Dogs need to walk and not just for exercise. A proper walk fulfils your dog’s natural, primal instinct to step out in search of food, whilst enjoying mental stimulation, social skills practice and the chance to investigate every sight, sound and delicious smell along the way. The Malvern Hills district, with its huge variety of hill, valley, meadow, parkland and woodland walks is the ideal place for dogs (and owners) of all ages and abilities to enjoy a stroll, and we’ve sniffed out a few of the best for you to try. Clearing up after your dog could be a bone of contention though, so check out the Kennel Club’s Countryside Code before you get going. Look out too, for an ingenious anaerobic digester which converts pet waste into methane and fuels an old gas lamp (yes really!) on one of the main access paths to the Hills. Find out more about the dog poo lamp here.
Malvern Hills Walk & Lunch (3.8 miles)
For unrivalled, panoramic views, a varied terrain of grassy, gravel and dog-beloved earthy paths, this lovely walk takes in 4 peaks (and their contours) in the majestic Malvern Hills and includes time out for lunch. Starting from the British Camp car park and heading up past the Malvern Hills Hotel, you and your four-legged companion will soon come to the gently rising slopes of lovely Black Hill standing at 1011 feet, yet accessible even for senior, active dogs. Fresh air and a sense of history hit you almost at once – these hills are formed from ancient rocks dating back some 680 million years – and you can literally see for miles; namely the Severn Valley, parts of thirteen counties and even the outline of the Welsh mountains. Drop down on to the path alongside pretty woodland and stop off at the charming, dog-friendly Chase Inn for a bite to eat, before heading back the way you came. Find out more about this walk here or visit the Malvern Hills AONB website.
‘Paradise’ Valley Walk (2.8 miles)
Most dogs get excited at the sight of water, particularly rivers and streams. This locally-famous walk which goes out of the Anglo Saxon village of Clifton on Teme, down into the western side and back up the eastern dell of a valley, known as ‘Paradise’, and takes in pretty Sapey Brook, should appeal. The whole area has a wonderful network of well-marked riverside paths, woodland and open spaces and is crossed by The Worcestershire Way. It’s a valley ramble which is rich in wildlife and scenic countryside, taking you and your dog through lanes and coppices and over bridges. There are several gates and stiles and one or two steep slopes to navigate too, so it’s perfect for the more agile dog and owner looking for a slightly more vigorous countryside escapade. You might need a post-walk pit stop at Clifton’s traditional country pub The Lion Inn, where you’ll find guest beers, fine wines and great food. Find out more about ‘Paradise’ Valley Walk here.
Nash’s Meadows Walk (variable over 12 hectares)
Dog walkers are welcome on Nash’s meadows, a beautiful pastoral landscape of grassland and orchard, made up of three large fields, native hedgerows, trees, and the Mere Brook, near Upton-upon-Severn. The area, known as The Malvern Chase Living Landscape, is being restored to a high quality hay meadow by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. In the summer months, its open grass pastures and the hum of hoverflies and bees overhead make for a pleasant stroll, which is soft underfoot and blessed with the fragrance of grass warmed by the sun. You’ll almost certainly see marbled white and ringlet butterflies, swallows and house martins as you wander along with your canine companion. This is not a run-free meadow, so dogs must be kept on a lead and there are grazing animals between August and November. Open from dawn until dusk. Find out more about Nash’s Meadow here. Fancy a scrumptious bite to eat, head to The Swan Inn at Hanley Swan.
National Trust Croome Walk (4 miles)
You can’t beat a National Trust dog walk, and you and your dog will love Croome’s ‘Capability’ Brown-designed parkland of 700 acres! Starting out from the RAF Visitor Centre, you’ll follow the lovely Wilderness Walk towards the Church, through a kissing gate and into Horse Close, where dogs are allowed to run free provided there are no livestock grazing. In the Spring, the route is lined with primroses and bluebells which give way to Rosa mundi and the striking architectural heads of cardoons in the summer months and some spectacular burnt orange and scarlet leaves in the Autumn. In high summer the delicious scent of lime trees, honesuckle and mock orange is appealing, although your dog might prefer the smell of bacon wafting from the 1940s restaurant! The Croome Walk takes you through fields and along lanes passing by ponds, a lake, a Grotto, a derelict boathouse and a Ha Ha, crossing a bridge to an Island Pavilion. There is plenty to explore and see, including views of old RAF Defford. Find out more about Croome here. Of course, the National Trust offer a wonderful coffee shop with refreshments but if you fancy some pub grub instead, head to The Elgar Inn or pop into Upton upon Severn.
Crumpton Hill Wood Walk
For most dogs, woodland walking is just magical. Nose-twitching, tail wagging and super-charged scampering about is the order of the day, as they snuffle through the undergrowth, sniffing out squirrels and wallowing in muddy puddles beneath a lovely shady canopy overhead. Crumpton Hill Wood, 2 miles North West of of Malvern is a broadleaved woodland of sessile oak trees (some of them 200 years old) aspen, ash, cherry and downy birch, which makes it pretty spectacular in Autumn. It’s approached via a public footpath which takes you from the South end, then North East along the field edge, and the northern half of the wood is regularly cut so that you and your dog can beat a circular path. It is wildlife-rich and can be quite wet in the South East section so wellies for you and a towel to dry the dog might be an idea. This wood has a boundary bank and remnant hedges on both the northern and southern sides, and post and wire fences means that your dog shouldn’t encounter any stray livestock along the way. Find out more about Crumpton Hill here. The closest place to head for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink is The Royal Oak in Leigh Sinton or The Star Inn on Cowleigh Road for some authentic Chinese cuisine.
There’s plenty of dog friendly places to stay if you want to extend your stay. Find out more here.
Did you know The Malverns play host to a variety of annual dog shows at the Three Counties Showground and at smaller venues as well? Many of these events are cancelled this year, but we look forward to them returning next year.