Category: On Tour

Dog Walks in Somerset – Leigh Woods, Bristol

One of my favourite walks, partly because of the hill climb challenge and partly because you walk underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge, was Leigh Woods and we only scratched the surface on our visit. I did want to walk across the bridge as well, but time was against us and we only had a short amount of time in Bristol.

Storage container art Clifton suspension bridgeRiver Avon in Bristol

We parked at Oldfield Place car park and headed towards the Avon Canal trail. One of the bridges we needed to walk across was closed for refurbishment so we had to walk up and onto the pavement that ran alongside a busy main road, which wasn’t particularly pleasant! But that was the only down side. While walking along the trail, you could really see lots of old Bristol and it was really impressive.

Clifton Rocks Railway Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol Early blackberries in BristolI had never seen the Clifton Suspension Bridge before and it is really amazing. We had planned to walk across it, but we ran out of time. I’d love to go back another time and really explore this part of Bristol. Just a little bit further on along the trail, there’s a turning to the left which is an entry point into Leigh Woods. It’s quite a steep climb, but it is worth it, as it is incredibly beautiful.

National Trust Leigh Wood Bristol Fungus in Leigh Wood

When you get to the top of the climb, there’s a map that shows a number of different routes you can take. There are also some events for children, as Leigh Woods is managed by the National Trust. We did part of walk to the viewpoint, so we could take a look at Bristol from up high. It was breathtaking!

View of Bristol Suspension Bridge View from Leigh WoodsIf you’re taking the dog with you, be aware that there are some adorable cattle there so make sure you keep your dog on the lead. We saw some people who didn’t and the dog went chasing and barking after the cattle. Not ideal really. You could easily spend the day here, as there are lots of lovely places for picnics and plenty of walks to enjoy. I’d love to go back and explore a bit more, as would Poppy!

Poppydog in Leigh Woods

The Walk: The walk to Leigh Woods is easy to do and away from busy traffic (although the bridge we needed to cross was closed so we had to divert by a busy main road, shared with cyclists.) When you get to the Leigh Woods entrance, there is a steep climb to the top. Make sure you wear good walking boots!
Cost: Completely free.
Car Park: We parked at Oldfield Place car park, which is free to park in for three hours.
Refreshments: Not that I noticed, but you’re in Bristol, so you’re probably a stones throw from something delicious.
Toilets: Again, not that I noticed.

Vegan Food in Bristol

One of the things I was looking forward to, going to Bristol, was the food. I’ve followed Vegan Bristol for a while on Twitter and the food that they share on there is mouthwatering. There were two places I knew I wanted to visit: VX and Cafe Kino. VX is all about vegan junk food. And junk food is my favourite. They sell burgers, hotdogs and cakes galore. They also have a selection of vegan groceries, including the biggest variety of cheese I have ever seen!SSOV Bristol Vegan oreo milkshake Vx Classic burgerAfter a massive walk, we headed for VX. I had already decided on a classic burger with ketchup. What I didn’t know was that they also do milkshake – Vego bar and Oreo. As it had been over a year since my last milkshake, I ordered an oreo milkshake to wash down my burger. It was AMAZING! God I love milkshakes! Everything was spot on. The burger was tasty, came with tortilla chips, which had added a lovely bit of spice. I was pretty much in heaven and cannot wait to go back.

Vx Bristol Vegan food in Bristol Vegan cookie sandwich Vegan custard tart Vegan chocolate cakeAfter we ate, Phil and I did a bit of shopping, buying up cheese, tofurkey and squirty cream. All the basics! We also got some cakes to take away. We shared the custard tart, which was delicious, and the cookie sandwich, which was a bit too sugary for me. I also got a slice of the chocolate and peanut butter cake for the next day and it was immense! It was the perfect reward for walking Cheddar Gorge the next day. If anyone thinks vegan diets are dull & mega healthy, you need to get yourself to VX!

Cafe Kino Cafe Kino breakfastOn our last morning, we packed everything up and headed to Cafe Kino for breakfast. I’m always surprised that more cafes don’t seem to cater for vegans at brunch because how hard can it really be?! Look at this plate of deliciousness, all washed down with a brew. Cafe Kino is a cooperative and has sustainable food production and ethics at the heart of what it does. The food is locally sourced and is 100% vegan (they do have dairy milk for non-vegans to have in hot drinks). I ordered the Full Kino breakfast and it was fantastic. Phil had the small kino and had wanted a smoothie to go with it, but the blender was broken. I was gutted, because I wanted to sample their milkshakes. I saw on Twitter that they have a new one, so that’s good. The rest of their menu looks amazing and I’d love to go back to sample their salads. The cafe has a lovely feel and is a great spot to sit, chat, work or watch the world go by. They also have a Suspended Coffee jar on the counter, which is a great way of helping you do something small but kind for someone who needs it. Awesome 🙂

Both Cafe Kino and VX are dog friendly meaning Poppy was made to feel as welcome as we were. I was impressed by the options and standard of vegan food in Bristol. Oxford really needs to up its game.

Glamping in Bristol

Last year, we went on a glamping holiday, which is the closest I’ve ever got to camping. This year, we went to Bristol to stay in a wigwam for a last minute break. I had no idea what to expect and wasn’t sure how basic it would be. I was pleasantly surprised. The wigwam was fantastic, as were the amenities available on site. We were in one of three wigwams (the dog friendly one), only one of which was used for one night while we were there, so it was nice and quiet.

View of BristolBristol Wigwams Inside Bristol wigwamEach of the wigwams have a picnic bench outside, to sit and enjoy the amazing view of Bristol. Inside, the accommodation is basic, but good quality, clean and comfortable. There’s heating, hot water, a microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster (which, as we don’t have one, I was super excited about!) There’s basic crockery and cutlery, though we didn’t really cook, save for some jacket potatoes and beans, so it wasn’t much of an issue. There’s a sofa, table & chairs out of shot, the door in the picture above leads to the bathroom, which is better than our bathroom at home. I am not kidding. Now, lets talk about the bed. You have to bring your own bedding. No problem. I was worried about the bed, as I need a firm mattress for my back and a lot of times, I’ll stay somewhere and the mattress is super soft, leaving me in agony. This bed, however, was super firm and perfect for me. We stayed for three nights and the wigwam was the perfect base for us. I would happily stay here again.

Sunny Bristol Bristol sunsetBristol at nightThe views into Bristol are spectacular and I can only imagine how the hot air balloon festival looked from here. It was great looking out, spotting different things in and around Bristol. I was really amazed to see both Seven Bridge crossings. Having spent years crossing them, it was funny to see them both at once. The one thing I was really impressed with was the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which lights up at night. It’s really impressive, both from a distance and close up. We didn’t sit out a lot, as it was really windy, and not that warm, plus the Olympics were on. There are log stoves/BBQ’s available for each of the wigwams, and you can buy kindling, lighters and logs there. Phil made an awesome fire one night, so I sat out under my blanket while the sun went down.

View of BristolBristol viewEverything about staying at the wigwam was easy. It is really well placed for exploring the city, as well as other local hotspots, some of which were better than others. (I’ll write more about these later.) The fields opposite the wigwam site can be used by people staying at the wigwam, and we did a lovely walk one evening through them with Poppy. There are two extra shower/toilets in the amenities block, as well as a games room that has a pool table in it. There are also spare chairs to sit outside that are a bit comfier than sitting at the picnic table. We were sent codes that gave us access to the site and the key for our wigwam. Everything was straight forward, which is want you want for a holiday. I can’t recommend the wigwams enough and as we were only there for three nights, there are lots of other things I’d like see and do so would love to go back for another stay.

Colby Woodland Gardens, Pembrokeshire

After walking what felt like all the miles while we were in Pembrokeshire, I wanted our last morning to be a little more gentle and it seemed like the weather agreed (drizzle… again!) For years I’ve been driving past the sign for Colby Woodland Gardens but I’d never been so after a quick walk around Carew Castle and a spot of geocaching, Poppy and I headed for Colby.

Colby obelisk Colby woodland garden Poppy at the Cobly obelisikI didn’t realise that the woodland garden was a National Trust property. Admission is £6.50, but while dogs are allowed almost everywhere, they aren’t allowed int he admissions office, which was tricky as I was on my own and never want to tie Poppy up and leave her outside (because, obviously, the second my back is turned, someone will steal her!) When I went into the admissions office, the lady asked if I was a member, which I wasn’t, and she asked if I wanted to join, but I said that it would take too long and I didn’t want to leave Poppy outside on her own for too long (There were some shifty looking pensioners out there!) The lady offered to come outside and organise the membership, which I thought was really lovely, as I had been meaning to join for some time (Wish I’d joined before parking at Bosherston Lily Ponds – £5!). So I joined the National Trust and got a ton of maps etc, then we headed into the gardens.

tree of coins at colby woodland garden The valley at Colby woodland garden Colby lodgeWe headed up to the left of the valley, to find the obelisk. You can walk down to Amroth beach from the gardens, which I would love to do next time. Dogs have to be kept on leads everywhere but they can’t go into the walled gardens. Poppy really enjoyed exploring the valley, as there are a few ponds and lots of things to smell, apparently. While Poppy is still nervous of the sea, she is super confident in shallow, clear water and now seeks it out!

Poppydog at Colby Woodland Garden Amroth beach from Colby bracket fungus Pamela Chance memorialOn the other side of the valley, the walks get steeper, and there are loads of different walks around this side. One shows great views to Amroth beach and there are lots of different aspects of nature to see. We spotted a jay, some bracket fungus and an owl pellet, which Poppy ate. Nice huh?! It’s a lovely place to visit and I’ll definitely be going back there, especially in a different season, where the tress are changing. There are tea rooms there too, which I didn’t visit this time so naturally I need to go back for that!