Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Saturday, September 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