Walk this way!

The merry month of May, which happens to be National Walking Month, is the perfect time to explore the UK’s treasure trove of top walking spots with your trusty canine companion by your side. From beach rambles to forest trails and intriguing historical sites, we’ve 21 dog-friendly location ideas to inspire you…
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30th May 2024

Walking is brilliant. You can do it alone, or with a friend, go at your own pace, and enjoy it just about anywhere. As the National Walking Month promoter Living Streets states: “Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve our health and stay connected to our community, helping us feel less lonely and isolated.”

This year, the charity is asking people to discover the #MagicOfWalking and share what makes walking magical to them.

If you have a dog, then the answer is right there. What better way to spend your time than out and about, strolling along with your best furry friend by your side, discovering new sights, sounds and smells (which is especially important for your canine chum!).

Where shall I wander?

Whether you and your canine companion enjoy a gentle stroll or prefer a hearty hike, there are all manner of beautiful locations around the UK to choose from. And, if you’re looking for some walking inspiration, then we have 21 great ideas for you.

How often should you walk your dog? While all dogs need daily exercise, how much depends on their breed, age, health and even their personality >> 


PLANNING FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRIP

Before you set off on a walking adventure, make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities...

  • Pack a rucksack of essentials including poop bags, water, bowl, spare lead, dry dog food that will stay fresh, snacks (canine and human), waterproof jacket, mobile phone, a map and a compass (lots of remote locations are out of signal range).
  • A well-fitting harness can be a valuable addition to your dog’s kit – not only does it offer you more control if you hit a sticky situation (you don’t want your dog slipping out of their collar and making a run for it if they get spooked by something), wearing a harness makes it easier to haul them out of trouble, for example, if they accidently slip down a bank into a river.
  • Be wary of extendable leads. Although these can provide dogs with a little more freedom while remaining on a leash, which is required at some locations, they can also result in all manner of injuries. For example, they can yank a dog's neck if they suddenly run out of lead while sprinting at speed, which can be damaging to the neck muscles or cause serious injury, while also jolting your shoulder and back. A traditional long-line lead will allow your dog more a little more liberty, while enabling you to keep control.
  • Consider investing in a GPS dog tracker. These attach to your dog’s collar and can be paired with a smartphone app to accurately monitor their location if they get lost.
  • Put together a basic first aid kit for yourself with plasters for blisters, antihistamines and sun cream, and a kit for your dog, with a roll of crepe bandage, some non-adhesive absorbent dressings, surgical sticky tape, blunt ended scissors, tweezers and tick hook. 
  • Bookmark your phone with websites of local vets for when you are away from home, such as Find a Vet.
  • Ensure both you and your dog are fit enough to tackle the route you’ve chosen. If you walk for a couple of hours together every day, then you should be able to tackle a five-to-10-mile route. If your walking routine generally consists of a couple of half-hour strolls, then something closer to three to four miles will likely be far enough. If you’ve any concerns about your canine chum’s fitness, have a chat with your vet.
  • Most dogs always want to please their owners and will keep faithfully padding along beside you, even if they’re finding the going tough. Watch your dog closely for signs of discomfort and if they start panting heavily or slow right down, it’s time to let them have a long rest before turning tail and heading back to base.

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside...

With the sea breeze in your hair and soothing ocean sounds in your ears, a ramble along the coast delivers a welcome wellbeing boost – and a whole lot of sandy, splashy fun for your canine buddy. 

And, with a coastline of 11,073 miles in the UK, according to the Ordnance Survey, there’s plenty of choice. However, not all coastal areas are accessible, particularly if you have a dog in tow. Before you choose somewhere by the sea to explore, research the area first to make sure it’s open to the public and there are no restrictions on dogs in place.

Veterinary charity PDSA has some great dog friendly-beach suggestions, which include:

  • Par Sands, St Austell, Cornwall, is a lovely sandy beach surrounded by sand dunes that’s ideal for having a paddle in the sea and is understandably a popular choice with dog walkers.
  • Holkham Beach, Norfolk, near Holkham National Nature Reserve, is a beautiful stretch of unspoiled, sandy scenery where dogs are welcome all year round.
  • Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland, is a pristine, sandy beach backed by sand dunes, near the imposing Bamburgh Castle, that’s ideal for a long, windswept walk.
  • St Bees Beach, Cumbria, is a mile-long shingle and sand beach which is perfect at low tide for long walks.
  • Monkstone Beach, Wales, between Tenby and Saundersfoot, is a sandy beach with rockpools, just right for a play and a paddle. At low tide, you might even be able to walk from Monkstone to Saundersfoot along the shore.
  • Lunan Bay, Angus, Scotland is a stunning beach backed by sand dunes. There’s lots to explore, including a cave and ruined castle.
  • Ballycastle Beach, Northern Ireland, is a sandy beach located on the Causeway Coast Route on the Antrim Coast that features a picturesque promenade at one end.

Find dog-friendly beaches near you >>

***TOP TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE AT THE BEACH***

  • Check the tide times, look out for warning flags (a white circle with a red line through it or a red flag means neither you nor your dog should swim) and the size of the waves.
  • Sea breezes can make the weather feel deceptively cool, so ensure you protect your dog from heatstroke by making sure they have plenty of shade to sit in and fresh water to drink. Avoid visiting the beach during the hottest part of the day and head home if your dog has had enough.
  • Broken glass or sharp objects can be hidden in the sand or amongst pebbles. If your pet steps on them they could cut the pad on their foot.
  • Some types of jellyfish can give a nasty sting to people and dogs, so check the water before swimming and don't let your dog sniff around any jellyfish washed up on the shore.
  • Swallowing sand can cause stomach problems for your dog as it can compact in their stomach and cause a blockage. Choose toys that pick up less sand – for example, a Frisbee will pick up less sand than a fuzzy tennis ball.
  • Don’t let your dog munch on seaweed. Dried seaweed expands when it’s eaten, and seaweed stalks can cause a blockage in your dog's stomach requiring an operation to remove it.
  • Drinking seawater can give your dog a nasty bout of diarrhoea and may make them seriously ill. Stop them drinking from rock pools or puddles and always take plenty of fresh water with you.
  • If you’re walking your dog on a cliff, stick close to the path and pay extra attention to signs warning of crumbling cliff edges. If you’re walking below a cliff, stay well away from the base in case of landslips.

Most dogs love splashing about in water. However, whether it’s at the beach or along the riverbank, when it comes to water, it should always be a case of safety first >> 

 


Into the trees

A forest frolic is popular choice with dogs. Canines love to sniff new, alluringly whiffy smells, which forests are full of. For us humans, ‘forest bathing’, described by Forestry England as “observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply” helps boost health and wellbeing in a natural way.

The Woodland Trust adds: “A wander through woodland is a real treat for the senses, with different things to see, hear, smell and touch. This gives your brain lots to absorb, and each change in the weather and season will reveal something new to keep your mind alert. Being in or near the natural world is proven to reduce stress and improve wellbeing.”

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross has these fabulous forest walks suggestions:

  • Delamere Forest, Cheshire, has easy waymarked walks, one with a surfaced path for those humans or dogs who struggle with more challenging routes. Top landmark Old Pale provides great views of Liverpool’s skyline.
  • Bellever Forest, Devon, provides dogs with the opportunity for a runabout in the woods and a swim or paddle in the East Dart river. Climb up to Bellever Tor or enjoy a riverside picnic. Multiple waymarked trails provide routes for dogs and walkers of all abilities.
  • Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland, is not only England’s largest forest, but it boasts the biggest remaining red squirrel population in the country. Unless you have a dog with perfect recall, you’ll need to be ready to pop them back on the lead at the first sight of a fluffy tail! With a variety of walks of different lengths on offer, you’ll always find a quiet spot to walk your dog.
  • Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria, delivers unrivalled views across the Lake District, wonderful wildlife, including osprey to spot, and a mountain forest that makes for a fantastic dog walk. Canines are also welcome in the café.
  • Callendar Wood, Falkirk, Scotland, is a 500-year-old woodland, brimming with fascinating finds, including historic paths, a mausoleum and an Iron Age hill fort. Well-trodden paths are marked out, with an easy, accessible option taking you on a tour of the park and woods.
  • Afan Forest Park, Neath Port Talbot, has 14 waymarked circular walks, so there’s a route for everyone to enjoy as you stroll through this beautiful valley. Make your way along a disused railway line, enjoy panoramic views or explore the ruins of 18th century Gyfylchi Chapel.
  • The Tollymore River Trail and Mourne Way Circular, Northern Ireland, takes you through the scenic woodlands of Tollymore Forest Park. With a sturdy path, it’s an ideal route for an enthralling dog walk. The area was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones and, with its streams, ponds and vines dangling from the trees, you can experience the mystical feel of the forest.

Find forest walking trails near you >>

***TOP TIPS FOR TROUBLE-FREE FOREST ADVENTURES FROM BLUE CROSS***

  • Tick check – Ticks are common in woodland areas, so always check your pet and yourself after a walk – and make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccinations and parasite protection.
  • Poisonous plants awareness – forests are dense with flora and fauna, including some common poisonous plants. Keep your dog on a lead if you think they may be tempted.
  • Pick up – Don’t leave your dog’s deposits lying around causing a nuisance to others (or in a bag hanging from a tree!). Bag it and bin it later.
  • Take the lead – Sometimes the responsible thing to do is pop your dog on lead for part of your walk to keep all forest users safe and happy.
  • Total recall – Scents of forest dwelling creatures can be very enticing for dogs to follow. Training a solid recall will prevent your dog chasing wildlife and horses.

Are you going down to the woods today? It’s important to respect nature by keeping a close watch on your pet and following the Forest Dog Code >>


To the manor born

Thanks to organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust, all sorts of historic places are available to visit with your dog for some memory-making days out and wonderful walks.

  • Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, offers a lovely stroll through the impressive ruins, plus a secluded beach, perfect for picnics and a quick paddle. A place of history, myths and stunning scenery, dogs and owners alike will love exploring this coastal Cornish gem.
  • Marble Hill, London, is a beautiful Palladian villa set in 66 acres of outstanding riverside parkland near Richmond in West London. Your four-legged friend will love running around this idyllic landscape and dogs on leads are welcome in the designated dog areas of the café.
  • Audley End House and Gardens, Essex, is one of England’s grandest mansions, with acres of parkland remodelled by Capability Brown. Enjoy extensive views of the Essex countryside while you saunter along the gorgeous serpentine lake. Stop off at the dog friendly Cart Yard café.
  • Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, is among Britain’s biggest historical sites. This vast medieval fortress endured a famous siege and later became a splendid medieval palace. You and your dog can explore 900 years of history as you wander the mighty medieval keep, climb the towers to admire the views, and walk in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Northumberland, has 30 acres of enchanting gardens to explore. Follow through ravines cut out of rock to discover the Jurassic-like Quarry Garden with its own microclimate and all sorts of exotic plants.
  • Penrhyn Castle and Garden, Wales, has a tarmac trail that’s accessible for wheelchairs, scooters, pushchairs and dogs on leads. Take in the natural space and discover a diverse range of wildlife and nature that call this idyllic place home.
  • Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Estate, Yorkshire, enables you to experience time travel as you wander through the water features and the picturesque garden designs that mark significant stages in the estate's history over eight centuries from 1132 to 1987. Did you know that the origins of Burgess Pet Care can be traced back to 1649, operating from the watermill at Fountains Abbey!

Find dog friendly English Heritage locations near me >>

Find dog friendly National Trust locations near me >>

***TOP TIPS FOR TROUBLE-FREE NATIONAL TREASURES VISITS***

When visiting historic properties, it’s essential to keep a close eye on your dog. The National Trust asks visitors to follow these recommendations:

  • Recall – Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call.
  • Visibility – Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice this means. keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible.
  • Wait – Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent (Find out how to teach your dog to make a polite hello >>).
  • Lead – Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock, wildlife or you are asked to use one.

Is your dog’s training up to scratch? Are you prepared for the unexpected? Check out all the things you need to think about to ensure that you both have a wonderful time rather than a series of misadventures >>

 


When your walking adventure is over, always check your dog

Look carefully at their paws, ears, eyes, nose, tail and ‘armpit’ area. Things to look for include ticks, grass seeds, burrs, mites, twigs and thorns – anything that could cause them discomfort or, if left undiscovered, cause illness or injury. Seek veterinary advice immediately if your dog shows any signs of being unwell.

Round off the day by giving them a special treat or toy, a comfy bed to rest their paws and by telling them they’ve been a very good dog indeed! Then you can plan your next great walking adventure together...


Every dog deserves a delicious, nutritious dinner that’s just right for them

At Burgess, all our high-quality recipes have been formulated with vets and nutritionists. This ensures they contain the right balance of vitamins and minerals to help keep your dog happy and healthy. 

Burgess Pet Care is a British, family-owned company and, whichever variety you choose, you can be sure of excellent quality and superior taste – from puppy to adult and senior. We’ve also developed foods to meet the specific nutritional needs of sporting and working dogsGreyhounds and Lurchers and dogs with sensitivities.  

GOOD TO KNOW

  • COMPLETE NUTRITION Each of the recipes in the Burgess Dog Food range are complete, providing all the nutrients dogs require in the right proportions.
  • PORTION CONTROL With dry food, it’s easy to measure out the right sized portion to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.
  • HEALTHY AND SAFE The thorough cooking process ensures that any harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, and viruses are destroyed, and the dry food stays fresh inside the pack.
  • TEETH FRIENDLY Dry dog food has the added benefit of exercising your dog’s chewing muscles and provides a mild cleaning effect on the teeth.
  • MADE IN BRITAIN Crafted at Burgess Pet Care’s own factory in the heart of Yorkshire, Burgess Dog Food contains high-quality ingredients that meet stringent specifications, locally sourced wherever possible to support British farmers.

FIND OUT MORE about what nutrition your dog needs to be healthy and happy throughout their life with our comprehensive DOG & PUPPY FEEDING GUIDE >>

NEED MORE ADVICE? If you’re at all unsure about the best way to feed your dog or have any concerns about specific nutritional requirements at different times of their life, ask your local veterinary practice for advice. You can also call our expert team on 44 (0)0800 413 969 who’ll be happy to help. They’re available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can use our online form to get in touch.

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

DOG DAYS From puppy to adolescent, through to adult and senior, as your dog goes through different stages, their exercise and nutrition needs change. Find out how to help them stay happy and healthy every day of their lives...


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COUNTRYSIDE CALL BACKS Being out and about in the countryside makes having a good recall even more important. Here’s what (and what not) to do.

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HOLIDAY CARE FOR PETS – WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? If you’re going away on a much-awaited holiday, you want to know that your pets are being well looked after. So, what are the options? From buddying up with pet-owning friends to share holiday care duties, to a traditional boarding kennels or cattery, or even hiring a pet sitter – how do you decide what’s best for your pets?

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IT'S TOTALLY COOL – A SUMMER SAFETY GUIDE FOR PETS While we’re all hoping for another long, hot summer, scorching sunny days can be challenging for our furry friends. When it comes to keeping pets cool in summer, there are lots of things we can do to help.

GOOD DOG! HOW TO MAKE DOG TRAINING A SUCCESS Is your dog’s behaviour proving to be a bit of a challenge? The secret to successful training is getting to grips with dog communication and dog body language so that the two of you can really understand what you’re saying to each other.

ZOOMIES EXPLAINED Running around in circles? Mad, mid-air twists and spins? When your pet shows a flash of exuberant activity, what does it mean?

BARKING MAD? Do you have a dog who loves the sound of their own bark? While barking is part and parcel of being a dog, some canines take it to the extreme.

BACK TO DOG SCHOOL Whatever age your dog is, training should be part of their regular routine.

KEEP CALM AND CALL THE VET If your much-loved pet suddenly became unwell or suffered an injury, would you know what to do? What symptoms should you look out for that suggest the situation is serious? When should you call the vet?

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