Like any good labrador, Berry loves nothing better than to stretch her legs somewhere new. Living in Dorset gives her the chance to survey some of the finest English scenery including the Jurassic coast, Hambledon Hill and Stourhead. Today she is going to share with us some of her favourite dog walking destinations in Dorset.
Starting on the coast.
I love a quick dip in the sea, especially in the summer when it is imperative to cool down my heavy black coat. The owner gets a little upset and has had to buy a plastic tray for the boot of her car which is dreadful. I end up slipping all over the shop when she speeds down the country lanes on the way home. All because I get a little bit wet and smelly from a good swim! From October to April you can have dogs off the lead on the beach. Sandbanks beach is a never-ending playground for dogs with dunes at the back and views over to the Isle of Wight on a clear day.
Alfred's Tower is an exceptional place to go for a walk because it pleases both dogs and their owners. As part of a National Trust property at Stourhead, you can head up to the tower for free and walk for miles and miles on grass and through some excellent forests. The humans meanwhile can empty their pockets and pay to look round the main house and gardens which apparently are quite interesting. Sometimes in the summer, there is a cake stall in one of the follies which means you can get a little food halfway around the lake. If people are kind enough to drop some on the ground that is.
The lighthouse at the bottom of Portland Bill has saved many a human and quite possibly the odd dog from extinction when sailing around the Isle of Portland. It is a pretty remote place and unlike Sandbanks doesn't offer much chance for a swim but what it does offer is amazing views and lots of different surfaces to explore. You can opt for many different distances of walk including a twelve-mile circumference of the island through to a quick stumble through the many lighthouses that dot the southernmost tip. The Visit Dorset website has a good selection of walks to chose from.
Keeping with the coastal theme, Tyneham is a bit of a hidden gem on the Jurrasic Coast. Tyneham is an abandoned village used to practice for the D-Day landings in the Second World War. You park in the free car park to which owners can make a donation and then head down the footpath to the beach. About two miles down this track the coastline opens up and has tonnes of features to explore. Like any good Labrador, I love to pop into the sea for a quick swim followed by a trek up to the highest point overlooking the bay. As you can see from the photo its a spectacular spot with 360 views of caves, bays and out to sea.
In Berry's home village of Child Okeford sits Hambledon Hill. Recently acquired by the National Trust this is a magnificent Iron age hillfort that dominates the landscape and dwarfs the village below it. You can just pop up and down one side or do a full circumference and add in lunch at the Cricketers or Baker Arms in Child Okeford. Parking is not great but once you have found a space its time to let yourself go and charge around the ridges of the hill. The best thing is I know loads of other dogs that regularly mount the peaks of Hambledon, as such, it makes it a very social place for a bit of social sniffing. The Baker Arms is dog-friendly and they hand out treats when your owner isn't looking.
I hope you enjoyed my top 5 dog walks in Dorset. Next time we will be following Holly on her favourites which include Washer's Pit and anywhere there might be a pheasant....