The five best winter dog walks in the UK

Brits are spending more time than ever in the great outdoors, and walks have become the go-to activity for many.

And whilst we might be approaching winter, this doesn’t mean that we have to hang up our walking boots – especially not if you have a dog.

For anyone looking to get out and explore the great British outdoors, Shannon Keary, Campaigns Manager at holidaycottages.co.uk, reveals the five best winter walks across the UK below, as well as the best ways to prepare your dog for winter walks.

1 Walla Crag to Ashness Bridge, Cumbria – This walk showcases some of the Lake District’s finest scenery, with stunning views across Derwent Water, one of the largest bodies of water in the Lake District, and through Skiddaw, one of the most photographed places in the Lakes.

2 Corfe Castle, Dorset – The National Trust’s Corfe Castle is one of Britain’s most iconic landmarks. If you want a short walk, wander around the village and up to the caste, but if you’re after something a little longer, walk from Corfe Castle Square to Kimmeridge Bay on the South West Coast Path.

3 Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire – An easy trail, the 5-mile Fountains Abbey Walk in Ripon is truly beautiful. You’ll walk through a medieval deer park, home to wild red, fallow, and sika deer, and the 18th century Studley Royal Water Garden that has wonderful views over Ripon and North York Moors.

4 Blakeney Freshes, Blekeney, Norfolk – Set on the stunning North Norfolk coastal path, this is an easy 3-mile walk with amazing views across the sea, marshes, and Blakeney Freshes reserve.

5 The South Loch Ness Trail, Scotland – A more challenging walk, the South Loch Ness Trail is perfect for anyone looking for a longer winter jaunt, and to catch a glimpse of Nessie along the way! Starting just outside Fort Augustus, the trail leads you past beautiful wildlife and woodland, with stunning scenes across the loch and beyond.

And if you are walking your dog this winter, here’s how to prepare your pooch for the colder temperatures:

1 Buy a pair of boots – Boots are incredibly important for walking your dog in winter. Boots help to protect your dog’s paws from the cold streets, snow and ice, which can all make your dog chilly and dry out their paws. Boots also help protect your dog’s sensitive foot pads from any salt, grit, or de-icer which again can cause harm to your dog’s paws.

2 Wrap your dog up warm – When walking in cold temperatures, it’s a good idea to consider a coat or jacket for your dog to wear to protect them against the cold air. Some dogs have a thick fur coat that naturally protects them from moisture and cooler temperatures, but for other dogs, a coat or jacket will prevent them from getting wet and cold when out on a walk.

3 Beware of antifreeze – As we defrost our cars in winter, harmful chemicals such as antifreeze can fall onto the ground and end up in any puddles, ice or snow. If your dog digests antifreeze it can be fatal, so make sure to give your dog plenty of water before your walk and bring a bowl and some fresh water with your too. This will prevent your dog from wanting to drink from any puddles, ice or snow on the ground.

4 Clip the hair between your dog’s toes – During winter, it’s vital to keep the hair between your dog’s toes clipped short. This is because water can freeze in this hair, making it painful and difficult for your dog to walk. Putting boots on your dog is another good way of preventing ice build-up on their paws.

5 Wear reflective clothes, or walk in the day – If you can, tray to walk your dog during the day so it’s warmer and lighter. If this isn’t possible, make sure you and your dog have reflective clothing and collars/leads on during your walks, so you are both visible to motorists at all times.

Shannon adds: “Walking the dog is a great way of ensuring we get out and about every day, but it’s essential to ensure our pups are prepared for walks as the days get colder and frostier. As dog owners, something as simple as a coat or pair of boots will ensure our dogs are safe and comfortable while walking in wintry conditions.

“This year certainly has its challenges, but one of the positives to come out of it is the amount of time people are spending in the Great British outdoors. That’s why we have also collated the best British Walks to enjoy with your dog this winter to inspire you to keep exploring even when the weather turns chilly.”

To find out more about the best winter walks in the UK visit www.holidaycottages.co.uk/blog/top-10-walks-winter