A survey of 2,000 UK dog owners by Devon-based natural pet food producer Forthglade has discovered the most popular UK destinations for days out and dog walks – with the Yorkshire Dales taking first place in the top 40.
Many of the preferred places for a dog walk were found to be beside the sea (44%), with the South West being home to many top spots. Cornwall provided two places in the top five, while Devon also featured several times in the list with Doone Valley and Baggy Point.
It also emerged that three in 10 owners enjoyed strolls by lakes, with the Lake District’s Derwentwater coming second in the top 40. A further 39% opt for walks in a forest, while 28% chose national parks.
Over half of the top 40 locations in the survey are cared for, or partially cared for by Europe’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust. The charity, in partnership with Forthglade, has launched the Dogs Welcome Project, which is committed to making sure everyone is welcome, whether they are a visitor with a dog – or looking to avoid dogs! The project is also improving the facilities for canine visitors and their humans.
The survey also found that the choice of dog walk destination was heavily influenced by how safe it was for pups (46%), if there was adequate space for them to be let off a lead (29%) and if it was somewhere to connect with nature (26%).
Places with free parking, dog-friendly cafés and somewhere for the dog to swim are also likely to impact on where dog walkers spend the day.
The survey, commissioned by OnePoll, also found that during the pandemic, 46% said dog walking helped their physical and mental health.
Gerard Lovell, joint managing director of Forthglade, said: “We’re lucky to have so many picturesque places in the UK to enjoy walks with dogs.
“It’s important both owners and canine companions enjoy connecting with nature and discovering new places further afield from their usual route.
“If there’s one thing that we’ve learnt this year, it’s that dogs have become even more precious to people, and are a true extension of the family – and daily walks and exercise with them hugely benefits the physical and mental wellbeing of both parties, nurturing deeper bonds between dogs and their owners.
To celebrate and help nurture this, we’ve partnered with the National Trust on their Dogs Welcome project to help people enjoy National Trust locations with their canine companions.”
The poll also revealed that nearly half (49%) have even chosen holiday locations based on the suitability for their pet, seeking out dog-friendly accommodation (61%), beaches (59%) and nearby walking spaces (55%).
And a quarter believe they get equally as excited for a walk as their dog – with 41% admitting they wouldn’t be as fit if they didn’t have their pet.
Half also said they actively looked for new places to visit, with 40% finding a different walk more exciting than sticking to the same one.
To inspire dog owners to enjoy a new route, adventurer Simon Reeve has teamed up with Forthglade and the National Trust to create video content transporting viewers for a stunning dog walk in Arlington Court in Devon – a Regency house set in a picturesque garden.
TV adventurer and keen dog walker Simon Reeve said: “As someone who absolutely adores my two dogs, the outdoors, and a wander around a glorious National Trust property, I am delighted to help unveil the Dogs Welcome Project.
“I think it’s brilliant that the team at Forthglade and the National Trust are working to ensure dogs and their humans are even more welcome at so many of the Trust’s properties, whilst also making sure there’s space for people who may not always want a dog bounding around them.
“I’ve been feeding my dogs on Forthglade for several years to make sure they have all the energy and goodness they need, and through enjoying dog walks, my dogs have taught me how to be more present, aware of nature, and draw fulfilment from every precious moment spent outdoors.”
The National Trust’s Dog Welcome Project Manager, Ceinwen Paynton, said: “Working together with Forthglade gives us a great opportunity to focus on our members with dogs and how to make visits even better for them, while balancing that with access for other visitors and nature conservation.
“We recognise that a large proportion of our members are dog owners- with this increasing over the last 2 years- and what an important way of accessing nature and green spaces dogs can be.”
Top 40 most scenic dog walking routes:
1.. Yorkshire Dales.
2.. Derwentwater, Lake District .
3.. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset.
4.. Lizard Point, Cornwall.
5.. Holywell beach, Cornwall.
6.. Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
7.. Ullswater, Cumbria.
8.. Glastonbury Tor, Somerset.
9.. Holkham Beach, Norfolk.
10. The Roaches, Peak District.
11.. Richmond Park, London .
12.. The Seven Sisters, South Downs.
13.. Durham Coast, Durham .
14.. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
15.. The Langdales, Cumbria.
16.. Pen y Fan, Wales.
17.. Rhosili Bay, South Wales
18.. Doone Valley, North Devon
19.. Golden Cap, Dorset.
20.. Cragside, Northumberland
21.. Sheringham Park, Norfolk
22.. Clifton Downs, Bristol.
23.. Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight
24.. Kinmel Bay, Wales.
25.. Baggy Point, North Devon.
26.. Clent Hills, Worcestershire
27.. Bath Skyline Walk, Bath.
28.. Hengistbury Head, Dorset
29.. Hatfield Forest, Essex.
30.. Heaven’s Gate, Wiltshire.
31.. Orwell Country Park, Ipswich .
32.. Lyme, Cheshire .
33.. Blicking Estate, Norfolk.
34.. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
35.. Flatford, Suffolk.
36.. Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge
37.. Whiteford Burrows, North Gower Coast
38.. Laverstock Down, Salisbury .
39.. Green Chain Walk, London .
40.. Attingham Park, Shropshire.