Where can I walk my dog this summer?
After so long being stuck in the same old place doing the same old walks, getting the chance to travel around the UK suddenly seems like the ultimate in staycation luxury. And, if you’ve got a canine chum, being out and about is always double the fun. We take a look at some of the best places around the country to walk the dog – from seaside saunters and rambles in the forest, to ambles around stylish country estates. Plus, before you embark on an exciting doggy day out, check out our essential health and safety tips.
First things first
You and your dog may be keen to get away, but don’t leave home until you’ve done the following:
- Packed a rucksack of essentials including poop bags, water, bowl, spare lead, snacks (canine and human), waterproof jacket, mobile phone, a map and a compass (lots of remote locations are out of signal range)
- Put together a basic first aid kit for yourself with plasters for blisters, antihistamines and sun cream, and one for your dog, with a roll of crepe bandage, some non-adhesive absorbent dressings, surgical sticky tape, blunt ended scissors, tweezers and tick hook. Find more top tips, plus advice on following the Forest Dog Code >>
- Bookmarked your phone with websites of local vets for when you are away from home, such as Find a Vet
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...
Embleton Bay, Northumberland
This long stretch of golden sand, overlooked by the eerie ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, is one of the cleanest and most unpopulated beaches in the UK. Set within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, BBC’s Countryfile Magazine readers voted it the best beach in the UK 2017. With its secluded sand dunes and enticing rock pools, dogs will love it too. Find out more >>
Harlyn Bay, Cornwall
There are several dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall, with crescent-shaped Harlyn Bay considered one of the best. The combination of golden sand, dunes and tide pools means there’s plenty for your canine chum to explore, plus there are delightful walks from the beach to Mother Ivey’s Bay and Trevose Head. Find out more >>
Balnakeil Beach, Durness, the Highlands
With its white sands, rolling grassy dunes and turquoise waters, Balnakeil, in the very north of Scotland, boasts stunning views at every turn and is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. Often deserted, there are endless opportunities to explore this wild and beautiful location with just your four-legged friend by your side. Find out more >>
Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales
This coastal gem was named by TripAdvisor as one of the best beaches in the UK, and the 11th best beach in the world. It’s also a must-visit destination for dog owners – The Times even nominated Rhossili Bay as ‘The UK's No 1 dog-friendly beach’. With its bracing Atlantic swell and stunning views, you may even spy some basking seals or dolphins playing in the surf as you stride along its three miles of sandy shore with your dog at your heels. Find out more >>
Ballycastle Beach, County Antrim
The traditional seaside town of Ballycastle is located on the Causeway Coast Route of Antrim, not far from the Giant’s Causeway and Glens of Antrim and Rathlin. It’s also home to a fine stretch of sandy beach, which runs from Ballycastle’s marina all the way to the popular fishing spot of Pans Rocks just over a mile away. Dogs are allowed throughout the year, but must be kept on a lead during the summer. Find out more >>
When is it too hot to walk your dog? Check out our summer pet safety tips to help your furry friends remain cool, calm and comfortable.
STAY SAFE AT THE BEACH BY FOLLOWING THIS ADVICE:
- 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
Speech House Woods, Coleford, Forest of Dean
This is a pleasant two-and-a-half-mile circular forest walk between Coleford and Cindeford. It combines fantastic forest scenery with very gentle inclines, so is ideal for older dogs or those that can’t go too far such as puppies or flat-faced breeds likes Bulldogs and Pugs. Find out more >>
Bellever Forest, Devon
This lovely forest in the heart of Dartmoor provides four-legged friends with both a runabout in the woods and the chance for a paddle or swim in the East Dart river. Four waymarked trails provide routes for every ability of dog walker – and dog, with plenty of places to picnic and watch the wild Dartmoor ponies. If you’re both energetic types, you can climb to the top of Bellever Tor. Find out more here >>
Big Dog Forest, County Fermanagh
If the name of this location isn’t enough to draw you in, then take a look at what’s on offer. Big Dog and Little Dog are two hills that are named after the Irish Wolfhounds belonging to the legendary giant Finn MacCool. Follow the two-and-a-half-mile Big Dog walk and explore some of Fermanagh’s best upland landscapes and the Big Dog forest, which is home to red deer, herons and dragonflies. Find out more >>
Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Grizedale offers a magical forest experience in the Lake District World Heritage Site that’s perfect for adventurers. You can plan a walk of up to 10 miles through woodland paths, up streams and along rocky trails – and even discover sculptures along the way. If you and your very active dog (Border Collies, Lurchers and Labradors may be up for the challenge) are after a wild day out, this is the place for you. Find out more >>
Jeskyns Community Woodland, Cobham, Kent
Jeskyns is home to 360 acres of newly planted woodlands, meadows and orchards. There’s a good network of surfaced walking trails, a Fairy and Elf Village, café and – most importantly – a dog activity trail, where your canine pal can tunnel, weave and balance their way along the route. Fun for all dogs, but particularly those who adore agility – such as Spaniels, Collies, Jack Russell Terries and Shetland Sheepdogs. Find out more >>
Follow Blue Cross's top tips for trouble-free forest adventures:
- 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
- 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
- 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
GRAND TOURS OF COUNTRY ESTATES
An imposing Jacobean mansion and ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a magnificent garden and historic park in the beautiful Bure meadows. With more than 4,600 acres to wander about in, Blickling's parkland is the perfect spot for interesting walkies. The four-and-a-half mile circular route is fascinating for both humans and canines alike as it takes you past Long Plantation, Great Wood, the Tower, Brickyard and Mausoleum. Find out more >>
With over 300 acres of woodlands, riverbank and formal gardens to explore, Cliveden offers a varied selection of dog-friendly walking trails to suit all abilities. There’s even a handy dog walk map that you can download to plan your route. Dogs are welcome off lead in the woodlands, provided they are kept under close control. Find out more >>
Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Clumber Park has always been a place where dogs can have a good time – indeed the Clumber Spaniel breed was developed here when the park was home to the Dukes of Newcastle. You and your doggy companion can enjoy a delightful six-mile walk through woodland and heathland along the border of the Ducal Estates Of Clumber and Thoresby, which avoids areas of the park that may contain grazing livestock. Find out more >>
Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, North Yorkshire
Surrounded by parkland, with riverside and woodland walks on all sides, Beningbrough Hall has an intriguing past. From the wealthy teenager who inherited it, to the hall’s use as an RAF billet, Beningbrough has been shaped for more than 300 years by the people who lived here. Dogs are welcome in the parkland with miles of paths to explore. Ask for a parkland walks leaflet when you get to admissions. Find out more >>
Greys Court, Oxfordshire
Set in the rolling hills of the Chilterns, the estate grounds are full of wooded parkland and rambling walks, just waiting to be investigated by waggy-tailed explorers. Follow the red arrows through the farmland and beech woods and you’ll be delighted to discover that this two-mile walk is stile-free, which is really helpful if you have a large breed such as a Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound or Bernese Mountain Dog. As you may come across different types of wildlife and grazing farm animals it’s best to keep dogs on a lead. Find out more >>
The National Trust asks visitors to keep their dogs under close control, which it outlines as follows:
- 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 a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.
At Burgess, all our dog foods are made using premium ingredients to ensure excellent quality and superior taste to help keep your dog happy and healthy – from puppy, to adult and senior. We’ve also developed foods to meet the specific nutritional needs of working dogs, Greyhounds and Lurchers, and dogs with sensitivities. And we’re very proud of our Paul O'Grady's 'No Nasties' dog food range, which comes in Hypoallergenic and Grain Free varieties and is, in Paul's words: “the best food you can feed your dogs.”
All Burgess dog food is a complete food. This means, whatever variety you choose for your dog, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.
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