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The best National Trust parks for dog walking

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Reading – Basildon Park

Basildon Park is a beautiful Georgian mansion set in 400 acres of parkland.  This treasured estate often gets lovingly executed makeovers, and at present, there’s restoration work going on around the house and grounds.  The park will open up again on 23rd July 2014, and we thoroughly recommend a visit for all the family – including your canine friend, of course!

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There are an enormous amount of dog-friendly waymarked trails winding their ways around the grounds here, and clear signposts will (as with all National Trust venues) guide you around as well as letting you know how long it will take you to complete a walk.

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The land is gentle here, which makes it particularly good for families with young children, and the landscape is varied enough to make you feel you’ve been on a real journey by the time you get back to your car.

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Devon – Coleton Fishacre

This countryside retreat was the holiday dwelling of 1920s aristocracy, and it’s clear that the gardens here were meant for entertaining.  Especially beautiful on a clear day, coastal views hide around every corner and the blooms on display in summertime are just marvellous.

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While dogs aren’t allowed on the knot gardens and patios directly around the house, you can still enjoy close up views of them from the pathways (pictures above) along the areas’ perimeters. However, it’s the coastal footpath that proves the most popular with keen walkers.  With amazing sea views, long winding paths around the hills and cliffs, and plenty of space for dogs to run freely without being in any danger, it’s easy to see why nobody ever goes to Coleton just once.  Dogs are even welcome in the café, and there’s a shady dog-friendly picnic spot – where, admittedly, you might have to cope with a sandwich or two mysteriously disappearing if you happen to turn your back for a moment…but it’s all in the name of good fun.

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Bath – Prior Park Landscape Garden

This is another great walk if you’re after spectacular views.  Open to dog walkers all year round, you’ll see roe deer, swans and an abundance of birdlife, as well as stunning landscaped lawns, lakes and structures.

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You’ll pass a striking Palladian Bridge complete with 18th century graffiti on your way to the Bath Skyline walk.  This famous trail allows you to view the city from a new angle, and suddenly you’ll get a real sense of scale as to the Roman Baths, the houses, the church spires and all the other buildings that make up the skeleton of the city.

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Naturally, your dog won’t be all that impressed with this perfect look at the evolution of the city, but he’ll be almightily impressed by the open stretches of grass, enormous trees and healthy amount of chaseable rodent wildlife.

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The South Downs – anywhere and everywhere

There are too many walks around the South Downs to even begin to list, and this makes it a hugely popular destination for proper walking holidays.  However, to make the choice easier for everyone, The National Trust has calculated a two-day walk (very clearly signposted) around this magnificent segment of countryside, which starts at Steyning in Shoreham-by-Sea.

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Heading east, you’ll be taken down the South Downs escarpment where you’ll see views towards Brighton and have plenty of opportunities to stop in country pubs, have quick detours to viewpoints and historic cemeteries.  Then, it’s up to you to book a B&B or hotel for the night along the way (there are plenty, and Function Fixers know where the best ones are).

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The trail continues east, and ends in the inviting and oh-so-British-countryside hamlet of Southease, which has a train station that can get you back to your starting point.  All in all, the walk is about 10 miles long, but you could easily make it 15 by visiting the various points of interest along the way.

Old Bull Inn , Inkbarrow . The pub in the Archers , Ambridge !

All these dog-friendly walks, trails and parks are available for you to explore now.  Call Function Fixers to learn more about where to eat, drink, stay and play – free of charge and with no obligation to go ahead with the booking!  You can also Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get more great tips on summer activities, and also to hear about great mini-break deals and party package bargains!

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