England’s 10 best magical winter walks
Going for a walk is an essential part of a dog’s daily routine – it’s great for both their physical and mental health as it gives opportunities to experience new sounds and smells. PDSA Pet Insurance has explored ten of the best dog-friendly walks in England, and we have tips and tricks to help you and your dog have a walk that is fun and safe.
Before you think about taking on mountains with your Maltese or woodlands with your Whippet – make sure your dog will be able to handle the length and pace of walk you want to take them on. If you’re unsure, speak with your vet who will be able to give you a good idea of the type and length of exercise your pooch should be getting.
PDSA Pet Insurance top tips:
- Pack the right supplies that both you and your dog will need along the way– see our list below
- Check the weather forecast before heading out - no one wants to be caught out in a storm or suffer from heatstroke.
- Keep your dog on a lead when you explore new places as there may be livestock, difficult terrain or a risk of your dog falling
- Ensure your dog wears a collar and an ID tag at all times – this is a legal requirement and can help to ensure your dog is reunited with you, should they get lost Rest when you or your dog needs to, these walks have some beautiful spots to rest both feet and paws whilst enjoying the view and enjoy the view
Best suited to: dogs that can’t walk as far but still enjoy some gorgeous scenery
Speech House, Coleford, Gloucestershire
Route info: 2.5 mile circular forest walk with gentle inclines
Speech House is a scenic circular forest walk between Coleford and Cindeford. It’s a fairly level walk with some fantastic views of the forest. It features very gentle inclines, so it is ideal for stiffer joints that can’t cope with hills anymore. You can also learn a little about local history on your way around.
Roundham Head, Paignton, Devon
Route info: 0.9 mile circular beach walk
This short route around Roundham Head is perfect for exploring the area without clocking up too many miles! You’ll take in some fantastic views with the option to enjoy a walk along the sandy beachfront. As this walk is mostly pavements, it might not be so good for older paws that are more comfortable walking on softer ground.
Watersinks to Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire
Route info: 2.6 mile linear walk past Malham Tarn
This route offers a pleasant meander through the scenic Malham Tarn Nature Reserve. You can expect to see an array of birds and wildlife along the wetlands along with livestock at certain times of the year, so it’s best to keep your pooch on a lead. It features mostly grass and gravel paths, but beware of the mud in wet weather! As a linear route, you’ll need to be prepared to walk back along the same path or organise a lift at the other end.
Best suited to: Active and high-energy breeds
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Route info: 4 mile circular walk with a few steep climbs (it is a gorge after all!)
The Cheddar Gorge walk has the perfect combination of wide open spaces and fantastic views, with a few more sheltered, forest areas. Perfect for adventurous pups, but beware that there are a few stiles along the route so make sure your dog is happy and able to climb over them. When you’re done, you could even stock up on some of Cheddar’s cave-aged cheese, just in time for a festive feast (not to share with your pup though!).
Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham
Route info: 6 mile circular walk with some steep climbs
Cleeve Hill offers some amazing views right across to the Malvern Hills. There are no stiles on this route but there are some steeper sections, making it ideal for active dogs. If you don’t fancy completing the full route, there is also the option to do a slightly shorter, flatter ramble. Keep in mind that there is livestock along the route, so make sure you keep your dog on a lead.
Route info: 7.5 mile circular walk with some inclines
Explore some of the famous sights of the Lake District with this circular walk! If you want beautiful scenery and idyllic views, this is the trek for you. There are no stiles, just miles of exciting places to explore. You’ll pass Watendlath Tarn on this route if you fancy a quick paddle, just remember to keep your dog safe around water and be aware that other people may also be enjoying the tarn for fishing and rowing.
The Roaches, Peak District
Route info: 5.5 mile circular walk with inclines
Wide open spaces and amazing views? Check. Fairytale woodland with lots of exciting places to explore? Check. This walk has plenty for you and your canine companion to explore! It can get a little windy at the top of The Roaches, so be careful. You’ll be walking over paths, through forestry and over some rocky sections so make sure your pup’s paws are protected if they need it.
Ideal for: Very active dogs (in cool weather)
Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Route info: Up to 10 miles circular route on some tricky trails
This is definitely one for the adventurous! Grizedale is every bit the magical forest, but nothing as beautiful as this comes easy. Walking through the woods, you will completely forget you’re in the Lake District. The walk winds through woodland paths, up streams and rocky trails, and you can even see some sculptures along the way. This is perfect for very adventurous dogs with plenty of stops offered along the way if you’re taking on the whole 10 miles.
Ironbridge and the Wrekin, Telford
Route info: 8.5 mile linear route with some steep inclines
Walk through the scenic town of Ironbridge before making your way up the Wrekin. This is a challenging trail as there is a lot of walking to do before you even reach the mammoth hill that is the Wrekin. You definitely need a fit dog for this and to include lots of breaks, which will give you the perfect opportunity to appreciate the beautiful scenery. This is another linear walk so make sure you sort a lift out at the other end!
Baggy Point to Woolacombe, North Devon
Route info: 10 mile circular walk across beaches and through dunes
You can really appreciate the North Devon scenery on this coastal walk. You’ll start in Croyde, make your way to Woolacombe and then come back again. It’s a picturesque route, especially along the clifftops, but can be slippery so it’s best to keep dogs on leads. As it’s another long one, make sure you take plenty of stops – there are even some dog-friendly cafes and pubs in Woolacombe itself.
What to pack on a dog walk
Dogs love to walk - some much more than others! If you have an active happy hound who loves to get out and about with you, there are a few things you’ll need to pack for them to make sure it’s fun for you both. That’s why PDSA Pet Insurance has pulled together the following list to ensure that your dog is healthy and happy during their trip.
The most important thing to take with your dog on every walk is water, in order to keep happy and hydrated on your adventure! You can buy collapsible bowls that fold flat and can be clipped to your bag to save carrying your dog’s usual water bowl. You can even buy bottles and bowls in one.
You never know when your dog might go so it’s always best to be prepared and take a stash of poo bags. It’s actually illegal in many places not to pick up after your dog and it’s far more courteous to other walkers if you do. You can even buy biodegradable or compostable bags so you can take better care of the environment.
Hand sanitiser and something to keep the smell at bay
Picking up poo is a necessary part of having a faithful fur-friend. We’d recommend carrying some hand sanitiser so you can keep yourself free of any bacteria or smells after picking up after your pup – you can even buy poo bag dispensers with hand sanitiser attached.
We know that there aren’t always bins available to dispose of dog waste. Carrying around a smelly bag isn’t great, but there are containers you can get to keep odours at bay until you can dispose of your dog’s poo in a proper bin.
First aid kit
On any walk, it’s a good idea to carry a doggy first aid kit just in case. You can put your own together or buy one online. If you’re thinking of making your own, take a look at what PDSA vets recommend keeping in your kit.
A spare lead
Accidents can happen at any time, and if your dog’s lead happens to break while out and about it’s always good to have a spare. Reflective leads are ideal for darker nights or low visibility.
A few tasty treats and snacks
Walks can be tiring so make sure you carry some tasty treats and snacks to keep your dog going. You can even buy our very own vet-approved treats online. If you're stuck for space, you can buy handy treat pouches that clip to your dog's lead.
If you both stop to eat, remember to take a good rest before walking again as this reduces the risk of your dog getting bloated or a twisted stomach.
Some walks can be a little muddy and messy! It’s always best to keep a towel in the car (or get a lightweight one you can carry with you) for cleaning muddy paws.
While most fit and healthy dogs are fine with their own fur coat, those with thinner fur or older pets may benefit from a coat to keep them warmer on chilly walks. You can also buy high-vis dog coats and harnesses if you’re walking during darker hours of the day.