Put your best paw forward with our pick of Cornwall’s top dog places
- Credit: Archant
Dog columnist Alexandra Pearce heads to the Tamar Valley in search of the perfect Cornish stroll with her dog
Just outside Callington and looming across the Tamar Valley, Kit Hill Country Park stretches over 400 acres of heathland. Significant due to its incredible views and fascinating history, it is an exciting place to explore with your four-legged friend. Cornwall County Council, which was gifted the hill by the Duchy of Cornwall to mark the birth of Prince William, has made walking here easy with a trail marked by granite posts. The trail will take around two hours to complete, or you can make your own way.
Kit Hill is a wonderful place to enjoy the colour; a patchwork of heather in the autumn, then the golden-brown hues as the bracken turns with the colder weather, dotted with the yellow of the blooming gorse. But whilst this is beautiful, it does bring with it some issues; on warmer days beware of ticks and adders as both are residents of the area.
When you arrive at the base of the hill, you are met with multiple options. The road on the righthand side leads to the summit, with four parking options at varying levels so you can choose the length and difficulty of walk that suits you. If you turn immediately left, you will begin at the bottom and can make your way to the summit via a multitude of pathways that weave around the hill. There are two middle stop off points but the highest point is directly at the hill’s summit, so if you don’t fancy too much of a walk, you can still enjoy the best this area has to offer. Another big benefit is that there is a grass bowl at the top, which is a great place to let your dog off its lead for a quick run around and stretch its legs if it hasn’t had enough exercise so far!
One of the main features here is the Summit Stack, built in 1858. This chimney once helped to pump water and lift ore from the mine below, but it is also a marker as beneath here once stood a Bronze Age burial ground. But of course, the biggest attraction of this walk is the viewpoint. There are signs that give you information on what you can see, although how far depends on the visibility! One of my favourite points to pick out is Hingston Down; famed due to being the location of a battle of the Cornish and the Vikings versus the English, specifically King Ecbert of Wessex, in 838AD. This battle was significant because it was fought by King Doniert, the last King of Cornwall. The Cornish lost and years later, King Doniert drowned in the River Fowey, a moment that was recorded in Ireland as his punishment for defying the English.
If you wish to extend your walk and add some variety, then the third highest car park has a road that leads down to a nearby quarry. The quarry was once used for granite during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Now it is accessible for swimming, but both you and your dog need to be very careful if you decide to enter the water – and beware of leeches!
Rating: Easy or difficult: due to the road that leads directly to the top of the hill, you can make this walk as easy or as tricky as you like depending on your mood.
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Accessibility: There are concrete roads and paths directly to the top that are wheelchair and pushchair suitable, however a lot of the hill is not accessible.
Facilities: There are multiple car parks and bins at the very bottom of the hill.
Wildlife: ‘Kit’ is the old English word for kite, referring to the birds of prey. These days however, they are scarce in this area, but buzzards are plentiful and can often be seen circling the hilltop of looking for food. In the winter, look out for redwings and fieldfares that migrate here from Scandinavia for the colder months.
Porthcurnick beach is a short distance from the village of Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula. With sand, rockpools, nearby parking and a slipway, you can easily while away the hours here enjoying all it has to offer.
Why we love it
Perfect for walkers, beach goers and water sports enthusiasts, there is a little something for everyone at Porthcurnick. There are some stunning coastal walks and nearby fields for a little ball play, although beware of livestock roaming. You can grab lunch at the Hidden Hut or try and book yourself a space at one of their feast evenings and enjoy some delicious food whilst the sun goes down.
We’re Barking Britain
The Valley Cottages are luxury dog-friendly self-catering cottages in Truro, with woodland walks right on the doorstep. The award-winning accommodations are surrounded by countryside and only a 15-minute drive from dog-friendly beaches and offers extras to make your dog feel at home.
The Valley Cottages have recently signed up with PetsPyjamas for their ‘We’re Barking Britain’ campaign, which is designed to help get the UK’s hospitality sector back on its four paws. The new campaign is to encourage at least 10% of the nation’s 9.9 million dog owners to take their holiday in the UK in 2020 and sees dog-friendly accommodation throughout the UK offer Barking Britain petaways, from two to six nights, with local produce or a local experience being part of the break to also help support the local community. The Valley Cottages in particular is offering dog treats, bed, water bowls and towels, as well as a welcome hamper on arrival that includes a bottle of wine, and a map of the local area that points of dog walks – and dogs stay free of charge.
The Valley Cottages is just one of 120 hotels and holiday cottages part of the campaign, and with the first dog-friendly holiday booking, PetsPyjamas customers automatically become members of their Priority Paws club, which gives dogs and their owners access to their own VIP pet concierge, complimentary 24/7 vet advice from PawSquad for the duration of their trip, VIP discounts and exclusive deals. u
For more information or to book, go to PetsPyjamas.com