With winter well and truely upon us most people will want nothing else than to be snuggled up in their warm homes. That furry ball of energy however, they still want to go out and about! In fact, many dogs will be even more excited to get out and roll in the muck, or even snow.
This is a good excuse to get up to some good walking, even during the winter months. Walking has a number of health benefits that go further than just the obvious weight loss:
- Your mood - if you’ve been feeling low and drained, the fresh air will give you a boost
- Clear your head after a busy week in the salon
- Boost creativity - if you’ve been mulling over an idea but can't quite get it over the line
- Better quality sleep - fall asleep more easily, sleep longer, and get better quality sleep
- Bonding time with family and friends, including your dog!
With this in mind, and a slow and steady approach to our new year resolutions, we have looked at some of the top dog walking locations across the country to help you get out and about in 2022!
The historical town of Portglenone is home to the Ancient Woodland that has become known as Portglenone Forest. With nature trails, wild garlic and bluebells all running alongside the River Bann, it is the perfect place for a Sunday Stroll.
Facilities include picnic sites, toilets with wheelchair access, and a number of waymarked trails leading down to the Bann River. Portglenone itself has some wonderful cafes, should you decide to run in and warm up after a chilly walk!
The main recreation area is accessed just outside Portglenone on the Ahoghill Road, and please note there is a small charge per car.
Glenariff Forest Park
With the option of 4 waymarked trails, and the spectacular waterfalls as a backdrop in what is one of the nine Glens of Antrim, Glenariff Forest Park, situated 25 miles outside of Larne offers trails suitable for everyone.
Rainbow Trail - 0.4 miles
ViewPoint Trail - 0.6 miles
Waterfall Trail - 1.5 miles
Scenic Trail - 5.9 miles
Aside from the spectacular scenery, you will find a visitor centre, exhibition, interactive display, shop, and campsite. Laragh Lodge Restaurant complements this "gateway to the Glens" forest park!
You can't talk about amazing places to visit in Ireland without taking a trip to Donegal! Described as the ‘Secret Jewel in the heart of Donegal’, Oakfield Park has landscaped gardens and mature woodlands, as well as a walled garden and kitchen garden.
With swans, wildlife, castle views and streams, as well as 4km of narrow gauge railway, it is a much more relaxed walk than forest trails
For full details please visit their website here.
If you are looking for something more stable underfoot and not too long (without compromising the breathtaking views and somewhere for your dog to take a dip), then check out Banagher Glen.
Located just outside Dungiven, the 2-mile walk from the car park to the Dam is surfaced the whole way, although there are a few steep sections. You will even pass Kissing Gate on your travels around what is one of the oldest ancient oak woodlands in Ireland
Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor
We now head to Newry's Kilbroney Forest Park and Rostrevor Forest, which features three waymarked trails, from 2km to 7km.
You can visit The Cloghmore Stone, a 40-tonne granite boulder which was deposited here at the end of the last ice age, around 10,000 years ago.
As well as the 3 walking routes, you will find mountain biking and cycling routes, a children’s play area, tennis courts and picnic areas, as well as a cafe and campsite.
If forests aren’t your thing, you might prefer to get away to the coast and take in the sea air.
Benone Beach gives you 7 miles of sand from Downhill to the mouth of Lough Foyle, forming one of Ireland’s longest beaches, perfect for blowing off the cobwebs and clearing the head.
It’s also a great beach for activities including jet-skiing, kite surfing, gliding and surfing, as well as cycling and swimming. During Winter the sea breeze can be quite chilly though, so we recommend staying out of the water and well wrapped up!
Heading back to Donegal again, to Dunfanaghy this time for Ards Forest Park. This place has EVERYTHING!
Plants & Wildlife, sandy beaches, rivers, nature walks, picnic and play areas and viewing points, as well as a lot of history.
The walking trails include:
Arts Heritage Trail - 3.5km
Nature trail - 3km
Green trail - 3km
Red Trail - 13km
You simply can't talk about scenic views in Northern Ireland without heading up to the Causeway Coast. Given this is our neck of the woods we may be biased, but it may just be the best coast in the world, and right here in Northern Ireland!
Situated beside the picturesque town of Ballintoy, this little harbour is a much better option for exploring the coast with your furry friend than the much busier Giants Causeway. But don't let that make you think you're missing out!
Wether your looking a short stroll or a long hike around the coastline there is plenty of nearby options, just try not to get too wet!
There is no shortage of beautiful locations across the country to get out and about this winter.
So grab the dog lead, get yourself wrapped up warm and start exploring this new year!