Category: Poppy

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Shotover Country Park

A few weekends ago we headed to Shotover Country Park, which has been on my list of places to go for ages. It’s just on the outskirts of Oxford, so not far from us, but it could be a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Shotover is accessed via a windy road, one we’d never driven along before and it leads to one of the best walks we’ve been on in a while.

There’s a huge car park at the end of the road and a number of entrances you can go in, depending on where you park. I’m pretty sure we went in through the main one, which has amazing views of Oxford and the surrounding area. There’s a big notice board on the right hand side, which has maps – pick one up if this is your first visit. They’re essential. I’ve kept mine in our walk bag so it’s ready for next time. We headed out on the yellow walk, but we’ll definitely go back to sample the other two as well.

Shotover ViewShotover TreeTree ArtBeautiful TreeWoodland PoppyOrange FungiSunlit Woodland Mossy Resting Poppy

Poppy was besotted with Shotover. There were lots and lots of smells that had her nose to the ground for the whole walk. We did encounter a few horses, but Poppy is becoming more and more confident around them, which is great news. Shotover is a great place for a dog walk, what ever the weather!

The Walk: There are three different walks you can do, depending on how long you’ve got. You can find out more here. We did the yellow one it was fairly easy, though it would definitely need wellies if it’s been raining. Dogs are meant to be kept on a lead, though we encountered a number that weren’t. Grrrrr! Also, if your dog is horse sensitive, like Poppy, be aware that the Bridleway runs through the park.
Cost: Completely free!
Car Park: There’s quite a large car park for Shotover, but it does get very busy. We arrived early on a Sunday morning and it was fairly quiet. By the time we’d finished, it was fairly busy.
Refreshments: Nope, but there are a some lovely places to stop and enjoy a cup of tea from your Thermos!
Toilets: None.

Reuniting lost pets with their owners

Poppy is the centre of our world (understatement of the year!) Since adopting her from the Blue Cross, she has been an amazing addition to our family. Naturally, as a result, we are super serious about looking after her. I have alerts set up in our calendar for all her vet appointments and treatments, she’s pretty much the centre of attention wherever we go, whether she’s with us or not, we factor her in to every decision we make; to put it bluntly, we’ve changed the way we live to accommodate her. Therefore, the thought of her going missing makes my blood run cold.

Poppydog on tourPoppy did go missing for a little bit last year – fortunately not for long. As a general rule, we walk Poppy on the lead. The main reason? We don’t exist, especially if there are squirrels or other distractions about. I can wave a treat right in front of her face, but if there’s even the scent of a squirrel nearby, I might as well just be waving a ball about. Nothing competes with a squirrel. Nothing. Even on the lead, Poppy tries to chase it. If she’s off the lead, you won’t see her for dust, as I learned.

Picture the scene: It’s a sunny day and Poppy and I are in the park. I’m practising recall with Poppy off the lead. She is top of the class. I call her, she comes to me, she gets a treat, she walks on. I’m thinking, ‘Yes! I got the good dog!’ Then I call her and she runs in the opposite direction. Gulp. Okay, just give her the ‘Get here now command’ and she’ll come back. Except she didn’t. She followed scent after scent after scent. By this time I am terrified. The park is surrounded by road and all the worst thoughts are running through my head. I must have gone around the park about 15 times, asking everyone I meet if they’ve seen a little black dog. Even now, just thinking about it, I am in full panic. What if someone takes her? What if she gets hit by a car? What if she gets confused and can’t find me?

Finally, someone says they’ve seen her in the nearby school. I run over and there she is, looking like butter wouldn’t melt! Obviously, I burst into tears. Don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved in my life. I count all my lucky stars, put Poppy back on the lead and head home for a stiff G&T.

While I was incredibly lucky, lots of pet owners aren’t. In fact, 60 cats and dogs go missing in the UK every hour, which is a ridiculously high number and why I downloaded and registered Poppy with TagiApp. TagiApp is a free app which aims to unite the local community and help find lost pets and it’s just 69p to register a pet. Take a look:

With so many pets going missing, it makes sense for every pet owner and pet lover to download and use TagiApp to help bring these pets home. I know that if the unthinkable happened, and Poppy did go missing, I would really appreciate the help of as many people as possible in finding her.

TagiApp are also running a great competition at the moment. If you’re a dog owner, simply download TagiApp and register your dog before 5th November, and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a Lily’s Kitchen Starter Pack for your pooch. Win win right?!

*Disclosure: TagiApp is a client. As ever, opinions are my own.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Wayland Smithy

Despite living in Oxfordshire for a number of years, I’ve only walked around the White Horse once and I’ve never been up to Wayland Smithy. A few weekends ago, we ambitiously thought we could do both in a short amount of time. We couldn’t so we focused on Wayland Smithy. It was a lovely Sunday morning and we packed up a very excited Poppy into the car and headed off.

We were one of the first visitors to the car park and after a few minutes scrambling around the car looking for some change to pay for parking, we headed out of the car park and up the hill towards Wayland Smithy. It was a lovely walk, along chalky paths, with an amazing view of the Oxfordshire countryside.

Chalk Hills OxfordshireWayland WalkOxfordshire Dog walksDog Walks OxfordshireWayland SmithyPoppydog AdventuresBurial GroundOxfordshire Poppies

The burial ground itself is nothing like I’ve ever seen before. The area is strangely tranquil and in the most amazing place. It’s believed that 14 people were buried in the ground and that the mound on top was added at a later date. It was only used for a short period of time.

On the walk back down towards the car, we quickly learnt that Poppy doesn’t really like horses as there were a number of riders using the bridleway. Fortunately, there were a few places we could duck into in order to get Poppy out of the way. We’ll definitely be going back for a walk around the White Horse soon, though we’ll be packing a thermos to enjoy a brew with the view.

The Walk: The walk from the White Horse car park to Wayland Smithy and back isn’t very long, but you can always add in a stroll around the White Horse and there are a number of other walks to do around the area.
Cost: Completely free!
Car Park: We parked in the White Horse car park, which is run by the National Trust. There is a charge and the machine doesn’t take 5p’s and won’t take newer 10p’s. National Trust members get free parking (I think!).
Refreshments: Nope, but there are a few picnic benches in the car park with a fantastic view over Uffington.
Toilets: None.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Radley Lakes, Abingdon

A few weeks ago, we all headed over to Radley Lakes for an adventure and boy, did we get one! Radley Lakes is a lovely place to visit in itself, but there are lots of paths leading away from the lakes, enabling you to really explore the area, should you wish. We did and we had a good look around. I had plenty of opportunities to practise with my new camera and I was plenty surprised with the results!

When we arrived, we could hear the distinctive buzz of motocross bikes, which became quite annoying, until we were able to watch them from across the river later on. We went around the lake and headed out to the Thames Path so we could really explore the area. There are so many different walks, that I know we’ll go back there again and again. It’s such a tranquil area – and practically on our doorstep! Gorgeous!

From the hide Flying Ducks Radley Lakes Radley Lakes Ducks Floral PhotographyThe Lakes Abandoned Buildings Lake Cloud Reflection Lakes Poppy in the Lake Purple Flower Water Poppy

One of the highlights for me was seeing a Kingfisher for the first time ever! It was kind of blue blur, but it was pretty distinctive. The other highlight was seeing Poppy bravely entering the water so far. She’s not a fan of water but she was so intrigued by the smells that she couldn’t resist and she went in so far! Very proud dog owner moment! (At one point, I nearly fell in the lake taking pictures of Poppy in the water!)

The Walk: There are lots of different areas around Radley Lakes that are great for walking. For more information, see the Friends of Radley Lakes website.
Cost: Completely free!
Car Park: There isn’t a dedicated car park, but there are some streets nearby which are have parking. We parked in the business estate, but you could park in the Abbey Meadows car park and walk over.
Refreshments: Nope, but there are plenty of places to stop with a thermos and some homemade cake, but there are plenty of places providing refreshments in Abingdon.
Toilets: Nope, but there are some in Abingdon, should you need them.