Running from 1st – 7th October, Walk Your Dog Week is a seven-day celebration of ‘walkies’!
Experts recommend that our four-legged-friends are given at least 30 minutes of exercise in the great outdoors each day, and there’s no reason why these walks shouldn’t be equally enjoyable for dog mums and dads too!
Here in the Cotswolds, we are hugely proud to be an official AONB site (Area of Natural Beauty) but we are also delighted to be super dog-friendly. Many shops, cafes, attractions and hotels in the Cotswolds welcome dogs, including our own eight country house hotels.
Whether you’re coming for a day trip or staying for a weekend, you’d be barking mad to miss out on dog-walking in the Cotswolds. Here’s a ‘ruff’ guide to some of our favourites…
Located just outside of Tetbury, Westonbirt is home to the National Arboretum; a 600-acre collection of trees from around the globe (around 15,000 in total!) Unlike most other Arboretums, Westonbirt was designed by its founder to be aesthetically-pleasing rather than displaying the trees and shrubs in botanical order. Although part of the Arboretum is a dog-free zone, Silk Wood forms two-thirds of the area and welcomes four-legged-friends!
Walking trails, dog bins and bags are available on site – with water and treats happily provided by the Café. Dogs are also welcome to cross the Stihl Treetop Walkway with you – a gently sloping bridge from the entrance area through the treetops. Along the walkway you’ll find fun facts and guessing games to keep children entertained too.
Westonbirt Arboretum is famed for its bright and colourful vistas during Autumn, so a brilliant place to go this Walk Your Dog Week! And if you happen to be staying at The Hare & Hounds or Close Hotel, you can pick up discounted tickets from Reception!
Alternatively, to arrange a stay that includes a trip to the Arboretum, please see our Autumn Colours package.
Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons
You can find this pair of popular National Trust commons just outside of Stroud in Gloucestershire. They are most well known for their open grasslands, breath-taking views and the herd of free-roaming cows that graze there each summer (don’t worry – they’re well-acquainted with dogs!). Venture a little lower and head into the woodlands and there’s even more to see – especially during autumn where the display of coppery beech trees is nothing short of a treat!
Follow this National Trust trail with your pooch and you’ll also get to see a few quintessential Cotswold villages as well as pass by our very own Bear of Rodborough Hotel (the perfect walkies watering hole!)
A dog walk to Broadway Tower provides the perfect opportunity to soak up some awesome views and fantastic English heritage with your hound!
Start your walk just outside The Broadway Hotel, and enjoy rambling up the picturesque High Street, along historic tracks until you reach the tower! Despite sitting at 1024 feet above sea-level, the walk is accessible for most, with just a few steep sections and stiles.
When you reach the top, it will all be worth it as you take in the views of up to 16 counties and admire the tower – originally a brainchild of 18th Century landscape gardener Capability Brown. You may even decide to reward yourself with coffee and cake (plus water for pooches) in their dog-friendly café!
Follow this National Trail for the route.
Coln St Aldwyns to Bibury
Starting in the quaint village of Coln St. Aldwyns, this walk is the perfect way to explore some of the prettiest parts of the Cotswolds countryside with your four-legged friend in tow! It can take around 3.5 hours so you may want to make sure they’re ready for walkies before you set off…
The first half of this walk follows the lovely River Coln to Bibury and then returns across higher fields with wide open views, but it’s worth allowing some extra time to explore both villages. Pop in to the dog-friendly (and exceptionally beautiful) Swan Hotel while you’re in Bibury for a bite to eat and drink – they serve fresh Bibury trout every lunchtime!
We like this trail with its handy pictures of key points on the route!
Just a five-minute drive from the centre of Moreton-in-Marsh; Batsford Arboretum is a treat to explore with your four-legged-friend…
In 1886 the Batsford Estate was inherited by the first Lord Redesdale, who fell in love with the oriental landscape while working for the foreign office in Japan and China. It was this passion that inspired his design for the Arboretum – creating a wild garden with naturalistic planting and a 600m watercourse. After several years of neglect during and after World War II, it was Lord Dulverton to the rescue as he set about restoring Batsford Arboretum to its former glory.
Although there is a small entrance fee to the Arboretum, you can rest assured that it’s contributing to a good cause as Batsford is a conservation and education charity. Dogs are welcome in both the Arboretum and Visitor Centre, providing they are kept on the lead. You’ll find bowls of water dotted around for parched pooches and the visitor centre is home to a lovely café and gift shop.
The Arboretum is a beautiful spot for dog-walking all year-round but especially during Autumn where the colours range from a bright yellow to fiery reds and oranges. Have a look on their website for the Autumn Colour watch!