5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog:Berkshire

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog: Berkshire
Another Friday, and another look at places to take your best friend on new adventures. Last week,  Philomena London looked at five great places in Hampshire to walk your dog, and this week we’re moving on to the wonderful county of Berkshire. Whether you live in the county or you’re just looking for a new place to walk, this guide should have something for you. Without further ado, here are 5 great places to walk your dog in Berkshire.

Greenham Common

green
Formerly an RAF base just outside of Newbury, Greenham Common has become a very popular place for people to walk their dogs as well as to explore the now abandoned RAF buildings. For the modern history buff, this is a great place to look at for buildings relating to both WWII and the Cold War. The landscape is made up of vast, green grasses, and a little river that flows through it. The river is great for both owners and dogs to paddle in during the summer, and when the winters come thin ice often forms over it. It makes a truly beautiful place to walk. There are small wooded areas to seek shade or shelter in, and from the common you can get view of Watership Down, another beautiful area as well as being a prominent landmark.

Cookham River Walk

cookham
Located near to Maidenhead, Cookham offers a picturesque walk by the River Thames. There are several great things about this particular walk, but the main one to touch on is that it’s a highly accessible walk. If you have trouble getting around or are in a wheelchair with your dog, then this is a great place for you to go. The route itself is mostly flat or tarmac and it takes you around the beautiful village of Crookham before leading on to the River Thames where there are swans as well as other birdlife surrounding the area. It’s a really beautiful route, filled with lots of places for both you and your dog to travel, and there will likely be lots of other dogs to meet too. With disabled access bathrooms as well as places to stop to eat and drink, this route is truly great.

Donnington Castle

castle
Just outside Newbury is Donnington Castle. On a calm day, this place makes an excellent walk for dog and owner alike. The ruined castle is yet another site of historical interest and makes for excellent exploration space. If you tire of green fields and hills, the Castle Wood lies right beside the ruins and makes an equally peaceful place to carry out your walking activities. Not only this, but a small stream runs nearby also, which gives Donnington Castle an excellent advantage when it comes to choosing where to walk – it has everything you could want to walk an exercise your dog, as well as giving them a new place filled with new scents.

Black’s Park

black
In Slough, there is a truly beautiful place to walk your dog. You only have to look at the picture to see just how wonderful it looks. The woodland is both massive and thick, making for great walk-time exploration and a whole new area for your dog to adventure in. Within the wood is a beautiful lake which makes for wonderful views while you saunter along. This route really does make for both a beautiful and peaceful walk. There’s over ten miles of land to explore, and if you fancy taking your family to walk with you then there are loads of activities for them to enjoy too. There are cafes for you to rest and have a drink, but do be aware there are some areas that do not allow dogs to be off the lead – mainly the areas designated for children’s activities.

Snelsmore Common

snel
Chieveley is the home to Snelsmore Common. Home to many rare species of bird and insect, this place is a cornucopia of habitats, and that means many different areas to introduce you furry friend to. There’s wet bog which is home to some exquisite birds, as well as a vast woodland which covers a lot of the area. The heathland is equally wonderful to behold, and like the wet bog, is home to several species of rare bird. Make sure you remember that the park does adhere to opening and closing times, and while the opening time (08:00) is visible on the website, the closing time is not so it would be best to call ahead if you’re not planning an early morning walk.
Hopefully, you were able to find a place that you would like to visit in Berkshire with your dog. The 5 places are truly wonderful to walk in, and hopefully you and your dog will have a great time exploring them. Whether it becomes a regular walking spot, or an occasional day out, visiting new places is always important, both for your dog in terms of experiencing new smells and places, but also for you so you don’t get tired of walking in the same place all the time. Next week, we will be looking at places to walk in Surrey. If you live further north in the country, don’t worry, we’re working our way up through the United Kingdom.

Don’t forget your poo bags!

The Importance of Being Bees

The Importance of Bees
To many, bees are a nuisance. In the summer they fly around our food and sweet drinks, and many worry about their dogs eating them and the health problems that can potentially cause. However, it is often forgotten how important bees are, not only to the environment but to our existence. They are what is known as a cornerstone species – if they go a vast majority of the eco-system goes with them. It’s vital to know and remember exactly what they do for us. Whenever you eat, bees are directly responsible for pollinating fruits and vegetables as well as the food for the animals we eat. Without them there would be very little food on your table. While pollination does come from all invertebrates, the bee provides the vast majority of it, after all a third of all food is pollination dependant. Bees pollinate 70 types of crop in the UK, 4000 square metres of fruit trees, and bring in around 400 million pounds to the economy each year with honey production.
bees-2

At this point you might be asking why pollination is so important. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther in the plant to the stigma. When this happens the seeds for new plants are formed. There are many plants that rely purely on pollination fro creatures such as bees, and without them these plants would decline massively in number, and our food supplies with them. Bees are incredibly efficient in that one each outing they will pollinate one type of plant to ensure the efficient spread of pollen in each plant species. As mentioned before, without bees over a third of the food we are reliant on as staple today would be gone. In a more atheistic sense bees are what make our world look so beautiful with the number of flowers and plants that they bring life to through pollination.
Why should we be so concerned about these bees? Well, the issue is that in recent decades the bee population has fallen drastically. In fact, in 2013 the south east of England lost a devastating 53% of their bee colonies. Across England, 34% of colonies were lost. The fact of the matter is the bee population is in decline and we are the only ones who can help prevent their extinction. If you’re wondering what you can do to help these brilliant creatures then there are actually quite a few. If you don’t fancy beekeeping as a hobby then there is the option to fill your garden with the plants that bees love. Take a look at the picture below for ideas on the kind of things you can place in your garden.

bees

Something else that would really be helpful is not using pesticides on plants in the garden. While the pesticides that kill bees have been banned across Europe to help prevent the decline in populations, pesticides can still prevent bees from fulfilling their duties of pollination. Most importantly, when you see a bee flying around outside near to you, don’t swat it or try to kill it – they’re very placid creatures. If you aren’t sure if it’s a bee or a wasp, leave it be – even wasps contribute to pollination. Lastly, please don’t leave out the honey traps, they kill bees and wasps alike.

If you are looking to buy local Hampshire honey then Newlyns Farm Shop is a great place to start!

 

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog In Hampshire

As dog owners, there’s something we frequently struggle with – where to walk the dog.  Do you trudge around the same field or look for somewhere new?  With so many places to go, we decided to put something together for you to makes things a little easier. This little guide starts in Hampshire, and every week we will show you 5 great places to walk your dog in different areas across Great Britain so that everyone can find a great place to walk.

The Mill Field

Mill

In Old Basing, a pint and walking the dog go hand in hand. The field is located right next to a picturesque, dog-friendly pub known as the Millstone. The river is not just for show, but a popular place for dogs to swim on hot days (or chase after the rubber ducks that are raced every August). The field next to it is a thriving nature conservation where dogs are free to roam and explore through long grasses, brooks, and woodlands alike. For the history interested dog walker, it’s a cornucopia of historical treasures, with Old Basing House just a five minute walk away (open seasonally), and the Time Team famous Great Barn even closer. If you’re a bit of a movie buff, you may have heard of (or even seen) that they were filming Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies at the Great Barn just before Christmas.

 

Old Winchester Hill

Old Winchester Hill

This, roughly,  45 minute walk in Winchester offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas. It’s a popular place for people to walk, whether they have dogs or not, and it is certainly a personal favourite. The large open spaces offer a great freedom for dogs to run and play, as well as leaving views open to you. The site is both a national nature reserve and a place of historical interest, as it was an Iron Age Hill Fort and a Bronze Age cemetery. Much like the Mill Field, it has a lot to offer in terms of nature and history, and I hear it’s a prime spot for picnic. If you’re looking for the nest walking route along the hill that is beneficial for both you and your dog, I advise taking the eastern footpath around.

 

Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle
You may think it’s a little odd for me to suggest a castle as a place to walk your dog, but it’s actually the areas that the castle gives access to that I want to focus on here. Beyond the beautiful house,
there is a dog-friendly beach and a vast woodland to explore. Both of these places are great for dogs to walk and wander, as well as for you. On a warm day there is nothing nicer than relaxing on the
beach while the dogs play, and even when it’s cold out there’s always something peaceful about the sea. The woods are beautiful and full of wildlife, making it a wonderful place to walk no matter the
weather, as there is shelter from both the sun and rain. Highcliffe Castle’s website gives warning that the woodland car park fills up quickly during the warmer months, and so I advise that you go for an
early morning walk rather than a late one.

Hawley Woods

Hawley Woods
Not all dog walkers are able-bodied, and while many walking areas are quite accessible, this is one that I know is wheelchair friendly. Located in Farnborough, Hawley Woods is a truly beautiful place
to walk as well as being wonderfully located. If you are a fan of Marvel’s Avengers you may have seen that they were filming Age of Ultron at these very woods during April 2014. The lake at the
edge of the woodland is lovely and a great place to walk along. Often, there are horses and riders in the cross country course that has been built within the woods, but they are quite easy to avoid if you don’t fancy running into them on your walk.

 

Lee on the Solent Beach

solent
Found outside Gosport, dogs are allowed most of the year and during peak season there are certain areas that are restricted. It’s a lovely little beach walk where you can walk by the water (although I
advise shoes on this walk as it is a pebble beach), and the dog can get some very good exercise running at the edge of the sea or going for a little swim close to the shore. Nearby, is a cliff-top walk
that is quite lovely should you tire of walking on stones. When you finish walking, there are several little cafe’s with outdoor seating so that you can have a drink and a snack before heading home. It is
advisable to walk during off peak times if you’d rather meet more dogs than holiday-goers on your walk. Swimming is a great way for dogs to get a lot of exercise, and so beach or river walks can be
really beneficial to them.

 

So concludes the 5 great places to walk your dog in Hampshire. Hopefully, you have found somewhere you would like to visit on your walks. Next week, we will be looking at 5 great places to walk in Berkshire, and so for those of you who frequently walk there, there may be a few places for you to discover too.

Don’t forget your poo bags!