After the hottest early May Bank Holiday on record across most of the UK, the expectations of most dog owners have turned from grabbing their wellies and raincoat to take the dog out for a walk to packing a picnic and enjoying the great outdoors in the sunshine.
With that in mind, this is the time of year to look beyond your local park or green space and explore the best that Britain has to offer. And what better place to do that than at the wealth of National Trust Properties around the country?
The National Trust is keen to welcome dog walkers and has even recommended some ideal spots for days out with your dog on their website: https://bit.ly/1PMzo0q. The great news is that the National Trust’s estate is so diverse that there are dog walking opportunities in urban areas, on the coast and in the countryside, so there’s plenty of scope for variety, regardless of where you live or your transport options.
And for those with assistance dogs, it’s reassuring to know that dogs assisting people with disabilities are welcome at all National Trust houses, gardens cafes and shops.
It’s worth looking up the places you plan to visit in advance, just to check the facilities on offer and any access restrictions there may be. For example, you may need a property with shade in the car park to keep your car cool or a property that offers dog watering spots or shaded hitching posts where you dog can be left. It’s also important to abide by any restrictions relating to the movement of dogs around livestock. These requirements may change from property to property at different times of year, so it’s worthwhile checking before your visit. You’ll find that there are plenty of volunteers at each property to advise you if you need to keep your dog on a lead and it’s always a good idea to keep your dog within sight, even if there is no requirement for a lead.
So, where are the National Trust hotspots for walking your dog this summer. At Hey Diddle Diddle we’ve taken a look at the options and here are a few of our faves:
- East of England – try Blakes Wood in Essex or Sharpenhoe and Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire
- Midlands – with its eight acres of gardens and 1,500 acres of grounds, Gunby Estate Hall & Gardens in Lincolnshire is the perfect place for a doggy day out
- The North – The woods at Hardcastle Craggs are a perfect pooches’ playground
- Northern Ireland – Divis and the Black Mountain offers great walks for you and your dog along with amazing views of Belfast
- South East – At Runnymede in Surrey you can enjoy a great walk with your dog followed by a welcome drink in the Magna Carta tea room
- South West – Dogs are welcome in the Landscape Garden after 4pm between March and October
- Wales – at Penryn Castle in Gwynedd there are lots of trails for you and your dog to explore
So what’s keeping you? Slap on some sunscreen, pack a pocket of Hey Diddle Diddle for a tasty treat and off you and your canine companion go to explore.