Tag: dog walks

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.

Dog Walks in Somerset – Cheddar Gorge

Okay, before I get going on this post, I just need to get the following out of my system. I thought the Cheddar Gorge tourist attraction was awful. Partly, because it’s not really aimed at me or my situation, but also because it’s tacky & has spoilt a quaint village with overpriced hideousness. I’m sure that if you’re a kid you think it’s ace, but at my age, it’s awful and not worth the ticket price £20! (though I can reuse my ticket any time in the next 10 years. I won’t be doing that!) Once we bought out tickets (Poppydog went free), we headed down into a cave with a hideous audio tour. I hate audio tours. I can’t explain why, but I do. Needless to say, we didn’t spend long down in the cave. I could have lived without ever going down there to be honest. Not worth it in my opinion. I don’t think you need to buy a ticket to walk the Cheddar Gorge, as there are numerous ways you can access it without having to give up your precious money. (Can you tell I’m bitter about this?!)

View from Cheddar GorgeThe walk is awesome. Hard work, but awesome. We climbed the 200+ steps to get up to the cliff top walk and it’s a non-stop climb that, at times, feels like it is never going to end. (Can I just point out that I live in Oxfordshire, which is pretty flat on the whole?!) You don’t have to go very far before you realise that the views are pretty spectacular. The walk isn’t easy, as it’s fairly rocky so you have to keep an eye on where you’re walking.

The Cheddar Gorge Poppydog at Cheddar GorgeOnce we’d got to the top, we stopped for some lunch, which consisted of Tofurkey rolls, crisps and an apple. Lush! Poppy was ace walking the whole way up. She really enjoyed the smells and, as per usual, liked getting close to the edge of the cliff. I didn’t, so kept my distance! After lunch, we headed down towards the road. This was a pretty easy descent and we spotted some wild goats having a bit to eat too.

Cheddar Gorge goats Cheddar Gorge view Walking Chedder GorgeWhen you get down to the road, you have a choice. You can either walk along the road back to the hideous tourist attraction or cross the road and climb up the other side of the gorge. Having climbed a ridiculous number of flights already, common sense would probably say ‘just head back to the car’. But that’s not what we did! Powered by Tofurkey, we headed on to the other side of the road and started to climb the opposite side of the gorge. This wasn’t particularly easy. In fact, it was fairly savage. It’s a good job I didn’t know that worse was to come, as I would probably have just set up camp and move there to avoid walking up. It’s steep, uneven and very, very high. And I fell over.

Cheddar Gorge walk The Cheddar Gorge WalkThere are some great flowers on the gorge and quite a bit of livestock, which I always love seeing. The view was breathtaking the whole way. Then you get to the descent. I was really pleased to be heading back down (the map tells you it takes two hours. This is a lie!) The final descent is terrifying. Now, I have dodgy knees and going down hills can cause me pain and I didn’t take my walking pole/stick, so I did have to go pretty slowly. But that descent is a killer. It just goes on and on, using leg muscles you never knew you had! The ground is also quite tricky, with massive tree roots and loose stones. When you get to the end, you (almost) want to kiss the ground. You definitely want to sit down and eat cake.

While the challenge of the walk was awesome, I wouldn’t do it again, just because it was so brutal. However, it does link in with the West Mendip Way, which I would be interested in walking and there is a nature reserve, which looks a little bit easier on the knees. We didn’t go into any of the shops there, as it was mega busy so we just headed back to our wigwam for a snooze and some cake.

The Walk: Brutal. It looks us about three and a half hours but we didn’t go particularly fast, plus I’m slow on hills and I fell over. We also stopped for a picnic. Having said that, you won’t want to rush it because it’s pretty awesome.
Cost: It can be free, if you go up one of the paths from the road, but if you want to climb the steps like we did (don’t!), it’ll cost you £19.95 of your hard earned pounds.
Car Park: There’s quite a bit of parking at the Gorge costing £5, but there are also lots of areas where you can park for free. If you get there late in the day, this might be your only option.
Refreshments: There’s a Costa at the tourist bit (woohoo) and about a million tea rooms (slight exaggeration!)
Toilets: There are some at the Gorge but I didn’t notice any others about.

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!

Dog Walks in South Pembrokeshire

It rained three out of the four days I was in Pembrokeshire, which is pretty standard. (I managed to get some savage sunburn on the only dry day!) This scuppered my walking plans somewhat so instead of heading up to Marloes Sands like I planned, Poppy and I headed for tried and tested Bosherston Lily Ponds. I knew they would be a bit more sheltered and with the tide out, we could enjoy Broadhaven South beach.

Bosherston Lily Ponds Bosherston LakesBosherston never disappoints. There’s always something to see and this time, there was a pair of swans with a nest full of cygnets. Despite the incessant drizzle, Poppy and I headed for Broadhaven South, where I had planned to do a spot of geocaching, but Poppy and the rain had other ideas so geocaching was abandoned in favor of hitting the beach. It was completely empty and the tide was right out, which meant I could let Poppy off the lead. She loved it! She spent the whole time running about, running back to me for treats and generally wearing herself out. If you ever get to go to this part of the world, make sure Broadhaven South is on your list of beaches to visit. It’s pretty much perfect.

Broadhaven South Broadhaven south beachWe had time before lunch with my mum and as my geocaching plans had failed, I decided to head to West Angle bay, as Poppy had never been there. Plus, as the awesome drizzle hadn’t blown away, I figured that it would be pretty quiet. And I was right!

West Angle bay Angle pembrokeshire geocaching at angle bayWest Angle bay is quite a small beach, but there are lots of rock pools to explore when the tide is out. Plus, you can get pretty good phone signal, meaning you can find out where the geocaches are hidden and I managed to find one (my first one!), pictured above. Am so proud of this! Parking here is free and there’s a lovely cafe and toilets too. There’s a decent circular walk via the coast path, but as the weather wasn’t great, I decided to leave that for another day.

spicy bean and vegetable stew Fleur the dog at South Beach Tenby South Beach TenbyAfter a quick coffee, Poppy and I headed for lunch with my mum and I’d spotted that the local tea room at the garden centre had a few vegan options. I had the spicy bean and vegetable stew on a jacket potato, which was awesome. Very filling and tasty. (It came with a side salad that had coleslaw slap bang in the middle of it, so I just ignored that!) We then headed off for a dog walk. During the summer, most of the beaches in Tenby are a no go for dogs, so we parked up at Penally train station and headed along the beach, which blends into South Beach, which is the only dog friendly beach in Tenby. You’ll know when you get to the end of it, as there are signs. Lots and lots of signs! There’s a few cafes here, where you can stop for a coffee, as well as toilets (tho they require 20p. Annoying if you’re desperate and have to rummage for change!) By this time, the drizzle had stopped and we headed back to the car. Another awesome day for my FitBit step count! Another day Poppy was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow!

Sleeping Poppydog