This selection of dog friendly walks are mostly strolls enjoyed with Hamish after his cruciate ligament operations or in his dotage. Some are more demanding; we hope you will find something suitable for you and your best friend. All are centred around a scenic location or historic site where we could enjoy an experience rather than a full day’s walking. There’s more information about one of the castles and the abbey in our dog friendly days out directory. Look through the directory to find lots more places across England to take your dog for a thought provoking visit whilst on holiday or day out. More information can be found about all but two of the walks by clicking on links attached to titles.
Flodden Field – Northumberland. Hamish walked this evocative battleground near the border between England and Scotland (just south of Coldstream) between dog friendly holiday destinations. The battle was fought on 9th September 1513 after the Scots crossed into England. They suffered a significant defeat with huge loss of life including James IV of Scotland (the last British monarch killed in action). Today there’s a car park and battlefield trail. You can stand by the memorial and gaze over the field or stroll around the trail with your dog. Either way, there’s opportunity to muse about the momentous events that took place in just a few hours all those year ago.
Helmsley Castle to Rievaulx Abbey – Yorkshire. Hamish walked ‘there and back’ between these two Yorkshire dog friendly attractions. He and his people started a full day out by visiting Helmsley Castle. It is one of the ruins left after The English Civil War but retains a good impression of what it was like before being slighted. We all enjoyed our visit to Rievaulx Abbey ruins after the ‘to’ leg of the walk. We were grateful for a rest on the picnic tables by the café – and the coffee and cakes! This is another impressive site and one can only imagine how much more so the buildings might have been if Henry VIII had not ‘dissolved’ the monasteries. The walk is through woods and on a ridge with good views. It has ‘facilities’ at both ends which benefitted Hamish (he was quite an old boy with two reconstructed knees when we walked) and his people who thoroughly enjoyed our historical explorations … and the cakes.
High Force – Hamish walked to the waterfall from the car park along one of the waymarked trails. Set in The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty in County Durham this River Tees waterfall is one of the most spectacular in England. Hamish was no youngster when we visited but he manged the paths happily, more active dogs would undoubtedly like to explore further than we did. If you are making a family day out it may be best to visit in summer months as the toilets and other facilities at the car park should be open. In winter months, the car park will be open (with an honesty box for charges) but everything else may be locked … but the force could be truly amazing when the Tees is in full flood. Hamish visited during his dog friendly B&B stay at Burnside Brace Guest House in Stanhope.
Reekie Linn – Hamish walked this short but demanding route to see one of Scotland’s easiest to access waterfalls. This won’t be for the faint hearted as there are considerable drops close to the path on the way to see the falls. Hamish was no longer in the first flush of life when we walked and had no difficulty so most walkers shouldn’t have too much trouble unless fearful of heights. Hamish was off lead quite a bit of the way but by then he was not too speedy; in his younger days he would have needed be on his lead most of the way. The waterfalls (there are actually two joined when the River Isla is in full spate) are well worth a visit but keep your pet and children safe near the edge of the gorge.
Plodda Falls – This is another family and dog friendly location blessed with an impressive 150 foot plus waterfall. The car park is situated along a long rough track some distance from the Scottish Highlands village of Tomich. Some patient driving will be required but your dogs and children will appreciate the woodland walks as well as the stunning waterfall. Hamish walked one of the waymarked trails to experience the beauty of Scotland’s countryside – so easily missed if your main reason for visiting The Highlands is to bag Monros.
Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall and Loch Skene – Dumfries & Galloway. Hamish walked this way back in 2004 during a dog friendly self catering holiday in Scotland, South and Borders. Seen from the road one can understand how this long cascade gained its name as the white frothy stream falls from Loch Skene down the Moffat Hills. Sometimes described as a hanging valley this is a stimulating if steep walk. Some care is needed especially if your dog is excitable. On lead walking is recommended. Our walk took us to the top of the waterfall and back but you could extend it around Loch Skene to explore more of this part of The Southern Uplands with your dogs.
Blue Pool – You will need the map to find this beautiful spot, it’s Outdoor Leisure 23 (Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid). Murphy was staying in Y Popty, one of Pentre Bach’s dog friendly holiday homes (see also our dog friendly holiday cottage listing for Gwynedd). We walked from our self catering accommodation via The Wales Coast Path but a shorter route can be taken from Fairbourne and Friog. The pool is in a deeply cut hollow, part of the disused Goleuwern Slate Quarry. The low and narrow tunnel that gives access to the pool is hidden away on a level area to the west of The Wales Coast Path. There are no signs so you will need your map reading skills – or to keep a close eye on your GPS – to find it. Once you have gone through the tunnel, often running with water, you’ll find the inside of the old quarry workings and the serene pool. We ate lunch here and soaked up the atmosphere before retracing our steps to Llwyngwril. We scrambled up a fence line and through trees on the way back to get stunning views of the pool and into the quarry. A stiff climb and, if you don’t like sheer drops, stay away from the edge at the top; you’ll need to make sure your dog doesn’t venture off the edge!
Symonds Yat – Hamish came here way back in 2002. We parked in The Forestry Commission car park and combined a view from the rock with a longer walk in The Forest of Dean and along the River Wye banks to Symonds Yat East (a steady climb up from there to the rock). The views from the rock are well worth the effort at any time of year but in the bird nesting season you may find the RSPB providing views of Peregrines nesting. If you’re lucky you’ll see them fly … the Peregrines, not the RSPB! At any time of year the views of the bend in the River Wye are a delight – but perhaps not of too much interest to your dog – on the other hand your canine pal may be excited by scents of wild boar said to live in this part of the forest (take care).
Valley of The Rocks – Hamish walked the linked route whilst staying with one of our then dog friendly hotel advertisers (sadly when holiday accommodation changes hands new owners don’t always maintain the same policies but other dog friendly hotels in Devon can be found here). Hamish’s route was fine for dogs but care will be needed when you encounter the feral goats as you almost certainly will near The Valley of the Rocks. Both the rocks and coast provide fabulous views with sea vistas of Wales on good days. Even the cricket ground is picturesque nestling on the landward side of the Rocks. Murphy walked a similar route from a car park almost opposite the old cemetery in 2016. He was very interested in the goats so if you have an excited dog it will be important to have him or her on a lead well before you reach the Rocks … and along the cliff path.
Corfe Castle and Church Knowle circular – Both Lottie and Murphy walked this nearly eight miles route in Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck. Near the end we enjoyed views of Corfe Castle, one of the most haunting castle ruins in England. Along the way you’ll find an information board commemorating the activities of The Creech Barrow Seven, a group of volunteers who served in Churchill’s Auxiliary Units around Church Knowle. The castle stood on a steep hill in a gap in the ridge and as such dominated the valley in a strong position. The English Civil War put an end to its long history as a fortification after a siege by Parliament overcame its small band of defenders as much by deception as by force of arms. As well as these opportunities to reflect on England’s history you and your dogs will be treated to good views of the Dorset countryside. Once back at Corfe Castle village there are places to eat with your dog and we believe the castle ruins are dog friendly too (National Trust). We stayed with our dogs in a holiday cottage in Corfe and there are lots of self-catering holiday properties in our Dorset directory.
Durdle Door – DogPeople’s directors walked this route ‘dog-less’ as Hamish (bless him) was just too old at the time. We walked from The Castle Inn, a ‘Top Dog’ pub. Our route used West Lulworth Country Trail and took us to the famous Durdle Door on the Dorset coast. A diversion would allow you to go to Lulworth Cove too but we needed to get back for Hamish, and the cove was on our agenda for another time during our stay. The very dog friendly Castle Inn is well worth a visit in its own right with its 16th Century thatched architecture, huge range of ciders and warm welcome for dogs … and their owners; perfect for a meal and relax with your dog.