It might be cold, wet and frosty, but winter still has its charms – as anyone who’s seen their dog frolic in a fresh fall of snow will agree. And as long as you’re wrapped up warm, braving the outdoors during these dark months doesn’t have to be so bad. In fact, we think these seven dog walks are all the better for the crisp air and chilly breezes…
- SEVEN SISTERS & BIRLING GAP, SUSSEX
There’s a bracing coastal walk to be had along the South Downs Way, which follows the shore from Birling Gap to BelleTout Lighthouse. The views are stunning, and depending on how you plan your route, you can start or end with a log fire at the 15th centuryTiger Inn in East Dean.
2. WEST WITTERING, WEST SUSSEX
One of the best bits about winter is that the summer restrictions on dogs-on-beaches are lifted. Your pooch can run free at this sandy beach, although we’d recommend staying out of the icy waves.
3. PARKLAND WALK, LONDON
Once a railway line, Parkland Walk is now London’s longest nature reserve – stretching almost three miles. It’s worth braving the cold for, with its abundance of trees and wildlife and its hidden Spriggan sculpture by artist Marilyn Collins.
4. HACKNEY MARSHES, LONDON
5. MIDDLESEX FILTER BEDS, LONDON
Once an industrial area, this ten-acre section of the Lee Valley is now home to 60 different species of bird as well as toads, frogs, newts and dragonflies – plenty for your dog to discover. Wanderers might be able to discover the giant granite throne that’s hidden among the filter beds.
6. BOX HILL, SURREY
Few things warm you up more on a winter’s day than a hike up a hill. This one’s well worth the effort for its expansive views across the North Downs. Cold hands? Heat them up with a good cuppa from the nearby Box Hill cafe.
7. POLESDON LACEY, SURREY
This Edwardian home never looks better than when it’s had a dusting of snow, and there’s plenty of places to admire it from its 1,400 acres of grounds. You can ramble across the ancient woodland, or head to Ranmore Common if it’s scenic views you’re after.