We have handed the blog over again this week to bring you the best Dog walks! This week our Grooming assistant Lilly is sharing her favourite walks with her Dog Hec.
Hello! I’m Lilly and I work in the groomers at Hounds.Ever since I got my cheeky cockapoo, Hector (he usually goes by Hec, quite fitting as we’re often saying “flipping heck…”), I knew I’d need to do big walks, adventures in different areas and lots of training as he is definitely more cocker than poo.
Also, cockapoos are mad (in a lovely way, of course) in general so making sure they get enough exercise is key. I know it is with Hec, anyway!All the locations in this post are dog-friendly all year round but as always, keep them on a lead where possible and always scoop up that poop.
We have done a mix of local and national walkies for you so read on for some inspo...
Swynnerton Woods - Swynnerton, Staffordshire
Swynnerton Woods can be found just a mile down the road from Hanchurch Woods, not too far from Trentham and kind of on the way to Market Drayton and Stafford.It’s a huge woodland area and is looked after by the Forestry Commission.
Hec and his dog dad love wandering around here and they usually clock up 4 miles in just over an hour.
There’s a mix of flat paths that loop around the wood nicely or if you’re anything like Hec and his dad, lots of winding and steep ones too.
Swynnerton is generally very quiet too, it’s very rare that we will run into other dogs so if you have a dog that needs their own space for whatever reason but still likes to explore, this is the one for them! You will come across the odd mountain biker or cross country runner and maybe one other person with a dog within an hours walk.The only toilets close by is nature’s toilet and for dogs only but, you’re no more than 20 minutes from Newcastle Town Centre or Stoke City Centre.
Parking is along a layby opposite the entrance of the woods (don’t block the gate!) and there’s plenty of room for cars to go past on the country lane.
Maer’s Wood - Baldwin’s Gate, Staffordshire
On the route out of Newcastle and towards Shropshire, and not too far from Swynnerton, is Maer’s Wood. This is another pawfectly peaceful walk as we’ve visited lots of times and probably only seen a handful of other people.This is one of our favourite walks to bring Hounds’ Shop Dog Ubba along when he has his playdates with Hec.
With a good range of paths for all human and dog abilities, it’s the pawfect stroll for any dog but especially those that need to run off some steam! Mountain bikers do also enjoy the woods so do be careful of the paths that have been put together by them, you can easily spot them as they’re along the steeper hills with man-made ramps in the middle.We also LOVE Maer’s Wood as even when it’s been a hot day, it stays quite cool and the ground is also slightly damp which feels lovely on their paws, it’s definitely one to do very early morning or later in the evening during the summer.
Similar to Swynnerton, there are no toilets but it is only 25 minutes away from Newcastle town centre.There isn’t official car parking but, there’s a small layby (big enough for 3 cars to parallel park) opposite the crooked style but don’t block the gate! It is a public footpath but the field is manned by the local farms and they require access to the gates at all times.
Keele Woods - Keele, StaffordshireSituated behind Keele Hall and on the University Campus is Keele woods. I especially love this one as there are 4 - 5 small-medium lakes to wander around and Keele Hall gives me ‘Worst Witch’ vibes (if anyone is old enough to remember that…).
This is a walk that we bring Ubba on too, it’s easy to keep an eye on both of those rascals there and it’s not too big or intimidating to walk around.
Some parts do get super muddy so wear walking boots or shoes that you don’t mind getting mucky.
There are lots of paths to choose from but if you stick to looping around the lakes, it’s around 45 minutes - an hour. If you want to head deeper into the woods before coming back to the lakes, it can be as long as 90 minutes.
Parking is free on the Students Union after 5 pm in the week and all day on weekends.
Hec and Ubba rate Keele woods 100/10.
Barlaston Downs - Barlaston, Staffordshire
On the way to Stone and Stafford from Stoke is the small village of Barlaston. This particular walk is a National Trust property and is loved by all dog walkers!
There’s a lovely stream that runs through the middle of it, I bet you can guess who loves sploshing about in there, a path that runs along a hill and a field area which is great for fans of fetch. We like to go to Barlaston when it is a little quieter so we can let Hec run around off lead without worrying that he will bother another dog. It’s also the perfect place to go in the evening when it’s been too warm to head out in the day.
There’s an official car park over the ford and to the left and a smaller parking area at the main gate.Be warned, cattle do graze and wander at Barlaston so if your dog isn’t a fan or may get too curious, keep them on a short lead.
We spend around an hour walking along the stream, up the hill and on the higher-up path that runs parallel but, you could easily spend a few hours here rambling and letting your dog play.
Apedale Country Park, Chesterton, Newcastle under Lyme
Off the back of the Loomer Road industrial estate and towards the Silverdale Country Park is Apedale.Once an old mine (which has a museum that humans can visit), it’s now a wildlife conservation park and makes for wonderful walkies for all dogs.
There are lots of paths to choose from including even, flat and wider ones for dogs and owners of all abilities. And there are some excellent winding woodland paths with great muddy puddles.When you head to Apedale, you also need to head to the wheel which is a memorial and makes a great photo backdrop too.
It’s only 10 minutes from Newcastle town centre and less than 5 minutes back onto the A34 with ample free parking.
This is another one that Hec and Ubba love, they also rate this one 100/10.
Parrot's Drumble - Talke, Staffordshire
Parrot’s Drumble was a very new place for me to visit but, Hec’s dog dad used to ride his bike around there when he was little!
A soggy Hec after jumping into a pond...
For those who know Talke, or have ever been to Freeport, it’s on the road that bends around and behind it. If you blink, you miss it.There’s a very small layby for cars to pull up on and it’s a nice 45 minute walk around. There’s a lot of wildlife conservation there too, small ponds and the river looks like Irn Bru due to the clay in the mud!
It’s around 5 minutes from the A500 and just a couple of minutes drive from the Freeport shopping Centre.
Rudyard Lake - Rudyard, Staffordshire Moorlands
Rudyard Lake, which famous Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling was named after, is close to the market town of Leek.It’s a huge reservoir and the entire walk totals up to around 4 miles if you do the full lap. There’s a steady flat path which runs alongside the small railway line and more woodland style one closer to the water.
Rudyard is the first place that Hec had a swim, you can see a hilarious video on his Instagram, and he thought it was great.
We’ve never checked it out but, they do have dog water training on certain nights of the week too!It’s another one of those places which is a bit of a drive out but totally worth it for the views and if it’s been hot, it’s awesome on a late summer evening.
There is a small cafe on the lake as well as the Rudyard Hotel Pub (which is dog friendly) that has lots of parking spaces.
Ffrith Beach - Prestatyn, North Wales
This beach is where I spent a lot of my school holidays growing up as my nana lived over the road. We’d also walk her old golden retrievers, Cassie and Belle, on the beach too!
Now we have Hec, we’ve taken him a few times and it’s one of the cleanest, dog-friendly beaches I’ve been to. It’s super spacious and quiet so you don’t need to worry about letting your dog off and them getting distracted. It’s around 10 minutes drive from Talacre beach too but, we find this one to be quite busy and we don’t get to let Hec off to play fetch on there.
It’s around a 90-minute drive from Stoke on Trent but, if you’re headed to Conwy, Rhyl or Bangor, it’s a good little stop-off point.
Scafell Pike and Millom - The Lake District
This year, we (Hec and I) did our first mountain walk!
His dog dad absolutely loves walking up the peaks, and we have done a few scrambles around the Roaches and Lake District but, we decided now was the time that we let Hec go up.Scafell is situated by Wast Water and it’s the highest peak in England. The walk took us around 6 hours (4 up, 2 down with stopping for water and food too) and it’s incredible.
If you are into your big mountain walks or like the idea of it, we really recommend it. It’s totally dog friendly (as is the Wasdale Head Inn at the bottom of the mountain!), there’s a mix of paths but, do be prepared.
Harnesses, training leads (do not let your dog go up off-lead!), poo bags and something to carry the poo bags in as there’s no bins, portable water bowls and lots of snacks and really good walking boots are essential.
And for New Years a couple of years ago, we stayed in the Lakes, a village called Millom which is about an hour away from Coniston Water. The Lakes is a beautiful area with lots of great walks and public footpaths, you just need to make sure you’re well equipped for any kind of weather!
We could easily talk for hours and hours about the great walks and dog-friendly spots we love, and if you really want me to, I will! Here are a few more places that we have been to that we think you and your pooch will love:
We hope you loved this weeks post and it has given you some ideas for Dog walks.
Big thanks to Lilly and Hec of course for taking the time to put together this blog post!
Let us know in the comments if you visit any of these places or if you have any other recommendations.
The Cloud - Congleton, Cheshire
Tegg’s Nose Country Park - Macclesfield, Cheshire
Altrincham Market - Altrincham, Cheshire
Cromer - Norfolk (only dog friendly from October - March!)
Conwy - North Wales
York - Yorkshire
The Roaches - Peak District, Derbyshire