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.

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