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.

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!

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