There are many reasons why I love being with my dogs and one of them is definitely the adventures we share together during our walks. The UK is thankfully filled with incredible places to walk our dogs, so when Tesco Bank asked us to share our favourites with you, we jumped at the chance! As well as two of our favourite dog walks, I’m going to share 3 tips about how to keep your dog safe during walkies. Collar and lead at the ready?! Let’s go…
WALK ONE – SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
WHERE IS IT?
Located in South Oxford, Shotover Country Park is truly a hidden gem. This is one of the many reasons why I love it. The surrounding area is very residential so you may think “am I really going to find a Country Park here?!!” The answer though is an emphatic, yes! Once you reach the end of Old Road, a little narrow hill takes you away from the hustle and bustle and leads you up to a haven of tranquility and beautiful views…
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
Upon arrival to the large (free) car park you’ll see a mixture of wide open spaces, woodland and far reaching views across Oxford. It really is a feast for your eyes! But where do you start?! Spot the large Shotover sign near the car park, as to the right of it, you’ll find a helpful board with a huge map of the area, as well as leaflets for you to take with you. This includes a map to help you discover the best of this beautiful walk (well worth taking with you!)
There are three designated walking trails (and they are all beautiful!)
- The Red Route: approximately 30 minute walk
- The Yellow Route: approximately 45 minute walk
- The Green Route: approximately 2 hour walk
TOP TIP > Dogs are free to roam off lead at Shotover Country Park, but ensure your dog has good recall! They may be tempted to explore a bit too much as there are so many things to explore and lots of wildlife to spot!
WHY DO WE LIKE IT?
The great thing about Shotover is every twist and turn can lead you to a new type of landscape! One minute you’ll be walking through a lush meadow, the next you’re surrounded by a bevy of beautiful trees as you find yourself in the heart of ancient woodland. There’s something for everyone here, so if you can’t decide what type of walk you fancy with your pooch, this is an ideal destination, as there is such a good variety!
TOP TIP > Spring & Summer are particularly stunning here as the woodland is carpeted with wildflowers, including bluebells.
WALK TWO – BLENHEIM PALACE
WHERE IS IT?
Blenheim Palace is located in the picturesque village of Woodstock in Oxfordshire. Many of you may have been here for events such as Countryfile Live, but did you know you can enjoy exploring some of the grounds with your dog during other times of the year too?
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
Being set within the grounds of Blenheim Palace, it’s safe to say you can expect some breathtaking views while walking your dog here. Whilst dogs are not allowed everywhere, there are two clear walking routes within the grounds and the area feels very dog friendly.
1. The Queen Pool Walking Route – This is a circular route which is around 1.5 miles (approx. 45 minutes). As part of this, you’ll take in the view of Vanbrugh’s Grand Bridge and the Column of Victory as well as the stunning Queen Pool.
2. The Park Perimeter Walking Route – This route is around 4.6 miles (approx. 2 hours) and takes you along part of the Queen Pool route as well as the wider area. Please note part of this walk has steep slopes, so ensure you and your dog are prepared (see the end of our blog post for details!)
TOP TIP > If you’re able to arrive as soon as the gates open (9am) or before last entry (4.45pm with gates closing at 6.30pm) these are the times when the park is at it’s quietest (and in my opinion, the best!)
WHY DO WE LIKE IT?
Being given the opportunity to walk your dog in such a beautiful setting as Blenheim Palace is something which should be grasped tightly with both hands (or four paws!) Unlike Shotover, there is an initial cost BUT once you’ve paid for a full entry ticket (£24.90 for an Adult) you can then convert this to a free Annual Pass!! This means you can keep returning for the entire year ahead with your four-legged friend at no extra cost. You could even make a day of it by bringing a picnic to enjoy during your walk! What could be better?
I never bore of the views here, plus you’re often joined by wildlife (geese, ducks, pheasants to name a few!) Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times here, but there’s so much to see and sniff, Ted and Millie don’t mind at all (I think they like to pretend they live in Blenheim Palace!)
KEEPING YOUR DOG SAFE DURING WALKIES
Sometimes the unexpected can happen, even when enjoying a special walk with our four-legged friends. There are obviously key things to have with you during walks. Here are our Top 3:
1) WATER: Lots of running around and exploring can be thirsty work, so always ensure you have water for your dog either during or at least at the end of your walk. I have a spare bowl in my car and a bottle of water (but I’m also due to invest in a portable bowl too).
2) FIRST AID KIT: Accidents can happen, so always carry a small dog first aid kit with you. Why not sign up for a dog first aid course as well? (I’m going to!) It’s worth being aware some dogs may be prone to certain injuries than others too. Do you know what injuries your dog could be prone to? Tesco Bank has some handy online breed guides which includes specific tips to be aware of when walking and owning your particular breed of dog.
3) DETAILS OF VET: If you’re walking in an unfamiliar area, it’s always a good idea to find out the details of a local veterinary practice nearby. Have their number on your phone in case of an emergency.
So wherever you choose to enjoy walkies with your dog, make sure it’s a place you all enjoy. We’d love to know where your favourite walks are, so do pop us a comment below!
Sarah, Ted & Millie xxx
*Thank you to Tesco Bank for collaborating with us on this post