's certainly a spot we'll return to.

Click here for google map

Doggy rating 6/10

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dog Friendly Pubs

We've found quite a few dog friendly pubs whilst visiting Cumbria and Cornwall but haven't visited many dog friendly pubs in Lancashire. There are a few websites out there which given general pub reviews but not many that seem to be aimed specifically at dog owners, listing pubs that allow dogs.

The best site we've come across is http://www.doggiepubs.org.uk
Basically there are three criteria that the supporters of Doggie Pubs website give the thumbs up to:

- where good wines and beer are well kept
- where you can eat well
- where your well-behaved dog is welcome to be with you while you eat.

If you're looking for a dog friendly pub have a look at this site and, together, we can help keep an up to date list of the best dog friendly pubs in Lancashire and beyond.

http://www.doggiepubs.org.uk

Doggie Pubs supports the Border Terrier Welfare Charity http://www.borderterrierwelfare.org.uk/.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lanes and fields from Leyland Road

Much to the dog's delight we managed a walk of about an hour and a half, mainly on country lanes and footpaths this morning, without setting foot in the car. Best of all, our starting point was near to Leyland Road, only a mile or so from the centre of Preston.

We headed off on one of regular routes down Bee Lane. It's a lovely stroll, past the stables and over the cross roads, leading to a private lane and ending with a gate and stile, where the footpath leads over open fields.

After manoeuvring the dog over the stile, and keeping a watchful eye on nearby grazing cattle, we followed the path over the Penwortham Way bypass and through more open fields to a farm track which led us to Green Lane. Judging by the dog's excitement, I think the muck spreader had passed by recently but fortunately the dry weather of the past few days gave little opportunity for him to make the most of it!

Our route was completed with a circuit of Newgate Lane, Chain House Lane and Pope Lane before retracing our steps to home. Not before though the dog had launched himself into the biggest muddy puddle in sight, so ruining (for me anyway) an otherwise nice clean walk!

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 6/10

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ullswater, Glenridding to Howtown (Cumbria)

The dog wasn't happy being relegated to the hatchback for today's trip to the lakes, whilst his new found Cairn Terrier friend was allowed on its mums lap on the back seat. Eventually though ,we arrived at the main car park next to the visitor centre at Glenridding, ready for a relatively gentle wander round the lake shore to Howtown, with a return by Ullswater Steamer.

A large open field next to the Steamer Pier provided an early highlight for the dog, with not a sheep in sight he was able to had a quick run with his ball and show off some of his skills learnt at dog training school. Soon though it was time to head off along the footpath to Patterdale before crossing the head of the lake to the far bank.

The path stayed close to the shore throughout but with the risk of sheep at lambing time, the dog was pretty much on the lead throughout. Each time we dropped through the trees and low level crags to the rocky shoreline the dog went frantic, longing for an ice cold swim. It wasn't to be though and after about three and a half hours we arrived at the steamer pier at Howtown, ending with a rather rushed final half mile whilst we walked and watched the steamer getting closer and closer to the pier. All ended well though and we arrived just as the passengers were embarking for the return to Glenridding.

The day was rounded off with a pub lunch at the Travellers Rest at Glenridding. The pub is set back about 600 yards from the main road but is well recommended. It's not listed as "dog friendly" but the landlord was quite happy to let the dogs join us in the bar area. The surroundings were simple and a roaring fire and good pub grub were just what was needed. Had we been really wet and bedraggled there was a good sheltered area which could have been a godsend.

Click here for the Ullswater Steamers website

Click here for the Travellers Rest website

Doggy rating 6/10 (because there were relatively few places where we felt able to let him off the lead)

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Watermill Inn at Ings (Cumbria)

After yesterday mornings jaunt round Lostock Hall and Farington Moss we decided that we'd earnt a luch out, so it was off in the car up to the Lakes to try out the Watermill Inn at Ings.

Ings is one of those places that we've driven past hundreds of times on the way to Windermere or Ambleside, occasionally stopping at the garage to stock up on food or to buy a forgotten map (we must have at least four copies of the Landranger South Eastern Fells Map!). We did know that the Watermill, which lies just off the main road at Ings, between Kendal and Windermere, had a good reputation and has been a "dog friendly pub" award winner in past years. Yesterday we decided to stop off and give it a try.

In short, the dog loved it, and so did we. The large left hand bar doesn't just allow dogs, they are postively welcomed with a bowl of water and biscuits served at the table - fantastic service! The selection of real ales was admired by Dogs Dad, who was unfortunately driving so didn't have chance to sample them, and the bar menu was superb. The Cumberland Sausage and Lamb Shank were great. The locals we spoke to clearly loved their dogs, even pointing out the pictures of them on the wall by the bar, and were very welcoming.

The walk up the gated road next to the pub provides for some gentle exercise after you, and your dog, have over indulged.

Well worth a visit. We'll definately return.

Probably the best dog friendly pub we've visited, certainly the best in the the North West.

Doggy rating 10/10

http://www.watermillinn.co.uk/

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Farington Lodges

Farington Lodges are tucked away in Farington Moss, close to Lostock Hall. The lodges themselves are fairly small, with a couple of tree lined footpaths leading alongside the banks, and adjacent to the railway tracks, for half a mile or so. The lodges probably aren't worth a special visit but of you live locally it's a nice addition to your walk.

Todays early morning visit got us there just before the first of the fishermen arrived so the dog had a good run off-lead. If you visit during the daytime though, keep your dog clear of any fishermen on the banks.

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 5/10

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Roddlesworth Woods (Again)

We spend another Sunday morning at Roddlesworth but, for a change, parked up at Abbey Village rather than our usual spots on the road leading from Tockholes.

The approach from Abbey Village led us on small road across the dam of the lower reservoir where we observed the signs and the dog stayed on the lead, past the farmhouse and stables and over the bridge to the middle reservoir.

From here we crossed the dam and wandered fairly aimlessly along some of the smaller woodland tracks, looking for an elusive woodpecker that could be heard, but not seen, for a good stretch of todays walk.

Eventually, we found ourselves near the Vistors Centre before heading back down to the upper reservoir and across the dam to return on the far bank to near our starting point. Not before though the dog had gatecrashed a party of three other better behaved dogs and attempted to steal the various balls that they were playing with.

After a couple of hours of off lead walking we found ourselves back at the car, with a tired a muddy dog as usual. Such fun!

As always, a great place to walk the dog.

Doggy rating 9/10

Monday, February 25, 2008

Looking for a dog walker?

Like many people we go to work on most weekdays so it was really important for us to find someone completely trustworthy and reliable to take our dog out for walks at lunchtime. Of course if you only want someone to drop in occasionally you could ask a neighbour or friend but we needed more than that. We needed to know that whoever was entrusted with visiting and walking the dog was not only 100% reliable, but also that that they cared about what they were doing and were completely trustworthy.

Since our dog was about 12 weeks old, a local family business called Home Comfort Pets Visiting Service, owned and run by husband and wife team Chis and Martin, have provided just such a service. Chris, Martin, or one of their small number of carefully selected staff have never let us, or more importantly our dog, down. Whether we've needed them for one or five days a week, they've come whatever the weather and given the dog a good walk or, if requested, some playful fun.

If you're looking for someone reliable to walk your dog in the Preston area you don't need to look further than Home Comfort Pets Visting Service. We're happy to recommend them to anyone and judging by the dog's reaction when they call, he is too!

www.homecomfortpets.co.uk

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The 2007 Favourite Walks Poll Winner - Cuerden Valley Park

Cuerden Valley Park was voted by vistors to Preston Walkies as the best dog walk in Lancashire. Although the poll was small, Cuerden was a clear favourite for walkers and their dogs.

Cuerden is a lovely site and easily accessible, being close to the junctions of the M6, M65 and M61. The park provides loads of opportunities for off-lead walking through grass meadows and woodland as well as a wonderful stream for paddling, which acts as a magnet for dogs for miles around.

I think it's our dog's favourite spot too and all to often he's stubbornly refused to leave his four legged friends by the stream and join us in the walk back to the car.

The Cuerden Valley Park Trust is a registered charity, run by local people, and does not receive any monies or grants from the two local Councils or the County Council. The Trust was set up in 1986 to manage the park for the benefit of all. The park is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and welcomes everyone; there is no charge - not even for car parking.

You can help by making a donation (large or small), either as a ‘one-off’ or on an annual basis. Without it, the Park may well have to cut back on maintenance or close facilities altogether.

Click here to find out how to make a donation

Well done Cuerden and thank you for providing such a great facility! Runners up were the lovely Roddlesworth Woods and St Annes Beach. Both are well worth a visit and high up on our list of favourites.

A stroll around Spring Wood

Having kept the dog "on lead" during our trip to Dunsop Bridge we decided to stop off at the Spring Wood picnic site, just off the A671 near Whalley, for a quick run around on our return.

Although the site is small the woodland paths are plesant and we managed to find a couple of spots for a game of fetch. It took us around 20 minutes to do a circuit of the permiter path. The lower end of the site runs very close to the A671 so it's not particularly tranquil, especially after a day in the wilds near Dunsop Bridge.

The woods themselves are an example of Lancashire's "historic" woodland so it's sensible to keep to the paths and not let your dog rampage through the carpet of bluebells and wild garlic that develops every sring. Judging by the foliage already deveoping it's going to be an impressive display of colour this year so a visit in April or May would be well worthwhile.

Doggy rating 6/10

Dunsop Bridge and Middle Knoll

A day off work yesterday, and the absence of any sign of rain for what must be the 7th day running, gave us a chance to take a trip out to Bowland and try out a walk from Dunsop Bridge. The spot always seems to be the subject to "sunday stroll" write-ups, but it's not a place we've visted before.

Our route took us from the small car park in the centre of the village, past the post office and right up the tarmacked track on the east side of the river. The route ran through fields full of sheep, so it was leads all the way and a chance to put recent heelwork training in to practice.

After half a mile or so we reached a small bridge across the river, and joined the road leading past various water treatment works to the foot of Middle Knoll. Here, we turned left and followed a footpath round the base of the Knoll and down to Whitendale. The route was boggy at times and more than once the dog found himself being dragged out of belly deep smelly black mud before being allowed to paddle in the ice cold Whitendale River in a vain effort to clean him up again.

After some lunch we followed the river back to the water treatment works and returned by the same route back to Dunsop bridge. The fact that that the dog was on the flexi-lead all the way did give us the chance to perfect his "downs" from a distance and by the time we reached the end of the road I could almost get him to drop when carrying his ball - no mean feat!

All in all, this was a nice walk albeit without any off-lead opportunities because of the many sheep and upland birds nesting. I'm sure the dog didn't begrudge the lack of total freedom and we did stop off at Spring Woods (see next post) for a good run on the way back.

Doggy rating 6/10

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Haigh Hall and the Plantations

Finally the rain has stopped, at least temporarily, and we enjoyed the first decent sunshine of 2008. Today's trip took us to Haigh Hall County Park, near Wigan.

We parked at the main car park, and got a slight shock to find it was a pay and display. At £1.50 for the day it's not bad but we had to copper up for the parking meter.

Having gained a map of the park from the helpful information centre and shop, our route took us past the cafe and childrens play area towards the walled garden and onwards to the woodland trails. Once the dog was safely away from the play area it was pure off-lead doggy heaven with over 2 hours of "fetch", "find the ball" and "catch me if you want the ball back!". We followed several tracks down the hill, traversing the paved "road" that runs through the park and ultimately over the Leeds Liverpool canal and disused railway line before following the road down to the bridge over the river Douglas. Here, we turned right and followed its banks for a short way before our path led us back up the hill, to the top of Hall Lane, and to the bridge over the old railway. Once again, we took a series of tracks through the woods and back to the Hall.


View Larger Map

The park was busy, with plenty of other dogs to play with. Our only word of caution would be to watch for the many cyclists who also enjoy the park as well as the hoards of ramblers eating sandwiches, which you know your dog would just love to steal. If you stay of the paved road as much as possible you should be fine.

Well worth a vist! Doggy rating 8/10