THESE mesmerising images show some of the most scenic places for dog walks in the UK – including the Yorkshire Dales, Hadrian’s Wall, and Cheddar Gorge.
A survey of 2,000 UK dog owners discovered the most popular destinations to enjoy – with the Yorkshire Dales taking first place in the top 40 list.
Some of the preferred destinations for a dog walk were found to be beside the sea (44 per cent), with the South West being home to many top spots.
Cornwall took two spots in the top five, whilst Devon also featured several times in the list with Doone Valley and Baggy Point.
It also emerged three in 10 owners enjoy strolls by lakes, with the Lake District’s Derwentwater taking the second spot in the top 40.
The poll, commissioned by Devon-based natural pet food producer Forthglade, revealed a further 39 per cent opt for walks in a forest, while 28 per cent chose national parks.
It also found the choice of dog walk destination is heavily influenced by how safe it is for pups (46 per cent), if there’s adequate space for them to be let off a lead (29 per cent) and if it’s somewhere to connect with nature (26 per cent).
Gerard Lovell, joint managing director at Forthglade, said: “We’re lucky to have so many picturesque places in the UK to enjoy walks with dogs.
“It’s important both owners and canine companions enjoy connecting with nature and discovering new places further afield from their usual route.”
Places with free parking (22 per cent), dog friendly cafés (14 per cent) and somewhere for the dog to swim (15 per cent) are also likely to impact on where dog walkers spend the day.
The survey, commissioned by OnePoll, also found that during the pandemic, 46 per cent said dog walking helped their physical and mental health, with 24 per cent going on more strolls throughout the day.
The poll also revealed that nearly half (49 per cent) have even chosen holiday locations based on the suitability for their pup, seeking out dog-friendly accommodation (61 per cent), beaches (59 per cent) and nearby walking spaces (55 per cent).
And a quarter believe they get equally as excited for a walk as their dog, while 41 per cent admitted they wouldn’t be as fit if they didn’t have their pet.
Top 40 most scenic dog walking routes
1. Yorkshire Dales
2. Derwentwater, Lake District
10. The Roaches, Peak District
11. Richmond Park, London
3. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
4. Lizard Point, Cornwall
5. Holywell beach, Cornwall
6. Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
7. Ullswater, Cumbria
8. Glastonbury Tor, Somerset
9. Holkham Beach, Norfolk
12. The Seven Sisters, South Downs
13. Durham Coast, Durham
14. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
15. The Langdales, Cumbria
16. Pen y Fan, Wales
17. Rhosili Bay, South Wales
18. Doone Valley, North Devon
19. Golden Cap, Dorset
20. Cragside, Northumberland
21. Sheringham Park, Norfolk
22. Clifton Downs, Bristol
23. Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight
24. Kinmel Bay, Wales
25. Baggy Point, North Devon
26. Clent Hills, Worcestershire
27. Bath Skyline Walk, Bath
28. Hengistbury Head, Dorset
29. Hatfield Forest, Essex
30. Heaven’s Gate, Wiltshire
31. Orwell Country Park, Ipswich
32. Lyme, Cheshire
33. Blicking Estate, Norfolk
34. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
35. Flatford, Suffolk
36. Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge
37. Whiteford Burrows, North Gower Coast
38. Laverstock Down, Salisbury
39. Green Chain Walk, London
40. Attingham Park, Shropshire
Half also said they actively look for new places to visit, with 40 per cent finding a different walk more exciting than sticking to the same one.
A further 23 per cent varied their routes more during this time and 11 per cent met up with friends for a walk with their dog more than they did pre-pandemic.
Gerard Lovell added: “If there’s one thing that we’ve learnt this year, it’s that dogs have become even more precious to people, and are a true extension of the family.
Daily walks and exercise with them hugely benefits the physical and mental wellbeing of both parties, nurturing deeper bonds between dogs and their owners.”
Over half of the top 40 locations in the survey are cared for, or partially cared for by Europe’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust.
The charity, in partnership with the pet food maker, has launched the Dogs Welcome Project, which is committed to improving the facilities and experience for canine visitors and their humans.
To inspire dog owners to enjoy a new route, adventurer Simon Reeve has teamed up with Forthglade and the National Trust to create a video showcasing a dog walk in Arlington Court in Devon – a Regency house set in a picturesque garden.
Simon said: “I think it’s brilliant that the team at Forthglade and the National Trust are working to ensure dogs and their humans are even more welcome at so many of the Trust’s properties, whilst also making sure there’s space for people who may not always want a dog bounding around them.
“My dogs have taught me how to be more present, aware of nature, and draw fulfilment from every precious moment spent outdoors.
“Importantly, my dogs are essential to my mental health, and I always find the simple act of putting one foot in front of another a powerful mental tonic, and my dogs offer a profound psychological support.”
Ceinwen Paynton from The National Trust added: “Working together gives us a great opportunity to focus on our members with dogs and how to make visits even better for them, while balancing that with access for other visitors and nature conservation.
“We recognise that a large proportion of our members are dog owners – with this increasing over the last 2 years- and what an important way of accessing nature and green spaces dogs can be.”
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