When we think of York, we picture the towering gothic Minister, carved beautifully from sandstone. The serpentine walls which wind their way around the city, and the hodgepodge of streets, weaving and winding like the strands of a spider’s web. In York, history speaks from every stone. Yet, tucked away at the edge of the North York Moors, the city boasts an impressive array of gardens, parks and nature reserves; all influenced by the fascinating history of the city, from the chocolate factories to the rambling walls. Alas, dogs aren’t allowed to walk on the narrow walls, for apparent reasons. However, the city is small enough that most parks are only a short walk from the city centre. So, discover the acres of hidden wonders for your pooch to explore. Here are some of the best dog walks in York.
The Best Dog Walks in York
Some of the best dog walks in York include Museum Gardens, Rowntreee Park and Hob Moor. Let’s take a look.
York might have been the battleground for Viking and Saxons, but in the 1800s the competition was chocolate. Famous families of Quakers, such as Terry’s and Rowntree’s, set about building a confectionary empire, remodelling the city in their wake. In 1921, Joseph Rowntree generously opened the park to the city; it’s been popular ever since.
Today the park features a children’s playground, tennis courts, bowling greens, basketball courts and even a skateboarding area for the sporty amongst you. But if you fancy an amble on a sunny afternoon, the park’s 20-acres also contain a large lake, a canal and a water cascade replete with ducks and geese. It’s ideal for a quick doggy dip when the sun is at its zenith.
In 2006, the park won a Green Flag Award for excellence and walking under the willows and by the beautiful statues and water features, it’s not hard to see why.
There’s also a reading café where you can grab a cup of tea or a bite to eat made with quality local produce.
Car parking available. A short walk from the city.
The York Museum Gardens is one of the most beautiful locations in the city and due to it’s beauty, one of the best dog walks in York. Right in the heart of York, the botanic gardens are bordered by the River Ouse and the town centre. Created in the 1830s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, from the former grounds of St Mary’s Abbey, the gardens have served generations of visitors – and their dogs. Here history comes alive, literally. The solemn ruins of the abbey can still be seen today, nestled between the lush shrubbery and the rockeries bursting with colour. Around 40 species of bird and 4,500 plants and trees can be found in the gardens, making for a dizzying array of succulent scents for your dog to sniff.
As you enter, grab an ice cream from the dinky van by the gate, and wander around, admiring the majestic birds of prey who are frequently on display. Walk by the octagonal observatory or marvel at the ancient Roman walls – as your dog chases the local squirrels through the woods and across the grassy verges.
At the far end lies St Olave’s Church, named after the Norwegian saint (owing to the Viking history of the city), and was reportedly built in 1050. Other sights include the Yorkshire Museum, the remains of St. Leonards Hospital Chapel, and the Hospitium.
Plus, with the city nearby, there are dozens of eateries and cafes to relax and have a rest.
Car park nearby. Walking distance from the city.
Dean’s Park is a hidden gem hiding in plain sight. Spreading out from the illustrious walls of the cathedral, this green oasis is the perfect place to idle away the day with your dog. Soak in the rays on the grass in the summer sun. Don’t forget to bring a picnic along to make a day of it. Then sit back and relax, as you admire the incredible cathedral for which the city is famed.
Initially, a private sanctuary of the clergymen who inhabited the Deans, today it retains a peaceful composure. The wind rustles through the trees, the shadows dance across the lawn. The park houses the Minister Library, as well as a series of stone archways, now the Kohima Memorial honouring WW2.
If you’re looking for the perfect toy to keep your dog occupied as you lap up the sun, check out the KONG Wild Knots Bear. Fluffy and cuddly, the bear is durable enough to survive both outside and in. The internal knotted rope skeleton also helps satisfy your dog’s instincts.
Whether you fancy a quick walk with your pooch or a long day lounging, Deans Park is the perfect place to unwind with your dog
Car park not available. Walking distance from the city.
Hob Moor Nature Reserve
Hob Moor Local Nature Reserve is one of York’s remaining ancient commons. Here, you’ll spot meadow pipits and skylarks, yellow wagtails and merlins (not the wizard, although the sunset is magical) that’ll have your dog chasing and leaping after them.
Beware of the cattle. So, if you have dogs with you, probably best to keep them on their dog leashes. But don’t let that put you off, Hob Moor offers stunning views across the city, including the Minister. All with the feel of the deep wilds.
Car parking available.
West Bank Park
West Bank hosts a beautiful 20-acre park which occupies the former 19th century Backhouse Nurseries. The park contains a mature woodland and an arboretum – particularly great in autumn if your dog loves running through the rusty leaves. There’s also a menagerie of bird species, whose song is heard throughout the evening. The park is also another recipient of the Green Flag Award. Additionally, there is a meadow picnic area, rose terraces, two bowling greens, and a couple of play areas for the kids.
Alongside the meandering paths, it’s great for a quick game of fetch. If you’re a fetch traditionalist, who’s had enough with frisbees and balls, check out DOOG The Sticks. A family of stick’s that are ideal for chucking and chasing!
Car parks are available.
Further Reading on UK Dog Walks
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