Pip and Doug’s Top Welsh Walks!

by Emily Freeman // December 2017

Pip and Doug’s Top Welsh Walks!

Pip the Collie x and Douglas the Lab x are very discerning when it comes to a good walk. It has a number of strict doggy criteria to meet: smells, space to frolic and somewhere for a quick dip to cool the toes all feature. For Douglas, but less so for his long-suffering owner Emily, it should also include something dead and smelly to roll in!

Our top walking tips:

  • Make sure your dog’s harness or collar is securely fitted and the ID tag is still legible.

  • Bring water (and a bowl!) for you and your furry friend.

  • Be considerate of other path users, especially horse riders. Like dogs, horses can be unpredictable and an emergency vet trip or calling the air ambulance is not going to be a great ending to a day out.

  • Have a towel ready for when you get back to limit the muddy decoration of your car and clothes.

  • Don’t forget your poop bags!

Pip and Doug have made their shortlist and very kindly let me share it with you. Walks are given a paw rating (five paws = paws-itively perfect, one paw = paw-ly received) with a bonus “Woof” available for their favourite!

The first walk in our shortlist starts in Merthyr Mawr. Park in the pay-and-display car park and follow the bridleway to the left of the car park. This is an easy sandy track. Passing through the dunes gives Douglas a chance to use his nose while Pip explores any potential retrieval objects on offer.

Having a look for any potential friends

The path opens out and you can follow the path of the river down to the beach. Doug’s top tip – go early in the morning and you will have the gleaming sands completely to yourself meaning you can dig and leave wonderful paddy paw prints everywhere. When you reach the beach turn right, have a game of chase and a splash in the surf before turning right again, heading back into the dunes on the way marked footpath signed for the car park. Weave your way through the dunes, playing some doggy hide and seek as you go! Be aware that cattle graze parts of this walk and horse riders use it too. This walk takes about an hour if you don’t dawdle, or all day if you stop to enjoy the scenery and have a picnic on the beach. There was disagreement between the judges for this walk – Douglas gave it four paws while Pip went for five thanks to the opportunity for playing fetch in the sea!

No need to share if you go early

Pip’s favourite is an “Oldie but a Goodie” and involves Pen y Fan. There are several loops you can do ranging from four to sixteen miles, but to blow the cobwebs away and get the lungs working we start at Pont ar Daf car park. The path up is strenuous for us two-legged folk, but not an issue for our four-legged friends. Indeed, Pip likes to show off and bounce between tussocks as we climb!

Pip and Douglas waiting for their slow, rather unfit, owner to catch up

The final scramble to the summit is steep, but the view for humans and dogs alike makes it worth it. Doug also values the change to say hi to the other walkers who have got this far – clearly they are all gathering to admire him! Come down on the alternative path before following the path close to the road to return to the car park. Allow a couple of hours unless you and your dogs are walking machines! After a quick conferring session, Pip and Doug declare this a five paw walk with a bonus “Woof”!

(Pip is too busy eyeing up her ball to fully appreciate the views,

but Doug knows how to pose!)

For those days when you don’t have time to drive out into the wilds to go hiking, the trails and footpaths around Parc Slip near Bridgend are a good chance for owners and dogs alike to socialise and stretch their legs. As this is a nature reserve dogs should be kept on leads to prevent disturbing the wildlife, but this makes for a great chance to practise your loose lead walking! You can even pop into the café after for refreshments. Pip and Doug give Parc Slip three paws each.

Wherever you decide to walk with your dog (or dogs!) Pip and Doug hope you have a great time and that you and your canine friend come home as happy and content as they do. After all, what better way to end a long hiking day than with a good nap!

A tired dog’s a happy dog!

With so many fantastic walks on offer, you want to be able to enjoy them with your perfect pooch.

Do you have a puppy that needs a little bit of help learning that coming when called will open up more walking options? Or maybe you and your dog have a few other life skills you could brush up on while discovering fun new ways to bond with your furry friend? Either way, get in touch! We run classes for all ages, sizes and types of dogs, and would love to help you help your dog. You can call us on 07920658645, email us at SouthWalesDogSchool@dogstrust.org.uk and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at dtdogschoolsw.