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Packing a pooch: the best local dog walks

Does your four-legged friend need a change of scene? Set the tails wagging with these Leicestershire and Rutland walks with woodland, rivers and plenty of off-lead opportunities

Swithland Woods, Charnwood

Swithland Woods. Pic credit: https://www.bradgatepark.org/swithland-wood

With almost 200 acres to run riot, your dog will love a walk around these ancient woods. Start off in the car park and head towards the quarry and enjoy an easy (but muddy) walk on and off lead pass bridle ways and through fields until you get to Rabbits Bridge. Look our for some livestock though.

Walk the route here.

The Outwoods, Loughborough

Credit: Charnwood Borough Council

A 110 acres of ancient woodland for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy. in Charnwood and beautiful in spring when the bluebells are out. The Outwoods has a couple of different routes and good news that the dogs can run around off lead in some areas too. There’s plenty of fencing and stone walls to keep them safe too. The longest takes about an hour and there are plenty of streams for a doggy paddle and splash around.

Walk the route here.

Ibstock, Sence Valley Country Park

Pic Credit: https://www.nationalforest.org/visit/activities/sence-valley-forest-park

If you need to socialise a puppy, this place is doggy heaven with plenty of walkers and their four-legged friends. It’s hard to believe that this lush and green picturesque 60ha country park used to be an open coal mine. Head here with your canine companion and you can enjoy some fantastic waterside views meanwhile, they can tear through the woodland and there’s plenty of exciting scents and sights for them to explore. It’s never too busy and there’s a variety of trails to choose from and many are marked. Enjoy water views from every point of the River Sence and three other major lakes (lots of wildlife here too) so there’s plenty of splashing around to be done. It can get muddy so a full rinse may be needed.

Walk the route here.

Hicks Lodge, Ashby de-la-Zouch

Pic Credit: Forestry England

In the heart of the National Forest, Hicks Lodge used to be a former coal mining site but has been totally transformed by new plantings and exciting trails. It makes it a great place to take your dog for a walk too although it is mainly used for cyclists so best to keep them on a lead. This easy, largely flat, zig-zag walking route takes you into the young woodland and there are plenty of stops along the way. Opt for the longer 2.5km loop, or the short route. There’s also another route which takes you past a lake, which no doubt will be full of fascinating flora and fauna smells.

Walk the route here.

Hambleton Peninsula, Rutland

Pic Credit: Discover Rutland

This circular walk follows the edge of beautiful Hambleton Peninsula, enveloped by Rutland Water -the largest artificial lake in the UK. Start in the village and join the footpath that leads to the shoreline. It provides the pawfect opportunity for your furry friend to wander and sniff around. Stroll through through Armley Woods, past Hinman’s Spinney before walking through Hambleton Wood and then back again.

Walk the route here.

Medbourne, Market Harborough

Pic Credit: https://www.nevillholtopera.co.uk

A circular walk from the small village of Medbourne which leads you to the nearby estate, Nevill Holt and back again. The paths through the estate gives you great views of the chapel, and you can even peek at the beautiful sculptures (pictured above) dotted around the grounds. Tracks can get muddy so be careful – most of the walk is free of livestock so ideal for energetic little companions.

Walk the route here.

Egleton Walk, Rutland

Pic Credit: Richard Faulks / WTML via https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk

Dogs will love a walkie through the woodland and open grassland in Gorse Field Wood (pic above). Park in Elgeton and pick up part of the Rutland Round that goes uphill. Unleash your pooch in Gorse Field and then walk towards Hill Top Farm. Here you can soak up the views and see the two ‘arms’ of the reservoir.

Walk the route here.

Find more ideas here

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