Being a pooch parent comes with many perks (free hugs and unconditional love to name a few) but having your own devoted walking companion has got to be high on the list. We know that dog owners are more active and have healthier hearts than their dog-less counterparts, which comes down to the many miles you cover together.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of breathtaking places to explore with your hound. From rugged coastline to rolling meadows and lush valleys to windswept mountain tops, the UK has an embarrassingly rich array of natural beauty to enjoy.
Wondering where to start? We have teamed up with Canine Cottages, the home of truly pet friendly holiday homes, to bring you six of the UK’s most scenic walking routes.
*We have worked with our carefully chosen partner Canine Cottages to bring you this post.
1. Scotney Castle, High Weald – 2 miles
High Weald is a region so beautiful it has inspired a number of great writers including A.A. Milne and Rudyard Kipling – the latter who made it his home until his death in 1936. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which spans across Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent, has plenty for the two and four-legged to explore.
A highlight is Scotney Castle, a National Trust property which boasts a 14th-century moated castle, country house, walled garden and estate. Here you will find over 700 acres to explore with your pup (with the exception of the house, where dogs are not permitted). You and your dog can enjoy a gentle two-mile walk through the grounds, taking in The River Bewl as it meanders by, then enjoy a rest and a cuppa at the tearoom where dogs are welcome in the outdoor seated area. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/scotney-castle
Where to stay: Our pick is the charming Vista Sul Mar in St. Leonard’s On Sea. This dog friendly cottage is positioned right by the seaside with easy access to Hastings and its local cafes, shops and restaurants, and only a short drive to High Weald.
2. Crickhowell to Table Mountain, Brecon Beacons – 4.5 miles
The Brecon Beacons are famed for their immense beauty, which makes this a perfect area to explore with your canine companion. Start in the picturesque town of Crickhowell where you can expect to see a ruined Norman castle and a 14th-century Church. From here you head towards all 451m of the imposing Table Mountain. At the peak you can enjoy breathtaking views — looking west, you have the lush Usk Valley, and behind you, the brooding Black Mountains. Visit www.breconbeacons.org
Where to stay: Our pick is Starlight Cottage, a dog friendly holiday home situated on a working organic farm in the beautiful Black Mountains. Take in the uninterrupted scenery, visit Hay-on-Wye, or head out to explore this stunning region on foot.
3. Old Man of Coniston, Lake District – 5.5 miles
For those who want to get the blood pumping with a more challenging walk (providing your dog is also up to the task), at 803 metres high, the Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District is a popular choice. Start in the village of Coniston, and depending on your ability, take one of the many routes up the mountain. On a clear day, the view from the peak takes in much of the south Lake District including Morecambe Bay, the Pennines and the Isle of Man. Visit www.mudandroutes.com
Where to stay: Our pick is The Dairy in Coniston, a charming dog friendly cottage situated on the private Atkinson Ground Estate and close to Coniston Water. You can enjoy wonderful lakeside and mountain walks right from your doorstep.
4. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland – 3 miles
For wild scenery, unique history and superb local food, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in Southern Scotland is a feast for the senses. From the picturesque shores of Loch Lomond to the rugged coastlines, ancient forest glen to the peak of the towering Ben Lomond, there are walks to suit humans and hounds of all abilities. Try the River Eachaig & Massan Circuit route, a 3-mile walk which takes you from Benmore Botanic Garden along the banks of the Rivers Massan and Eachaig on woodland paths and the old road. Visit www.lochlomond-trossachs.org
Where to stay: Our pick is Argyll View, a luxurious detached lodge overlooking Clyde Estuary, complete with its own hot tub.
5. Chipping Campden Circular Walk, Cotswolds – 3 miles
Famed for its honey-coloured stone buildings, chocolate box villages and rolling green pastures, the Cotswolds has just about all the rural charm you can handle. A firm favourite amongst dogs and dog-lovers alike, the Cotswold Way dishes up just over 100 miles of picturesque walks through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of the most popular is the Chipping Campden walk which starts in this charming market town, then tracks through shaded woodlands and across rugged farmland. Visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk
Where to stay: Our pick is The Old Cart House, a beautiful dog friendly barn near Stow-on-the-Wold. Cosy up in your very own hideaway or get out explore all the Cotswolds has to offer.
6. Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Gloucestershire – 4.5 miles
There are no shortage of incredible sights and smells for you and your dog to discover in this vast area of ancient woodlands, but for humans and hounds who want to take in some culture along the way, the Sculpture Trail is a truly unique walk.
This 4.5-mile trail features sculptures created by artists to capture the spirit of the forest environment and the history of the beautiful landscape. Highlights include ‘Cathedral’, a 15ft stained glass window suspended from the tree canopy and ‘Iron Road’, made from 20 sleepers on a former railway line carved with images from the forest. This gentle walk takes about an hour and a half and is suitable for all ages and abilities. You will find dog bowls and biscuits at Beechenhurst Cafe. Visit www.forestofdean-sculpture.org.uk
Where to stay: Our pick is Deepdean Dexter’s Den, an eclectic dog friendly holiday home in Ross-on-Wye. Set in a hidden valley, you have 60 acres of open countryside and ancient woodland at your doorstep, plus, it is also home to an exotic animal rescue sanctuary where you can meet some local residents including zebra and meerkats.
Where are some of your favourite places to explore with your canine co-pilot? Tell us in the comments below!