Issue 87

Discovering Pet Friendly Britain – West Yorkshire’s Hidden Dog Walks

As Autumn gets underway, the thought of getting out and about can sometimes be off-putting if the weather is typically British and bracing, but that feeling of blowing away the cobwebs and exploring the countryside is sometimes all you need to feel refreshed. Not only that, these type of days out can build memories of you with your four legged friend which you'll remember for years to come.

As we continue our series finding the best pockets of the UK to visit and explore with your dog, sponsored by Direct Line Pet Insurance, this month we visit the breathtaking Hardcastle Crags in West Yorkshire.

Photo Credit: Paula Goodale

Located near to Hebden Bridge, known for its creative influences on popular culture in the 70s and 80s, Hardcastle Crags is a wonderful place to explore with your dog.

Photo Credit: YorkshirePhotoWorks

Approximately half a mile along the valley you'll find the 19th-century cotton mill named Gibson Mill, which was one of the first powered mills built at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

The mill re-opened in 2005 to exhibit more about the mill and its past life.

With stunning riverside views and plenty of woodland surrounding (well, 400 acres is quite a lot!), if you're feeling adventurous you can even climb the rocky paths to the hilltops in sight or stay close to ground and watch the wildlife all around.

In fact, Hardcastle Crags is one of the best wildlife spots in the Pennines for nature watching during the winter months. The BBC have even said locals refer to the area as “little Switzerland due to its Alpine style terrain”.

Photo Credit: Tim Green

There are around 25 miles of walking trails also, one of which is highlighted on the National Trust site and is a good three mile walk and ideal for dogs to enjoy at a moderate pace. Find out more about this highlighted walk here.

If you're spending the day, you can take a picnic to enjoy sitting by the old weirs, or with local pubs in close proximity you'll be spoilt for choice.

Photo Credit: Julia Gillen

How to find the Hardcastle Crags

Approximately two miles north from Hebden Bridge, find out how to get to Hardcastle Crags with this useful map.

Direct Line Pet Insurance has recently released its new Walkies app in the Apple App Store. The GPS-enabled app has been created especially for dog owners, allowing them to record and share their favourite walking routes online and via social media channels. Owners can add any number of dogs to a ‘pack’, with the option to record each dog’s walks separately as well as group walks.

Once recorded, users can post maps of their walks to Facebook and Twitter, or share PDF reports of their ‘Top Walks’ via email and print. The app also features a list of Top Walks from across the UK, providing users with a near limitless bank of routes to choose from. Alongside the Walkies app, Direct Line is running the ‘Fit Fred’ campaign which follows the journey of Fred, an overweight Golden Retriever, as he embarks on his weight loss journey over the next six months –


Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line said: “The Walkies app provides a simple and social way for owners to share their walks with friends and track their dogs’ fitness over time. At Direct Line, we are committed to helping owners keep their pets healthy and we believe the Walkies app will appeal to dog lovers across the country. Both the Walkies app and the Fit Fred campaign aim to promote a healthy lifestyle and to encourage dog owners to try new routes and share their progress with family and friends. We look forward to seeing how Fred progresses over the next six months.”


Next month we discover somewhere new, but please do get involved and share your favourite places to visit on by commenting below – we'd love to hear from you and where your dog loves to visit!



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