Bristol's Best Dog WalksPosted on: 20 Jan 2017
Bristol is packed with great spots to walk man's best friend. There are so many spots that are great for getting out and about with your pup but we have picked out some of our favourites...
We’re very lucky that Bristol has so many parks and open spaces welcoming to dogs. If you’re a dog owner you’ll already know of a good few spots that you regularly visit – whether it’s for a quick midweek walk or long weekend stroll, we all have our favourites. There are plenty out there but here we take a look at some of the best.
While you're out and about, why not make a day of it and stop off at one of Bristol's great dog-friendly pubs. Whether you're looking for a warming coffee, quick drink and maybe lunch, or full Sunday roast, the pubs here will all happily welcome both you and your pup. Take a look at our article on Dog Friendly Pubs In Bristol.
If you know of a great walk that's not included here then let us know!
Baxter - 365Bristol's offical dog walk tester
Ashton Court Estate
It might be an obvious one, but with such extensive grounds and a huge mixture of terrain, it really has something for everyone- owner and dog. There is a great mixture of woodland and open spaces along. Importantly there's the option to stick to well paved routes and enjoy the excellent scenery or veer off the beaten-track and head out exploring. It is ideal for owners less able to manage tricky woodland paths thanks to the excellent walkways and the facilities are second to none – car parks, bathroom facilities and a café all sit alongside the impressive manor house in the impressively maintained grounds.
Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN (Admission is free though there is a charge of £1.20 per day to park)
This is very much at the other end of the scale in terms of size. It’s not the biggest of places but thanks to the nature of its layout it really is a perfect little haven for some great walks. It is self-contained with plenty of woodland, open spaces and the River Trym flows through so a quick swim is never too far away. This local nature reserve is dubbed “A Hidden Haven for Wildlife” and you can see why – the seasons bring noticeable changes in flora and fauna so no walk is ever the same. Owls, woodpeckers and other birds all thrive in this protected area, making for a great visitor experience every time.
Badock's Wood, Lakewood Road, Southmead, BS10. There is no admission charge and parking is available on the surrounding roads. Unfortunately there are no toilet facilities or other amenities.
Jumping back up in size, here we take a look at a 650-acre site containing both a lavish manor house and a castle, both dating from the 18th century. There are two car parks available, both free of charge, at either end of the estate. The larger, and perhaps ‘main’, car park is next to a café, children’s play area and toilet facilities. Much like Ashton Court, this site features wide-open spaces, paved walkways and the opportunity to get a little more adventurous in woodland areas with some challenging terrain. The wide-open spaces are certainly very wide and very open, perfect for a good run with a tennis ball. A stroll across them to the manor house lets you see the beautiful building up close. The other option is to take a walk to the castle via any number of routes up the hill – short and steep ones or longer and more gentle, take your pick. Once atop the mound there are some spectacular views through the breaks in the trees. This particular one is a real favourite with some of us here at 365!
The car parks are located at Kings Weston Road BS10 7QS (this is the larger one as mentioned) and The Dingle BS9 2PA. Entry and parking is free and great amenities are available for all visitors.
One of the most recognisable place names in Bristol, ‘The Downs’ is an iconic spot in the city that welcomes huge numbers of dogs and owners daily. This is a great place for a game of fetch as the spaces are huge. Couple that with the guarantee of your dog meeting a number of others and it’s a great place for them to socialise. There is the opportunity so explore a little of the woodland around the site but The Downs really are all about seemingly endless open space. It is very important to note that there is nothing separating the grass areas from the roads that intersect the area. So if your pup’s recall perhaps isn’t quite the best then you’ll definitely need to be careful around these parts. The fact that it sits atop Whiteladies Road, plus bordering Clifton Village and Redland, means local amenities are always close at hand. There are plenty of options for less able visitors and there is a toilet block and café on-site though, depending on where you are walking, these could be quite far away!
Parking is available on a vast number of roads around the site. The Downs, Stoke Road, Durdham Down, Bristol BS9 1PG – if you head for here then you won’t miss it!
Situated just across the Clifton Suspension Bridge from Clifton Village, Leigh Woods offers set walking trails with plenty to see along the way. An Iron Age hill-fort is not something you expect to encounter on many morning strolls but that’s just one of the great features of this National Trust protected site. A wall dating back over 200 years splits the area in two and over time this has formed two distinct woods. Add to all this the fact that you can get some spectacular views of the iconic suspension bridge as it peeps in and out of view and you have a very interesting walk to say the least. There are currently two set trails but these are very much guidelines to follow, rather than routes you must stick to – you can head off the beaten path as often as you like. The paths are semi-paved and could be slippery in the winter months, however accessible parking is available and there are plenty of places along the route to take a seat.
Parking is available along with toilet facilities - BS8 3QB
Stoke Park Estate/Purdown
This area features two of the most recognisable Bristol landmarks – the large yellow house alongside the M32 and the BT tower. That should give you your bearings. Besides the obvious open spaces visible from the M32 there’ also World War II gun emplacements a pond, fishing lake and the all important woodland. Plus the obvious attraction of seeing the BT tower up close. There’s plenty to do and see in what might not be the first place you would think of being a truly great place for a walking your dog in Bristol. The Dower House was built way back in 1563 and was originally a private stately home. It has undergone many changes in use since then and is now private residence containing a number of apartments.
Parking is available on adjacent roads. Stoke Park Estate, Duchess Gate, Park Road, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1AU
Situated just off the M32's junction 3 (Tesco, IKEA, etc), Eastville park is a wide open space that welcomes countless visitors dialy. You can park at Eastville Park car park, at Park Avenue, BS5 6QL. It is open from 7.30am to dusk. Not just for pups, there's a playground, basketball courts, football pitches, a running circuit and even a fishing lake! The real beauty of the park is the vast open spaces.
You can park at Eastville Park car park, at Park Avenue, BS5 6QL. It is open from 7.30am to dusk.
Last, but by no means least, we have Snuff Mills. A well restored stone mill and waterwheel is the first thing you see when you enter the site, besides the beautiful garden area of course. From there you walk along well-paved paths over bridges and beside impressive weirs. Once you reach a little further into the site you have the option to choose a number of routes, all with different activities for your pup and different degrees of difficulty for you! Head straight up the side of the hill towards the large open area at the top, or carry on along the river on the flat paths while your dog has the option of a swim on one side or a rummage around in the woodland on the other. If you choose to walk up to the top of the hill then you’ll find a large children’s playground with a café, playing fields and usually a refreshment van. This site is always popular whatever the time of year or the weather. If it’s winter then you’ll probably want some wellies or old shoes, just a warning!
Free parking is available along with toilet facilities and a café at River View Road, BS16 1DL.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Swansea, Jimmy moved to Bristol back in 2004 to attend university. Passionate about live music, sport, science and nature, he can usually be found walking his cocker spaniel Baxter at any number of green spots around the city. Call James on 078 9999 3534 or email Editor@365Bristol.com.