Bristol is one of the UK’s greatest cities, steeped in history and set in the idyllic rolling hills of North Somerset. Consistently voted one of the best places to live in the UK, the city is also a dog lovers dream. Dozens of parks, fields, and estates gild the city in dazzling greenery. From wide-open fields to rustling woodland: here are top five picks for the best dog walks in Bristol.
Ashton Court Estate
Ashton Court is Bristol’s most popular outdoor green space. The estate lies to the west of the city and boasts 850 acres of breath-taking hills, glades, and woods, crisscrossed with paths from the paved and safe to the wild and woolly. More than enough for even the most energetic of pooches. The grounds also have several small pools, ideal for a quick splash on a hot day.
Despite being a short drive from the city, it has the feel of the countryside. Magnificent oaks stand proud, meadows of wildflowers rustle in the breeze, and there’s even a deer park – don’t worry, the deer are safely fenced in – allowing man and dog alike to explore the wonders of the natural world.
As if this backdrop wasn’t enough, the gorgeous 15th-century manor house is a Grade I listed building. The Smyth family, who owned the manor from the 16th to 20th centuries, added to the building with each generation, creating an architectural jewel to admire, while your dog plays on the vast lawns.
The cafés are dog-friendly and have water bowls available. Your dog will certainly need them after exploring this boundless beauty.
There are three car parks – all are pay and display (£1.20 for the whole day).
One of our favourite dog walks in Bristol is Badock’s Wood – a local nature reserve nestled to the north of the city. Streams and creeks flow down into the River Trym which meanders through the valley floor. Perfect for a doggy paddle! The four-hundred-year-old woodland provides a cool shaded walk for those sultry summer days. While the stunning meadows, reseeded with wildflowers and native grasses, are a great place to let your dog off the lead. However, beware of the ticks in the summer.
Dotted along the path are remarkable tree carvings made by the chainsaw sculptor Andy O’Neill, showing off the local wildlife, such as the hedgehog or the tawny owl.
On-street parking. Admission is free. Open at all times.
Bristol is world-famous for the monumental Clifton Suspension Bridge straddling the Avon Gorge. Well, there’s no better view than the panorama from Leigh Woods! No wonder it is amongst Bristol’s most popular dog walks.
The walk has two clear routes. Starting at the car park, walkers can take the purple trail (45 mins) or the red trail (30 mins). There is also a purpose-built mountain biking trail, so be careful to avoid that.
Why not bring a picnic? The woods have plenty of benches, making an ideal day out for all the family. Dog’s will love exploring the wildlife of bugs and birds, as well as Stokeleigh Camp, the largest and best-preserved Iron Age hillfort on the River Avon.
So, whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or just a pooch on the mooch, Leigh Woods truly has it all!
The woods are also home to Red Devon cattle, so make sure to keep your dog under control. If you’re looking for the perfect lead, have a look at the Pecute Retractable Dog Lead. The handle is comfortable and ergonomic, the 16ft lead has reflective luminous stitching, and the one-button brake and lock system is easy-to-use. Best of all, Pecute is offering 100% satisfaction or your money back!
Free car park available.
Sand Bay is a little out of the city, stretching north from Weston-Super-Mare, but is worth the visit. It was recently voted one of the Top 50 dog-friendly beaches in the country by Vets Now. It’s not hard to see why.
A glistening arc of sand provides the perfect location to let your dog run wild. Stand atop one of the grassy dunes to discover the incredible view across the Bristol Channel framed by the rolling hills of North Somerset. Or take a wander to the north of the beach, where a National Trust walk ventures up the headland to Sand Point.
The beach is dog-friendly year-round, with dog waste bins provided. But it’s people-friendly too! The local teashop offers a well-earned rest after an enjoyable romp on the sands – dogs are allowed on the front terrace, but not inside. ‘The Commodore’ (dogs welcome inside) provides a fantastic plate of fish and chips and a pint of beer, with incredible views of the sunset across the channel which lights up the landscape.
Free car park available.
The Downs is a vast green stretch of land encompassing Clifton Down, Observatory Hill, and Durdham Down. If your dog can dream it, The Downs has it.
At Clifton Down, take a stroll along Ladies Mile or head down to the Sea Wall for a panoramic view of the Avon Gorge. The Gully is an area of woodland populated with wild goats, introduced to nibble on the invasive woody plants, making room for rare wildflowers.
Observatory Hill, near the picturesque Clifton Village, provides a superb view of the gorge, from which hot air balloons rise. An excellent place for a summer picnic. However, the nearby road is busy, so it’s advisable to keep dogs on a lead.
Durdham Down is a wide-open space at the northernmost point of The Downs. It’s ideal for testing your throwing arm in an epic game of fetch. If you want the perfect toy, check out the ‘Dog-O-Soar’. Made from high-quality, non-toxic rubber, it’s safe for your dog. Floatable, chewable, and in bright orange most certainly visible – the Dog-O-Soar is the best flying disc out there. Turn it over, and it even doubles as a bowl!
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