Source: Chard and Ilminster News (Extract)
Posted: October 2, 2021

A number of Somerset locations appear in a new list which reveals the most scenic spots for dog walks in the UK.

A survey of 2,000 dog owners from Okehampton-based natural pet food producer Forthglade discovered the most popular destinations to enjoy – with 10 South West destinations appearing 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.

Somerset took two spots in the top 10 with Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury Tor, while Cornwall, Devon and Dorset also appeared in the top 40.

It also emerged that three in 10 owners enjoy strolls by lakes, with the Lake District’s Derwentwater taking the second spot in the top 40.

A further 39 per cent opt for walks in a forest, while 28 per cent chose national parks.

Over half of the top 40 locations in the survey are cared for by Europe’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust.

And now the charity, in partnership with Forthglade, has launched the Dogs Welcome Project, which is committed to making sure everyone is welcome at its places, whether you are a visitor with a dog or one looking to avoid dogs.

The project is also improving the facilities for canine visitors and their humans.

The survey also found that 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).

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.

Gerard Lovell, joint managing director at Forthglade said: “We’re lucky to have so many picturesque places in the Somerset 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.

“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 – and daily walks and exercise with them hugely benefits; the physical and mental wellbeing of both parties, nurturing deeper bonds between dogs and their owners.”

In good news for the South West, the poll 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 admitting they wouldn’t be as fit if they didn’t have their pet.

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.

To inspire dog owners to enjoy a new route, adventurer Simon Reeve has teamed up with Forthglade and the National Trust to create video content transporting viewers for a stunning dog walk in Arlington Court in Devon – a Regency house set in a picturesque garden.

TV adventurer and keen dog walker Simon Reeve said: “As someone who absolutely adores my two dogs, the outdoors, and a wander around a glorious National Trust property, I am delighted to help unveil the Dogs Welcome Project.

“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.”

The National Trust’s Dog Welcome Project manager, Ceinwen Paynton, said: “Working together with Forthglade 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 two years – and what an important way of accessing nature and green spaces dogs can be.”

Top 40 most scenic dog walking routes:

  1. Yorkshire Dales
  2. Derwentwater, Lake District
  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
  10. The Roaches, Peak District
  11. Richmond Park, London
  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
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