We’ve recently collaborated with outdoor clothing brand Regatta to bring you 5 of our favourite Dog Walks in Wiltshire, with a Dog Friendly Cafe or Pub thrown in for good measure!
I’ll admit I’m a little bit biased, as I’ve lived here all my life, but I love Wiltshire.
It is the most perfect place for dog walks. Although it is a land locked county it has everything you could wish for. Woodland walks, stunning scenery, down-land, pretty towns and chocolate box villages.
As you know I have two mixed breed terriers, Poppy [my princess] who is a 13 year old Parson Russell/ Collie Cross, and Gertie who is a 20 week old Parson/ Jack Russell cross.
Although they are at different stages of their lives, they happily enjoy a walk together.
Pops had a cruciate injury a couple of years back, but can still cope with about an hour or so of exercise each day.
Gertie meanwhile, is just a pup, so I have a doggy rucksack to carry her in on longer walks. I can’t have her missing out on our adventures!
Regatta have devised a very clever doggy exercise calculator that tells you how long you should walk your dog for each day. If you want to check whether your dog is getting the right amount of exercise for their breed, why not go and sniff it out. It’s a really useful little tool and is great as a guide.
To me, most good walks should feature a cafe or a watering hole somewhere along the way! You won’t be surprised to learn that most of our favourite walks include a coffee and cake stop!
I know in the current climate, we are unable to take advantage of such luxuries. However, when the world returns to some sort of normality, we’ll all be eager to discover new places to visit with our canine companions.
In the meantime, the walks are still beautiful and Mother Nature is blooming right now.
Lacock – A National Trust Village
I had to start with Lacock as it is my all time favourite place! Just ten minutes down the road, it is my chosen destination for walkies. I feel like I’m on holiday every time we go there, it really does have a unique ambience like no other. The girls and I visit at least 3 times in the average week and never tire of its magic.
Steeped in history, Lacock Abbey is the birthplace of photography and was once home to William Henry Fox Talbot, a pioneering Victorian photographer. [It seems a little ironic as it is also my favourite place to take photos of the girls – I have literally hundreds!]
Wandering around the village is like stepping back in time 200 years. With cute chocolate box cottages and a plethora of gift shops, pubs and cafes, it is the perfect place to while away an afternoon.
For our usual walk, we park in the car park next to The Red Lion pub and walk through the fields that surround the Abbey, or over the foot bridge to the far meadows. Poppy loves to splash about in the river, when the weather allows, and there are also lots of open fields for the girls to stretch their legs in.
There are often sheep grazing, or sometimes cattle, but they are rarely in every field, so there’s always some opportunity to let the dogs have a good run around.
There are number of routes around the village, and you can make the walk as long or as short as you wish. Whichever route we take, we usually finish off with a dip in the ford. It’s great to clean off after a muddy walk before embarking on our journey home. [No pun intended!]
We normally can’t resist stopping at the National Trust Tea Rooms. They serve the best cheese scones ever and there is dog-friendly seating inside and out. Even if I’m on my own with the girls, we usually have to stop and share a little bite, even if it’s just an ice cream!
Castle Combe is just 20 minutes down the road from Lacock. It is somewhere that holds so many cherished, childhood memories for me.
It’s just 10 minutes from the village I grew up in, Hullavington, and it really is the epitome of the quintessential English village. Cutesy honey-coloured cottages frame the high street, and it’s no surprise it is renowned as being one of the prettiest villages in the country.
Much like Lacock, it has been used as the backdrop for many period dramas and you can see why.
There are a couple of walks around Castle Combe. My favourite of which is about 6km. For this walk, we park in the signposted car park at the top of the village. The route takes you through a beautiful parkland golf course, then on to a picturesque woodland path that runs alongside a babbling stream.
The route can get extremely muddy in wet weather. However, in the Summer it is perfect, offering lots of shade and the chance for the girls to dabble their paws in the water to cool off.
The circular walk takes around an hour and a quarter, walked at a leisurely pace, and offers stunning views of the valleys and surrounding countryside.
We always finish our walk with a visit to our favourite cafe, The Old Stables Tea Rooms.
Run by Phily and Yaz it serves the best coffee, not to mention homemade cakes to die for! The girls are usually treated to a little dish of doggy biscuits, and dogs are welcome inside and out.
Bradford On Avon
Who doesn’t love a canal walk? Bradford on Avon is probably one of the most dog-friendly towns in the area.
With parks, rivers and the canal path, there is plenty to explore. I love nothing more than a stroll along the tow path on a Sunday morning. Nosing at all the brightly coloured barges and admiring the slower pace of life enjoyed by their inhabitants.
Providing you have good recall, and it’s not too busy, dogs can remain off the lead for the majority of the walk.
There are plenty of dog-friendly pubs in the town, one of our favourite being The Cross Guns at Avoncliff. This pub provides the ideal pit stop at the end of the tow path. It also boasts a beautiful garden in which to sit and watch the world go by.
In the centre of the town is The DogHouse. I kid you not, this is place is doggy heaven on Earth! With dog accessories galore, a grooming parlour, and a cafe serving puppachinos, this place is a must visit if you’re in the area.
We often meet up with our lovely friends Melissa, Mitzi and Heidi from The Somerset Sausage here, and happily while away an hour, or three!
Just over the Wiltshire border, in Gloucestershire is Westonbirt. Pops and I have spent many a day here and it’s safe to say it’s one of our favourite places.
Home to over 2500 different species of trees from all over the world, there are acres of woodland and walking trails to explore.
Westonbirt has two areas of woodland, the Arboretum and Silk Wood. It is Silk Wood that is dog-friendly. Although it’s very popular with dog owners, there’s always somewhere to escape the crowds.
Pops isn’t particularly fond of other dogs, so I tend to stick clear of other walkers if I can when I’m out with the girls.
Although Westonbirt is famous for its magical display of Autumn colours, it is beautiful all year round. It’s the perfect place to pack up a picnic and make a day of it. Or, if you’d rather, enjoy a bite to eat in the cafe after your walk. I can highly recommend the soup on a chilly Winter’s day to warm the cockles.
Morgan’s Hill Nature Reserve
Just a stones throw from the famous Cherhill White Horse is Morgan’s Hill Nature Reserve.
There are so many different walking routes you can take around this area. We park at the Small Grain Picnic Area (just off the A361 Devizes road) and start our walk from there.
It’s a little more off the beaten track, so it only tends to be locals who know about it. Therefore, it’s one of our quieter walking routes.
The walk starts on a byway, which if you follow it, eventually takes you to the Cherhill Monument. However, we normally veer off and take the path that leads to the down-lands and the nature reserve. The views from the top are just stunning and you can see for miles.
If I’m in no rush, I’ll usually take a minute or two just to sit and admire the view. Meanwhile the girls will enjoy a mid-walkies drink.
I love the downs. Nothing beats a good old hike across the rolling Wiltshire countryside, whatever the weather. There are no cafes on this walk, unfortunately [although probably good for the waistline].
However if you head into the nearby town of Calne, [my stomping ground!] there are couple of cafes that welcome dogs outside. There is also the Lansdowne Arms Hotel in the centre of the town that serves the best cream tea there is!
We hope we have inspired you with some of our favourite local walks. If you have any Wiltshire walks you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear about them.
Woofs and Wags
Kate, Pops and Gertie