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, 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 or 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