Travel

The best dog-friendly walks to take this winter in National Trust parks


THE stricter lockdown rules make getting out and about difficult.

But you can still enjoy a walk – and if you live near one of these places, you can enjoy a stroll in some truly stunning countryside.

Breathe a fresh, frosty morning at Bookham Commons, Surrey

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Breathe a fresh, frosty morning at Bookham Commons, SurreyCredit: ©National Trust Images/John Miller

And we’ve even provided the latest tier guidelines to help you choose. So blow away those cobwebs on a clifftop or follow trails through frost-sprinkled parkland and historic gardens.

The National Trust – together with natural dog-food company Forthglade – has put together some of the best dog-friendly walks to take this winter.

You do not have to have a four-legged friend in tow. But if you do, these routes will keep hikers and hounds alike happy. 

Some NT properties might require advance booking or have different restrictions for dog-walking. Check for up-to-date information at nationaltrust.org.uk.

Happy walkies . . .  

The mansion and gardens at Bickling, Norfolk, are magnificent

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The mansion and gardens at Bickling, Norfolk, are magnificent Credit: � National Trust/Andy Davison

South West

LIZARD POINT, CORNWALL (Tier 2)

How about hiking to the UK mainland’s most southerly point? Wildlife lovers should look out for the distinctive Cornish choughs and grey seals that bask in the winter sun. But keep your distance, as they are easily scared. 

Dogs welcome on leads.

TYNTESFIELD, NORTH SOMERSET (Tier 3)

Just seven miles from central Bristol, Tyntesfield is a Victorian estate overlooking the Yeo Valley. The Gothic Revival house features turrets, towers and a family chapel, plus tree-lined walks. Dogs welcome on leads.

STUDLAND BAY, DORSET (Tier 2)

Backed by heath and dunes, four miles of beaches line the sheltered waters of Studland Bay. There is a chain ferry linking Poole and Bournemouth. Spot sanderlings wading along the waters’ edge and nesting birds in the dunes. 

Well-behaved dogs are welcome off leads.

Wales 

STACKPOLE, PEMBROKESHIRE (Alert Level 4)

Footpaths stretch from the estate to some of the world’s most beautiful coastline, including Broad Haven South and Barafundle Bay. It’s also a nature reserve – Bosherston Lakes is a wintering stop-off for goosanders and gadwalls. Dogs welcome under close control.

ERDDIG, WREXHAM (Alert Level 4)

The Erddig Clywedog riverside walk is a short circular route through parkland to the village of Felin Puleston. Don’t miss the Cup And Saucer waterfall. Dogs welcome on leads in parkland and in designated off-lead zones.

PLAS NEWYDD HOUSE AND GARDEN, ANGLESEY (Alert Level 4)

Located beside the Menai Strait with views of Snowdonia and the Anglesey coastline, the 300-year-old house at Plas Newydd is surrounded by Grade I-listed gardens. Don’t miss the Rhododendron Garden and Old Dairy Cafe. Dogs welcome on leads (excluding the Terraced Garden).

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There are miles of trails to enjoy at on the riverside at Cliveden, Bucks

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There are miles of trails to enjoy at on the riverside at Cliveden, BucksCredit: ©National Trust Images/John Miller

Midlands

LONGSHAW, BURBAGE AND THE EASTERN MOORS, DERBYS (Tier 3)

A countryside haven on Sheffield’s doorstep, the Peak District is home to ancient woods, parkland and heather moorland. Walking at Longshaw can be a stroll to the pond, an easy way marked ramble or a serious hike. Keep dogs on a lead to ensure wildlife, livestock and other visitors are safe. 

ATTINGHAM PARK, SHROPS (Tier 2)

Deer, ducks, otters and cattle all roam in this 200-year-old parkland, which has fantastic views of the Shropshire hills. There are some beautiful stretches of the Severn and Tern to explore too.

Dogs welcome on leads (except for the off-lead area in the Mile Walk paddock).

CLUMBER PARK, NOTTS (Tier 3)

Carved out of the ancient forests of Sherwood, Clumber Park is a beautiful expanse of woodland. Walking around the lake is magical in winter, when fog surrounds the Gothic chapel. Look out for jays and green woodpeckers. 

Dogs welcome under close control.

East of England

FLATFORD, SUFFOLK (Tier 4)

In the heart of Dedham Vale, this charming hamlet was the inspiration for some of John Constable’s most famous pictures. Wandering beside the River Stour, you feel as if you are walking through one of his paintings.

Dogs welcome on leads as there is livestock grazing. 

BLICKLING ESTATE, NORFOLK (Tier 4)

Blickling’s Jacobean mansion and ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a magnificent garden and historic park. 

The lake walk is atmospheric on a frosty winter’s morning, with the reflections and big, open skies. Twitchers should look out for hunting barn owls and finches.

Dogs welcome under close control.

ICKWORTH, SUFFOLK (Tier 4)

An Italian palace in the heart of Suffolk that was originally built to house the Earl of Bristol’s art collection – until it was stolen by Napoleon. 

With acres of parkland, it is the perfect place to get back to nature. Try the circular Monument Walk, explore woodland glades and find the Walled Garden. Dogs welcome on leads (except for the Italianate Garden).

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Walk up to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, if you're in North Yorkshire

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Walk up to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, if you’re in North YorkshireCredit: �National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

North & East Yorks

SOUTER LIGHTHOUSE, TYNE AND WEAR (Tier 3)

Once the site of a busy mining community, these cliffs are now home to a solitary lighthouse – and a host of seabirds. Walk north and discover The Leas, with its wildflower meadows, or head south to the Whitburn Coastal Park, which is criss-crossed with paths and coastal trails.

Dogs welcome on leads.

FOUNTAINS ABBEY AND STUDLEY ROYAL WATER GARDEN, NORTH YORKS (Tier 2)

The ruins of Fountains Abbey are something to behold. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for 407 years, becoming one of the wealthiest monasteries in England until its dissolution by order of Henry VIII in 1539. Explore the banks of the River Skell there and the 18th-century Water Garden. The deer park is home to red, fallow and sika deer.

Dogs welcome on leads.

GIBSIDE, TYNE AND WEAR (Tier 3)

Gibside is one of the last surviving 18th-century designed landscapes. Highlights include a neoclassical chapel and restored stable. You will have a great chance of seeing roe deer, red kites and otter.

Dogs welcome on leads.

North West

CLAIFE VIEWING STATION AND THE WEST SHORE OF WINDERMERE, LAKE DISTRICT (Tier 2)

The lakeshore path between Wray Castle and Claife Viewing Station is car-free, with opportunities for pooches to paddle. You will be rewarded with panoramas of Windermere at the top. The viewing station features coloured glass so you can experience Lakeland views throughout the seasons. 

Dogs welcome under close control.

QUARRY BANK, CHESHIRE (Tier 3)

Quarry Bank gives a glimpse into life during the Industrial Revolution. Around it, you will find swathes of woodland, a meandering river and folly bridges. Look out for kingfishers. 

Keep dogs on leads where advised.

SPEKE HALL, GARDEN AND ESTATE, LIVERPOOL (Tier 2)

Set on the banks of the River Mersey, this magnificent Tudor manor house is surrounded by restored gardens and woodland. Take the estate walk for views of the Wirral, North Wales and Liverpool’s city skyline. Or head to the Coastal Reserve to spot wading birds.

Dogs welcome on leads.

Enjoy a frosty country walk at Flatford in Suffolk

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Enjoy a frosty country walk at Flatford in SuffolkCredit: � National Trust Images / Justin Minns

South East

TENNYSON DOWN, ISLE OF WIGHT (Tier 3)

Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Lord Tennyson on a walk over Tennyson Down. Enjoy views of the Needles, look out for peregrine falcons and nip into the Old Battery fort for takeaway snacks.

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Dogs can be safely secured nearby.

CLIVEDEN, BUCKS (Tier 4)

Positioned on chalk cliffs overlooking the River Thames, Cliveden’s magnificent gardens and woodlands feature miles of trails. Admire the views of the river and back towards the Italian mansion house.

Dogs permitted under close control in the woodlands and on a lead in most of the estate.

POLESDEN LACEY, SURREY (Tier 4)

Just four miles from Dorking, Polesden Lacey has glorious views across the Surrey Hills – with acres of way-marked trails and countryside to explore around Bookham Commons. Former owner, Edwardian hostess Margaret Greville, entertained royalty. 

Dogs welcome on leads in parts of the garden and off in the wider estate.

SCOTNEY CASTLE, KENT (Tier 4)

Stroll around Scotney Castle’s woodland and waterways with its stone bridge, beech avenue and World War Two bomb craters. One of the popular routes takes in the Kentish Oast Houses of the Little Scotney Farm.

Dogs welcome on leads.

Northern Ireland

DIVIS AND THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, CO ANTRIM (No tier level – six-week lockdown)

How about an invigorating climb up Divis and the Black Mountain? The high ground offers panoramic views over Belfast – including the city’s famous dockland, where the Titanic was built. Plus views of the Northern Ireland countryside and watch buzzards and kestrels hovering over open fields.

Dogs welcome on leads.

CASTLE WARD, CO DOWN (No tier level – six-week lockdown)

Game Of Thrones fans will recognise Castle Ward’s farmyard, which doubled up as Winterfell in the TV series. There are 820 acres of woodland and gardens to explore, with views over Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside. 

Dogs welcome on leads.

ROWALLANE GARDEN, COUNTY DOWN (No tier level – six-week lockdown)

Stroll among winter-flowering viburnums, mahonia and the fragrant flowers of witch hazel in these 19th-century gardens. You might be able to smell sarcococca – it is known as the Christmas Box. 

Dogs welcome on leads.

Covid-19 tiers map: Millions enter Tier 4 on lead up to Christmas

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