Our partner the Woodland Trust has over 1,000 woodland playgrounds for you and your dogs to explore. Here Andy Bond from the Woodland Trust, who has a spaniel called Alfie, outlines eight of his favourite woods for dog walking...
Woods are a great place to visit, explore and relax in when you’re on your hols – and they’re a great day out for your canine friends too. Your furry friends will love the sights, sounds, smells and freedom they bring.
Before you explore the best woods for dog walking, take a paws and have a look at the Woodland Trust’s doggy Go Pro video to get you inspired:
1. Pressmennan Wood, Stenton, near Dunbar, Scotland
There’s so much for dogs to explore here - a lake, a sculpture trail and amazing views towards the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock as well as ancient oaks and deer, hares, bats, otters and owls.
2. Fingle Woods, fringes of Dartmoor, England
This is a fabulous ancient woodland on the southern side of the steep Teign Valley. It’s jointly owned by the Woodland Trust and the National Trust and is undergoing extensive restoration. Look out for kingfishers, otter, birds of prey, fallow and roe deer.
3. Coed-y-Wenallt, near Cardiff, Wales
This ancient woodland has all kinds of birds and wildlife to see and hear. If you go there in the spring, there’s an amazing sea of bluebells and you have to be really unlucky not to hear a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
4. Cabin Wood, Killymoon, Northern Ireland
This river-edged tranquil woodland was once part of the Killymoon Castle estate. Follow its all-ability circular stone path through the mix of ancient woodland and newer planting and you’ll find stunning wildflower displays in spring, spectacular views of the castle and countryside, abundant wildlife, and rich autumn colour.
5. Martinshaw Wood, close to Ratby and Groby, Leicestershire, England
This is a great big woodland for dogs to run around in. There's over 254 acres for dogs and interest for historians too to explore. Martinshaw Wood is an ancient woodland that can be traced back to at least the 13th century, perhaps even as far as the Domesday Book, plus there’s 36 different species of trees.
6. Marsons Wood, close to Preston, England
Marsons Wood has an amazing sea of colour in bluebell season. Mid-April to early June is usually a good time to see the bluebells at their best.
7. Hackfall, edge of Yorkshire Dales, England
Visit this ancient woodland and you'll see it restored to its former glory with grottos and glades, rustic temples and waterfalls as well as lots of birds. You may even see a kingfisher or hear the whistle of an otter.
8. Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, England
This is a vast, beautiful new forest evolving from what was once an oilseed rape field to an estate of native woodland. There are new wildflower meadows, a community orchard in the making and lots of fantastic wildlife.
So, these are just a few of our favourite woods for dog walking across the country, but there’s many more.
Our members help us to keep our woods beautiful – you can help us too. Join today for just £3 a month and you can receive a guide to all of the Trust’s woods – and get inspired for your next adventure with your furry friend. You’ll also receive a tree dedicated to you, four Broadleaf magazines a year and regular email updates.
*Just a quick note, please be aware that generally there are no bins so don’t forget to pick up the poop!