Autumn Walks With Your Dog
I love autumn. They weren't wrong when they said it's the "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness".
There's something special about a walk in the crisp autumnal air with your dog snuffling through the leaves at your feet.
Nuts and acorns abound and this in turn drives my dog nuts as every now and then she stops to focus every fibre in her
being on spotting hard-working squirrels in the trees. It's her own version of Autumnwatch - yes it's without Kate
Humble and Chris Packham but with no less enthusiasm.
To help your dog in its quest to find squirrels, here are my recommendations for the most spectacular autumn foliage that
Britain has to offer that you can enjoy right now with your four-legged friend.
You can't beat an arboretum in autumn. For the uninitiated it's basically a collection of rare trees and a perfect place
to hang out and watch the seasons shift.
There's an opulent pallet of leaves of gold, bronze, red and purple reflected in the lake at Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey.
Thorp Perrow Arboretum in the Yorkshire Dales is home to one of the finest collections of trees and shrubs in the country.
Batsford Arboretum in the Cotswolds is one of my favourite haunts. The technicolour range of autumn hues is unsurpassed and
the fancy new tearoom has a terrific terrace where you can sip tea with your dog. Silk Wood at
Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire has over 2,000 maples and dogs are welcome to roam off
lead whilst you enjoy the vibrant autumn colour.
The National Trust can be a bit sniffy when it comes to dogs. I understand why muddy paws aren't allowed inside the posh old
houses but their downer on dogs often also extends to the gardens as well. That said, there are some National Trust estates
that are full of mature trees and well worth a visit with your dog at the moment for their autumn colour. My favourite parkland
Ashridge Estate, on the border of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, has ancient oak trees in the parkland and woods that
turn a warm golden hue and a two mile wildlife trail. Some of the oldest trees in England can be seen in Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
and there are some great woodland walks and a famous avenue of oak trees in Gibside Landscape Park, Northumberland.
My favourite dog friendly gardens to visit in the autumn also have stunning foliage and are large enough to enjoy a
Exbury Gardens in the New Forest National Park has a special autumn trail to lead you to the best of the season's colour.
Minterne Gardens in Dorset has waterfalls and streams and is famous for its Japanese Maples and outstanding autumn foliage.
Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens and Ardmaddy Castle Garden, both in Argyll in Scotland, are renowned for their exceptional colour
at this time of year.
In my opinion a walk without a dog is at best a wasted opportunity and at worst a completely pointless activity.
So wrap up warmly and lead the way into this amazing season with your best friend at your side. Who knows, your dog
may even spot that all important squirrel...
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