Since introducing Skitters into our life we’ve walked many miles, both near and far. The daily walks don’t vary much – I normally take her out along the sea front to Hove Lawns for her morning walk, Richard usually takes her out to the St Nicholas Rest Garden at lunchtime and early evenings. It is the weekend walks and holiday walks which have the promise of adventure.
We have an ever increasing collection of OS Maps now. When we’re planning a trip away somewhere, first on the shopping list is a new one. We’ve replaced our local one with a weatherproof version as we’d worn a hole through the first one due to too many rainy outings. We’ve become quite adept at spotting circular walks although still sometimes fail to work out the gradients – like on our first day in the Lake District when this nice gentle stroll we’d spotted took us up and over a fell.
Driving With Dogs is a website that Richard discovered one day. It lists dog walks from motorway junctions or services, allowing you to take a break, and take the dog for a wander in something more inspiring than a housing estate, industrial estate or service station. We’ve used quite a few of these walks, some are more “our kind of walks” than others, but they’ve all saved us the time and effort of trying to work something out ourselves.
Pocket Pub Walks East Sussex (Pocket Pub Walks) and Pocket Pub Walks West Sussex (Pocket Pub Walks) both contain walks of between 2.5 and 5.5 miles around East Sussex or West Sussex (as appropriate). All are circular and start/end at a pub. The guide also mentions whether the pub is dog or child friendly – the addition of this information is what prompted me to buy them in the first place. The books are small enough to fit into big pockets, and contain clear directions which mean you don’t necessarily need the OS Map as well. Every county needs these kind of books, especially the ones I holiday in. Finding out if a pub is dog friendly is often quite tricky, although DOGGIE PUBS and dog friendly do give a few clues but working out a walk that ties in with a good dog-friendly pub at the end is hard to work out when you’re unfamiliar with a place.
If any other dog walkers stumble across this post and have some other useful resources to share, please leave us a comment. Thanks!
Last November I blogged about the dog friendliness of a couple of places we stopped on our drive from Brighton to Hull, and back again.
We did the same trip again this Easter, and stopped at 2 completely different places but using a similar strategy to last time – avoiding motorway services.
On Good Friday we stopped north of Peterborough in the village of Elton and did a 7.5km circular walk from Elton to Nassington and back. It was inspired by a walk named Elton to Yarwell and Nassington which I found when looking for walks around Peterborough.
It was a very pleasant walk, following along the Nene way for some of the walk. There were no amenities where we parked, but we drove past a pub on entry to the village though I don’t know if it was dog-friendly or not.
On Easter Monday we headed down around Cambridgeshire and stopped at the pretty market town of Saffron Walden. We parked at the free long-stay car park near the football ground, and managed a 5km circular walk following the walk entitled Park and Gardens Walk, again found on the internet.
Another pleasant stroll, combining parkland and town streets. The Bridge End Gardens looked very nice but weren’t dog friendly so we didn’t investigate. The Audley End Park area was very pleasant and worth a stroll. We spotted a few pubs, cafes, tea rooms etc during our walk and would hope that at least one of them would be dog friendly, but we didn’t stop and find out.
So, as with last time, 2 very different places and 2 very different walks. The Elton walk was more like our normal hikes around fields and countryside, whilst the Saffron Walden walk was much more town and street based.
Last weekend we visited my parents in Hull. Rather than breaking the journey up at Motorway Services we planned in stops at places which had dog-walking potential. So, armed with a road atlas, and an idea that we wanted to stop between Cambridge and Peterborough, we identified and tried a couple of spots which were only just off the route we travel.
We stopped at Graftham Water on our way up to Hull on Friday afternoon. From wikipedia:
Grafham Water (TL 150 680) is a reservoir with a circumference of about 10 miles (16 km). It is located between the villages of Grafham and Perry in the English county of Cambridgeshire (Huntingdonshire District).
We parked in the car park near Perry, paid our £2, made use of the amenities (toilets, cafe etc) and managed a reasonable walk
On the return trip we stopped at Monks Wood. From Natural England:
Monks Wood NNR is one of the best examples of ancient ash-oak woodland in the East Midlands.
There is no car park as such, but there is parking in a layby off the B1090. There are also no amenities. But, there are a couple of marked walks – we followed Butterfly amongst all the trees, stopping for a spot of dog distraction training (lots of interesting smells that a certain young dog was fixated by).
So, 2 very different walks, both much better places to stop than at a Service station. The amenities at Graftham Water were really good but cost us £2 for parking whilst the walk was better at Monks Wood, we got free parking but had to stop at a Little Chef for toilets and cafe.