In July 2014, I brought home 11 week old Millie – a black Labrador. She was extremely bouncy, friendly, happy and, even better, had already house trained herself.
In the first year, as per advice, we didn’t go on any long walks. But since then, we walk two and a half to three hours a day and have had a number of dog-friendly holidays in the U.K. This blog tells you all about them, and hopefully will help you in your choice of dog-friendly trips.
We are lucky enough to live close to Roundhay Park, in Leeds, and generally walk there twice a day because Millie and I both love it. There are maps close to most of the entrances to the park and signposts throughout, so it is fairly easy to find your way around.
Ram Wood and The Gorge are brilliant for off-lead dog walking – there are squirrels and rabbits (Millie’s personal favourites) and plenty of opportunities for running, jumping and paddling. There are usually other dogs around here too, which can be great for a bit of a play and general socialisation.
Walking round the larger lake (Waterloo Lake) is lovely, but it can get very busy, particularly on weekends. However if it is busy, on the far side of the lake there are paths that go up through the woods. They go above the main path, and you can often walk along here without meeting anyone else. This is particularly nice as you can come across evidence of the original estate, such as an old Victorian shelter. Unfortunately, there are no dog-friendly cafes or pubs in or close to the park – although sitting outside the Lakeside cafe is lovely and fairly sheltered, you wouldn’t want to do it in winter. There are a couple of bars in nearby Oakwood that allow dogs, although I’ve never gone in myself (the Stew and Oyster, Prestons and The White House).
Another fairly local walk we like is on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. We will normally park just off the Leeds outer ring road at Rodley, and walk to Apperley Bridge and back. There are points where Millie has to go on the lead – most notably where the railway comes very close to the path. There is a fence, but I am just too scared to let her loose at this point.
The woods at Temple Newsam are another great off-lead walk. You can park on Bullerthorpe Lane (look out for other cars parked at the side of the road) and there are footpaths leading through the woods, which are very quiet. Alternatively you can walk to the main avenue, which is busier but gives a great view of the house. There are also options to park by the Temple Newsam house itself – from here, you can walk round the extensive parkland.
We stayed in Malham for a few days in May 2015 at the lovely, dog-friendly Beck Hall. It’s a great location for the village and for walking to the famous Malham Cove and surrounding area.
We’ve been to Malham many times, but never with a dog, and it became apparent that it wasn’t the ideal location for a very lively, energetic 13 month old working Labrador! There seemed to be loose livestock everywhere and, of course, it was very busy. An older dog or one that walks quietly on the lead would be fine, but Millie just wanted to chase after everything and we soon found out that she had a thing for ducks!
The one place where we could relax was the walk to Janet’s Foss. From the village, it’s signposted along the side of the river and across a footbridge. You have to go through a number of fields (many with sheep) but eventually you go through a gate, with the National Trust motif and into a lovely wood. At the end is a beautiful waterfall. We did this walk a number of times over our couple of days in Malham, and it was always pretty busy. But we thought, when we set out at 6am because Millie had woken early, that we would have the walk to ourselves – that wasn’t the case!
Beck Hall hadn’t opened their bistro when we stayed and so we ate at the Lister Arms – they served lovely food and were very dog-friendly.
Have you got any dog-friendly travel experiences or tips? Feel free to share in the comments!
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