Dog-friendly walks in Warwickshire
- Credit: ©Warwickshire County Council
Fresh open countryside, spacious parks, breezy hills, leafy woodlands – you’ll find lots of different trails to get tails wagging around Warwickshire. Whether you’re a local looking to explore more widely, a day-tripper or short-breaker, share some of these walks with the dog in your life – with pooch-friendly pubs and eateries en route
1 Burton Dassett Hills Country Park
Burton Dassett Hills Country Park is all about far, far-reaching views from rugged, rolling ironstone hills rising to 667ft (203m) and about deep lungfuls of fresh air and doggy legs running as fast as they can. Explore 100 acres of freedom, sprinkled with historical curiosities such as the hilltop beacon (which could once have been a windmill) and quarry remains. Information points across the area provide insights.
A 3-mile (5km) circular tour will give you a good, breezy taste of the park’s wide, open spaces. Drop into The Red Lion pub at Northend at the foot of the Dassett Hills, which can provide water bowls and treats for dogs – and real ale and good honest food for their human friends.
2 Aston Cantlow
Did you know that Shakespeare mentions ‘dog’ or ‘dogs’ more than 200 times in his plays, and that isn’t even counting words like ‘hound’ or ‘puppy’. Just a titbit to chew over on this 6-mile (9.7km) circular walk, which begins and ends at The King’s Head pub in Aston Cantlow. Will’s parents were married in the village church here in 1557 and reputedly held their wedding breakfast in the pub, hence the Shakespearian flavour to your outing.
So, your ‘dog will have his day’ (Hamlet), trotting with you along fields towards the Rough Hills, swinging along to Newnham and following the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal to Wootton Wawen, before heading back along the River Alne to Aston Cantlow. Highlights en route include the Edstone Aqueduct, claimed as the longest cast-iron aqueduct in England at 475ft (145m). All well-behaved doggies are welcome in the bar dining rooms of The King’s Head where, on occasion, there are as many hounds as humans.
3 Baddesley Clinton and Hay Wood
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Moated manor to wildlife safari
From the delightful grounds of a moated manor house to wildlife-rich woodlands, this 2-mile (3km) walk is a waggy-tale of two halves. Much of picturesque Baddesley Clinton (National Trust) that you see today was built in the late 1500s and is full of stories about priest-hunters and hiding-places. The grounds – dogs on leads are welcome in the car park and on public footpaths across the estate – include woodland trails, a lake and walled garden.
Your walk leads into the adjacent Hay Wood, where you can get away from it all on trails through ancient woodland. Look out for foxgloves, bluebells, birds, butterflies, rabbits and Muntjac deer. Pooch-friendly pubs nearby include Tom O’The Wood at Rowington, which prides itself on serving fresh, homemade food, sourced from local suppliers and farms. If you’re dining with your four-legged friend, choose the conservatory.
4 Kenilworth Circular
Castle grounds and town saunter
Put your best paw forward on this 2-mile (3km) circular wander around Kenilworth, strolling through the castle grounds and town. From the castle car park, follow footpaths around the romantic ruins and beautiful Elizabethan Gardens, then pick up the pace for a race into Abbey Fields Park before dawdling along the pretty Finham Brook. St Nicholas Church and the ruins of the ancient gatehouse of the medieval Abbey of St Mary are worth a browse before you saunter along the pleasant footpaths back to the car park.
If you want to extend your walk, you can always keep going along the Finham Brook and explore waymarked trails through Kenilworth Common Nature Reserve – look out for kingfishers on the brook. Short or long walk: options for refreshments in town include the 16th-century Virgins & Castle on the High Street, serving delicious pub food including vegetarian and vegan choices. Dogs are very welcome in the snugs or in the heated beer garden throughout the day, with dog bowls and dog treats on offer.
5 Pooley Country Park
(Re)bounding with Nature
Pooley Country Park, Polesworth, is a wonderful example of how Nature rebounds to heal the workings of industry, in this case the old Pooley Hall Colliery (later the North Warwickshire Colliery) that closed in the 1960s. Today’s 150-acre green and peaceful site on the Coventry Canal offers a refreshing escape into woodland and poolside habitats, with a third of the park designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Paths once used by miners are now used for recreation and the stunning 40ft-high (12m) Gold Leaf landmark sculpture celebrates the park’s regeneration.
Here’s a 6-mile (9.7km) walk around the park that will have your dog bounding along with Nature. Beginning and ending at the family-friendly, dog-friendly The Samuel Barlow pub overlooking Alvecote Marina and the Coventry Canal, the route takes in a number of pretty pools (originally caused by mining subsidence), the ruins of medieval Alvecote Priory, and oodles of space in which to run around. If the weather is nice, make the most of the pub’s large beer garden – with a suitably tired Fido snoozing at your feet.
6 Coombe Abbey Park
As the mood takes you
With 500 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, lakeside walks and ‘Capability’ Brown landscaping, Coombe Abbey Park, near Coventry, is ideal for days out for both family and furry friends – dogs on leads are welcome and are also allowed off-lead to exercise in signposted areas.
Come for an hour or several, as the mood takes you: following numerous walking trails, enjoying waterside scenes and a sense of gentle adventure amid the trees. There are also splendid views of Coombe Abbey, whose story entwines with the Gunpowder Plot. Pack a picnic to bring with you and share in the park, or pick up snacks at the dog-friendly café. Water bowls are also provided at the visitor centre.
For more, check out the full list on the new Visit Warwickshire website here.