October and November: dog days in the West Country with Classic Cottages
As October arrives, the West Country re-opens some of its best-loved beaches to dogs – having enforced seasonal bans over the busy summer months. Classic Cottages, the UK’s leading independent cottage holiday specialist in the area, suggests the best dog-friendly walks, pubs and beaches, plus some rather special dog-friendly cottages close by.
Best walks for dogs
From Hengistbury Head near Christchurch, it’s a two-mile round walk out to the beach huts at the end of the sand spit and back. The steep cliffs, riddled with rabbit holes, will delight dogs, and the tidal inlets are ideal for them to swim in. Properties nearby include Old Down Cottage (sleeps six), a spacious home-from-home, tucked down a private lane, its decked terrace looking straight onto fields which are perfect for an off-the-lead romp. From £85 pp*
Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, is a remote area that’s ideal for energetic dogs. Views from the top are spectacular on fine days – across to Wales and over Dartmoor. Starting from Wheddon Cross, the walk passes through wooded combes and wild moorland. Properties nearby include Week Cottage (sleeps two), dating back to the 1690s. Set within two acres, it has a gently sloping garden and a spacious entry porch ideal for tending to muddy dogs. From £162 pp*
Set off from the hound-friendly Hunters Inn in Newton Tracey, through Heddon Valley to Woody Bay. Along the way, explore beaches so hidden and isolated that U-Boats used to surface here during the war. Properties nearby include 2 Bar View (sleeps seven), a period dwelling, with a fabulous kitchen, overlooking the dunes – dog heaven! – in the sought-after coastal resort of Instow. From £85 pp*
Tehidy Woods, very close to the coastal path at Portreath on Cornwall’s north coast, is nine square miles of pretty woodland with well-marked paths throughout and a little café overlooking a nature reserve at the southern entrance. Don’t miss the carpet of bluebells in spring. Properties nearby include cosy Bolivar Barn (sleeps two) – formerly a pig barn – which has a wood burner, wonderful views and walks right on its doorstep. From £161 pp*
Best pubs for dogs
Dogs are made very welcome at the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers, near Swanage. After a walk along the Purbeck clifftops, it’s the perfect spot to sit outside with a pint of local cider and a homemade pie. Inside, on a winter’s day, you’ll find dogs stretched out in front of the roaring fire. Properties nearby include Middle Lodge (sleeps six), a luxuriously refurbished Victorian house with an open fire and an enclosed garden. From £81 pp*
The Tarr Farm Inn and Restaurant, in a glorious position next to the River Barle on Exmoor, is a popular spot for hungry walkers and their dogs. Their local venison and game dishes are a treat or, if you’re passing mid-afternoon, don’t resist the cream tea. Nearby properties include Oliver’s Cottage (sleeps six), a period property with an elegant sitting room warmed by a wood burner and an appealing, country style kitchen. From £96 pp*
In East Prawle, a small village in the South Hams, the 500-year-old Pigs Nose Inn has a dedicated mutt menu. Overlooking the village green, the pub is within easy reach of hidden beaches and coves for uplifting coastal walks which dogs will love. Properties nearby include Bluebell (sleeps two), an apartment within the 20-acre Stancombe Manor Estate where human guests have shared use of an indoor heated pool, sauna and snooker room. From £161 pp*
The Bolingey Inn, near Perranporth on the north coast, is a little, traditional pub, with a south-facing terrace, a small dog-friendly bar – with dog chews on the menu – and a formal dining area. Sunday roasts are excellent. Properties nearby include Beach View (sleeps four), a first-floor apartment within a turret of Droskyn Castle, overlooking Perranporth beach. From £110 pp*
Best beaches for dogs
Ringstead Bay is a lovely shingle beach backed by vertiginous cliffs, accessed via ancient farm tracks. From here, follow the Southwest Coast Path for just over a mile to the excellent Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills – an extremely dog-friendly pub with a beer garden. Properties nearby include The Old School House (sleeps six), a picture-book thatched cottage which features in international bestseller, Mr Rosenblum’s List. From £81 pp*
Porlock Weir, a 15th century hamlet overlooking the Bristol Channel, has a four-mile stretch of pebble and shingle beach of significant archaeological and geological significance. Dogs also enjoy the grassy marshland behind the beach. Properties nearby include Creenagh’s Cottage (sleeps two), a blissful bolthole set on a farm – home to sheep, alpacas, goats and chickens, all well used to canine visitors. From £143 pp*
Westward Ho!, a seaside village near Bideford, is a favourite for dog-walkers because the two-mile sandy beach is extremely accessible and offers a combination of sand, rock pools and nature. Plus, for creature comforts, there are shops, snacky restaurants and loos. Properties nearby include Sea Cottage (sleeps four), a New England-style chalet, yards from Instow’s dunes and sandy beaches.
From £81 pp*
Pebbled Porthallow Beach is in an unspoilt village on the Lizard Peninsula, near to the Helford River. It’s small enough to let dogs run free whilst you watch the fishing boats come and go. Properties nearby include Manor Arvor (sleeps two), an impeccably renovated, open-plan cottage, just a short walk from the beach. It has a granite-topped kitchen and a limestone-clad walk-in double shower. From £176 pp*
*Note: all prices are per person per week and based on full occupancy for October / November dates.
For more information and to book one of Classic Cottages’ coastal and country properties, call 01326 555 555 or visit www.classic.co.uk.
To help plan your visit to the South West, with plenty of ideas of places to go and things to do suggested by Classic’s local experts, visit www.classicguide.co.uk.
Ends – 17 September, 2014
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