Category: Poppy

Dog Walks in Buckinghamshire – Whitecross Green Wood

Phil and I are planning to visit every BBOWT nature reserve. After a quick look through their website, we decided on Whitecross Green Wood. It boasts an abundance of butterflies in the summer months and we weren’t disappointed. They were dancing around all over, enjoying the warm summer sun.

Getting to the reserve is pretty straight forward. There’s a small cottage opposite the turning for the reserve and there are two gates that need opening. Once inside, there’s a map and a visitors book, which is well worth having a look at, as people record the different things they’ve seen so it’s a helpful guide for things to look out for. Because there are so many varieties of butterflies, the site is at risk of trampling, as people try to get close to see and take pictures of them. (I totally understand this, as my photos of the butterflies from a distance were so awful, I had to delete them!) However, this is a real problem, as it’s putting the habitat at risk so it’s important to stick to the mown path, which we did.

Poppy at Whitecross GreenWhitecross Green BBOWT reserve Whitecross Green Nature Reserve Whitecross Green ReserveBritish summer

There’s a nice circular walk around the reserve, taking in woodland, views out over the countryside and lots of great little habitats. The walk is just over 2 miles and is easy to follow as it’s signposted with little badger plaques. Poppy loved the walk as there were lots of smells for her to track. We’ll definitely be returning to Whitecross Green as I’d like to see how it changes with the seasons.

The Walk: The walk is fairly easy and straightforward, with only a slight incline in the woods.
Cost: Free
Car Park: There’s a decent sized car park at the start of the reserve, which has quite a few spaces.
Refreshments: No.
Toilets: No.

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Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Tar Lakes, Witney

A few weeks ago, we headed to Rushy Common Nature Reserve for an early morning dog walk. We didn’t realise that we’d need a key to access the bird hide, so we went for a walk around the Tar Lakes opposite. Phil found a circular walk that would be just as good. We crossed over and headed for the lakes. I’ve never been before and couldn’t believe how beautiful they were. Plus, there were butterflies and dragonflies everywhere! They were amazing, dancing from flower to flower. Wildlife at its best!

Witney Tar Lakes Tar Lakes Tar Lakes walk Tar Lakes dragonfly Tar Lakes circular walk Grebe at Tar Lakes Tar Lakes at Witney Tar Lakes witney Ox Eye Daisy

As you can see, it was a glorious day. We walked around the Tar Lakes and headed out on the public footpath across the River Windrush. We stayed on this path, which heads to Hardwick, but headed right instead. We stayed on this path until it joined with the bridleway, which leads back to the car park at Rushy Common. You can download a map here. As you can see from the map, you can walk all the way to Witney along this path, which would be an excellent walk to do. If you’re feeling like something a little more easy going, then stay on the path around the Tar Lakes. It’s been developed so carefully that there’s wheelchair access and lots of viewing points to watch the birds and other wildlife. I’d definitely like to go back at a different time of year to see other types of wildlife doing their thing.

The Walk: The walk we did took a few hours and went through fields and along the river. However, if that’s not your thing, you can walk around the Tar Lakes.
Cost: Free
Car Park: There’s a small car park at Rushy Common Nature Reserve, which has a path that leads to the Tar Lakes. It’s free, but small so get there early.
Refreshments: There’s no where nearby so why not pack up a Thermos and some cake and enjoy the view of the lakes from one of the benches.
Toilets: No.

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Dog Walks in Dorset – Avon Beach, Christchurch

One of the first and last walks we did on our glamping holiday was based around Avon Beach. A lot of the beaches are off limits to dogs between May and September, but if you head to Highcliffe Castle beach, dogs are allowed on the beach all year round. It’s a lovely walk along the promenade, with the colourful beach huts on one side and the sea on the other.

Avon Beach Poppy on Highcliffe Castle Beach Highcliffe Castle Highcliffe Castle Beach Poppy on Avon Beach Veggie breakfast at the Noisy Lobster

On our first evening, we parked at Mudeford Quay carpark and had a lovely evening stroll along the promenade, watching holiday makers try to catch crabs and seagulls bobbing on the coastal breeze. We walked all the way to Avon Beach, noting that most of the beaches along this stretch didn’t allow dogs so we planned to return to visit the dog friendly beach of Highcliffe Castle beach and have breakfast at the Noisy Lobster, as the menu looked amazing.

On our final day, we got up bright and early, packed everything up and headed for Avon Beach. We parked next to the Noisy Lobster, planning on having breakfast there after our dog walk and headed towards Highcliffe Castle beach. As is often the case, the best beaches have dog restrictions during the summer. Highcliffe Castle beach is pebbly, so it’s not super easy to walk on. But it was still good to be on the beach, breathing in all that sea air. There were quite a few dogs enjoying the beach and Poppy was happy to meet them all!

After a while, we headed back to Avon Beach for breakfast at the Noisy Lobster. Fortunately, the weather was lovely so we sat outside for breakfast and Poppy behaved perfectly. The veggie breakfast was absolutely amazing. It was probably the best breakfast I’ve ever had – so much so, I keep dreaming on heading back down to Avon Beach, just for the breakfast!

The Walk: The walk along the promenade is very lovely in itself so if you don’t fancy a walk on the beach too, you can just as easily do this.
Cost: Free
Car Park: We parked at the Avon Beach car park, next to the Noisy Lobster and paid, as always, using RinGo.
Refreshments: While we wanted to visit the Noisy Lobster, it’s just one of many cafes along that stretch of beaches. I can heartily recommend the Noisy Lobster! There are also quite a few taps along the beaches, providing free drinking water, which was essential for filling up our water bottles.
Toilets: There are lots of toilets and all are free.

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Dog Walks in the New Forest – Holmsley Circular Walk

One of the great things about walking is that it’s a great excuse to eat cake. You need to refuel right?! It has been known for us to go on a walk to specifically visit a cafe and we found this walk when searching for ‘holmsley circular walks’. We wanted to park up somewhere in the New Forest, walk the Old Station Tearooms in Holmsley, eat cake and then walk back to the car. This walk was perfect for that. Phil had searched for good tea rooms in the New Forest and the Old Station tearooms came up so we knew we had to pay them a visit.

Holmsley walk New Forest ponies New Forest circular walk New Forest New Forest dog walk Holmsley circular walk Holmsley dog walk Old station Old railway walk

This is the second time I’ve been to the New Forest and I still find it completely breathtaking. In a time where it feels like every scrap of land is being built on, to find such an expanse of green is heartwarming. I love seeing the horses and cows roaming free too. They never seemed bothered by us in the slightest and Poppy is used to seeing different animals now so she’s not bothered by them anymore either.

Once we’d parked up, we headed off, using the map at the top, which comes from the AA website (click on the map to go to their website). While the map is pretty clear, the directions aren’t. We weren’t sure how long we should walk once we’d past the cider shop. It turned out that we had to walk quite a way! We eventually found the right path we needed to go out onto the heath. It was incredibly beautiful all the way along. Every so often we’d come across an old bridge from the railway that’s no longer in use. It’s hard to imagine trains running through the New Forest now!

Holmsley Tea Rooms Old Station tea rooms Old station cream tea

The weather had threatened rain all morning but we were spared until we were close the tearooms. Foolishly, I hadn’t checked to see if the tearooms was dog friendly (which it isn’t inside) so as we approached in the rain, I was a little worried that we’d be sitting outside in the rain, eating wet scones. Fortunately, we arrived to see plenty of outside seating, with a fair chunk of it undercover. The tearooms are adorable and it’s such a great way to use an old station house. The menu looked pretty good, but we were there for one thing and on thing only – the cream tea. And it didn’t disappoint. We had two fresh homemade scones with ample cream and jam. They were delicious and the perfect reward for walking all that way.

Just as we were finishing up, the heavens opened for a final down pour before the rain stopped. We were so lucky. We took a slightly shorter route than the one on the map because my knee was playing up a bit. Hilly walks make it unhappy so we took a path that had less of an incline and before we knew it, we were back at the car. It was a lovely walk and I’d love to do more New Forest walks as it’s such an amazing place.

The Walk: The walk is pretty flat and beautiful. As it’s part of the New Forest, you can change your walk at almost any point, to make it longer or shorter.
Cost: Free
Car Park: We parked at the free car park in Burley. It wasn’t the one on the map as I took a wrong turn and carried on the road round to the right in Burley, rather than making a left. I think it was just opposite a cricket ground.
Refreshments: The whole point of our walk was to visit The Old Station Tearooms in Holmsley, which is well worth a visit. Dogs aren’t allowed in the cafe, but there’s plenty of seating outside, with some undercover.
Toilets: There are some at the tearooms. Use these as there are none anywhere else!

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