Our dogs are 5 months and 8 months old now. Monty loves to jump up at everyone he meets, in the hope of hello kisses. While this isn’t a problem for most dog walkers, it can be scary for young kids and inconvenient for people who don’t want to be covered in mud and dog slobber. This means Monty has to be kept on the lead whenever there are children or non dog walkers around.
With that in mind, this list is our favourite places to go with a bouncy or mischievous dog in and around Greater Manchester. All 3 are enclosed and not full of pedestrians – at least not during Winter time – I can’t vouch for Summer (yet).
1). Heaton Park Woods.
Heaton Park is probably the most well known Park in Greater Manchester – it’s the largest Municipal Park in Europe, and has been a haven for the people of Manchester for well over 100 years. It has plenty of formal gardens, and grassy areas which are perfect for picnics and ball games, but we tend to avoid these. There’s a large wooded area behind the Farm, which is perfect for dog walking. Follow the path past the farm and round the pond, and you’ll come to a tunnel.
Once you walk through this tunnel, it gets much quieter. Follow it down to the bottom and the path forks off. Left leads you past the pond and down towards the lake, while right takes you up into the woods. There’s a large clearing in here which is ideal for mischievous dogs. It’s enclosed for the most part with plenty of room for them to run around and have fun, without having to worry about kids (for the most part). It’s not buggy friendly, and I’d definitely recommend you put your wellies on!
2). Clifton Country Park
We live in Salford, and Clifton Country Park is our closest suitable place for walking Monty off his lead. During the day on weekdays, it tends to be full of mostly dog walkers, but at the weekends you get a lot more families in there.
On weekdays, we love to walk round the lake and take in the view. Monty loves the observation point….
One lap of the lake works out at about 1km, and it’s about another 0.5km to and from the car park, so 1 lap is a nice flat 1.5km walk. The good thing about the lake walk is it’s more or less flat, so it’s a nice easy walk. If you turn left when you start walking round the lake, you won’t feel the incline at all.
When we visit at the weekends, we tend to stick to the woodland areas. It does get muddy in here when it’s been raining, so make sure you’ve got your wellies on and are prepared to clean your dog afterwards. There are several bridleways running through the woods, so avoid these if your dog is reactive to horses. We tend to go along the path which starts behind the visitors centre and follow that along as far as it goes. You’ll see plenty of other dogs along the way, but the paths are rocky and hilly, so you don’t get many buggies or young children. There’s lots of cool things to find as you go through the woods – we’ve found “Rapunzel’s Tower”, loads of old building ruins and there are lots of statues and art work to discover as you explore too.
3). Moses Gate Country Park (or Crompton Lodges if you’re local)!
Moses Gate Country Park is in Bolton. It’s about 20 minutes away from us and well worth a visit. Again, I tend to avoid the picnic / play areas, and stick to the wooded paths. (Turn left when you get to the end of the carpark and keep following the path, past the playground and across the red iron bridge). Once you cross the bridge, it’s usually safe to let your dog off their lead. The woodland trails lead along the river if you turn right – which is what we always do. The dogs love running up and down the embankments, and splashing in the small waterfall.
The river is fast, so this may not be a good place for your dog if they love the water. (Monty and Minnie are a pair of wimps and avoid getting too close to it)! There are plenty of woodland trails to follow, and a big clearing in the middle which is ideal for a game of fetch! Monty and Minnie love to explore the trails.
So there you have it – 3 ideas for places to take your mischievous dog for a walk. Do let me know of any local areas you have discovered which are great for dog walks – I know there are still plenty more for us to discover!