Cheddar Complex Nature Reserve dog walk

Black Rock Mendip Hills
Three Somerset nature reserves make up the Cheddar Complex: Black Rock, Long Wood and Velvet Bottom. The area is rich in history and famous for its caves and the spectacular Cheddar Gorge.

Our Cheddar Complex nature reserve dog walk begins at the south entrance that takes us to Black Rock.  There is roadside parking on Cliff Road, however it is limited.  Further parking can be found at the Velvet Bottom entrance in Charterhouse.   

Black Rock

We are following the Black Rock red trail (2.4km).  First we walk past the Limekiln which was built in 1929 when Black Rock was being quarried for limestone which makes up the Cheddar landscape and enabled the formation of the cave complexes running under the hills.  We then follow the dry stone wall and past the former quarry to reach a stone stile.

Black Rock Somerset National Trust Sign
National Trust Nature Reserve

Black Rock Mendip Hills
Black Rock

Dog under Black Rock.
Cleo standing next to a very large rock
Black Rock Cheddar Gorge
Cleo making her way over a stone stile

From here you can continue forward to Long Wood and Velvet Bottom, before coming back down and completing the rest of the Black Rock route. Alternatively, climb the stone stile now to complete the Black Rock route in isolation.

Climbing over the stile takes us uphill towards the top of Black Rock where there is plenty of wildlife including butterflies. We enjoy the views across the Cheddar Gorge. Peregrine falcons breed locally and can be spotted hunting over the reserve, along with kestrels and ravens.

Black Rock, Somerset.
Making our way higher

Dog walking the red route at Black Rock.
Black Rock route

Black Rock, Somerset.  Cheddar Gorge dog walking.
Black Rock views from above

We continue along the red route but you can take the shorter route here and head back down the hill.  The red route takes us straight on to the gate and then to the beautiful woodland and back down to the lower path of Black Rock.  

To visit Long Wood and Velvet Bottom from here you need to turn right and go back past the former quarry to reach the Long Wood gate.

Long Wood

Long Wood is an ancient woodland that is accessed from Black Rock.  We pass through the gate into the woods and the path forks.  We take the path on the right that leads up some quite steep steps and at the top is a bench.  In May this area is covered in Bluebells.

Long Wood Nature Reserve Somerset
Long Wood entrance

Long Wood Nature Reserve somerset
Long Wood Nature Reserve

Woodland steps
Path to the top of Long Wood

Long Wood German Shepherd in woodland
Making our way up

We follow the path along the top of the woods which eventually leads back down to the lower path.  We turn right and follow the stream which is perfect for Cleo to take a dip.  There are small waterfalls and a wooden bridge in this part of the woods.  It’s very pretty.

Long Wood Nature Reserve stream waterfall
Cleo standing on top of one of the Long Wood waterfalls

Long Wood Somerset stream
Walking along the stream

Long Wood Nature Reserve dog in stream
Enjoying nature

Dog taking a dip at Long Wood, Somerset.
Taking a dip!

There is plenty of wildlife here, with woodpeckers, buzzards and badger gates in the walls.

We go back on ourselves and follow the path straight ahead to the gate that takes us out to Black Rock.

Velvet Bottom

Velvet Bottom nature reserve is a long and narrow dry river valley that leads you to Charterhouse.  It is filled with grassland (which feels incredibly soft when walking on it), and small patches of woodland and scrub.  There is evidence of its lead mining history.

Velvet Bottom nature reserve sign.
Velvet Bottom Nature Reserve

There are two small caves named Timber Hole and Hangover Hole, and a series of dams.

German Shepherd in Cheddar Gorge.
Carefully navigating the rocks

Dog walking at the Cheddar Complex.
Climbing

Velvet Bottom in Somerset.
The grass feels really soft under your feet

You may spot archaeological footprints left behind by lead mining.  The area is also home to plenty of wildlife including, adders, common lizard, slow worm and grass snakes that can be found basking in the summer sun.

Cleo at Velvet Bottom.
Cleo loved this varied walk

Once we reach Charterhouse, we go back the way we came to Black Rock and to where we parked.

On the way home we stop off at Cheddar Paws, which is below the cliffs of the Gorge, and Cleo enjoys a nice treat.

We loved this walk at the Cheddar Complex nature reserve! There is so much variety over a walk that is less than 5 miles long. The walk can easily be extended further to include Cheddar Gorge.

Contact us if you are interested in our Bristol dog walks. You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Puppy Adventure with Otis at Mina Road Park Bristol

Bristol puppy walks
Our Bristol puppy visits aim to create a vaired, positive, safe and enjoyable experience for the puppy. Part of this process can be achieved through taking the puppy to the local park.

Otis is a 3 month old Cockapoo. We have been providing puppy visits at his home twice a day and he has recently started to go on little adventures in his neighbourhood.

Our puppy adventure today with Otis is at Mina Road Park in Bristol. You can read more about Mina Road Park in this blog post from when we visited with Jasper.

As we walk down the road to the park, his tail is wagging confidently. It’s a slightly damp day but this doesn’t faze Otis!

Bristol puppy walks
Otis the Cockapoo
Bristol Puppy visits
The puppy adventure begins

Cockapoo puppy at Mina Road Park Bristol
Otis is excited about his adventure

Mina Road Park is very popular with dogs so it doesn’t take long for us to run into one. A young Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is out for a walk and the owner is happy for the two dogs to meet. Otis is quick to greet his new friend. They are a perfect match and start to play together.

Mina Road Park St Werburghs Bristol
Meeting new doggy friends

Puppies playing at St Werburghs park
Doggy play time

Dogs at Bristol park
Time for a break

Once they finish playing it’s time to explore the park! Otis enjoys sniffing the different scents and is curious about the small river running through the park.

Puppy adventures in Bristol
Exploring the Mina Road Park

Otis the Cockapoo
Puppy eyes

Cute puppy
Reflecting on his fun adventure

The puppy adventure was about 20 minutes and Otis had an amazing time. He enjoyed socialising with other dogs and exploring the park.

We take Otis home, clean his paws, fill his water bowl up and give him a little treat. He settles down and is ready for an afternoon nap. We say goodbye and leave him with his toy bunny 🐰.

You can find out more about our puppy services here. You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Troopers Hill Bristol dog walk with Dave

Troopers Hill Bristol dog walk
Troopers Hill overlooks the city of Bristol and beyond. The Hill contains an interesting mix of history, wild plants and animals. A distinctive chimney dominates the hillside.

Our Troopers Hill Bristol dog walk is with Dave, a handsome three year old Labrador Retriever.

We start from the Troopers Hill road entrance. It is a short and reasonably steep walk to the top of the hill. The views here are amazing and it is also a great spot to watch the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

Troopers Hill Bristol dog walk
Views from the top of Troopers Hill

View from Troopers Hill
Dave

Chimney on Troopers Hill
Chimney standing on top of Troopers Hill

The hill is dominated by its distinctive chimney, an old relic of the copper industry.

Dave explores the top of the hill and meets a couple of other dogs. It is then a short and flat walk along the top of the hill to Troopers field. Troopers field is great for dogs to run around. There is also a play area for children that is fenced off.

Troopers Field view
View from Troopers Field

Troopers field Bristol
Dave on Troopers Field

Troopers Field playground
Troopers Field play area

We then take one of the numerous entrances to the woodland area.

Dog walking trail through Bristol woodland
Woodland Trail

Woodland BS5
Troopers Hill woodland

Troopers Hill and the woodland contain an interesting mix of history, wild plants and animals. Some of the animals that call the area home include, deer, foxes and badgers.

Dog running on Troopers Hill
Making our way back to the top of the hill

Dog running up to the Chimney on top of the hill in Bristol
Almost there!

Troopers Hill view from the other side
Made it back to the top

Dave had a great time! The different types of terrains make it interesting for dogs. They can play ball on the field, pick up sticks in the woods and experience different scents from the plants and wildlife.

The Troopers Hill Bristol dog walk can be extended down to Crews Hole and along the River Avon.

Contact us for more information about our walks. You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Friends of Troopers Hill.

Bishops Knoll dog walk

Bishops Knoll Bristol dog walk
Bishops Knoll is a hidden garden and woodland from the 19th Century. Overgrown with ivy, bamboo and laurel, this magical site is slowly being uncovered.

Our Bishops Knoll dog walk begins at the entrance in the Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve. It takes us through a small section of “old woodland” and over the lane from Bramble Drive into Bishops Knoll Arboretum.

Bishops Knoll entrace from Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve
Bishops Knoll entrance from Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve

Bishops Knoll Woodland Trust sign
Bishops Knoll Woodland Trust sign

Stoke Bishop woodland
Start of the woodland walk adventure 🌲

Dog walking in the woods
Eager to explore

Bishop Knoll woodland
Crossing a lane from Bramble Drive

Arboretum and Terraced Gardens

The woodland and arboretum contain a mixture of exotic and ancient trees. The largest tree here is the Monterey cypress in the arboretum, while possibly the oldest is a pollarded oak planted over 700 years ago as a boundary marker.

Ancient Bristol trees.
Picking up sticks

Dog looking back from woods.
Follow me 🐾

The original house on this site was used as a First World War hospital for Australian soldiers and later as a hostel and school for nurses. There are laminated signs with old photos dotted around the woodland.

Old photos of scenes when the woods were a temporary hospital for Commonwealth soliders during World War I.
Scenes from when the woods were a garden of a hospital for Commonwealth soldiers during World War I

Dog running along woodland paths.
Walking along the terrace

The woodland, gardens and terraces are slowly being restored by the Woodland Trust and volunteers Friends of Bishops Knoll Wood.

German Shepherd exploring the woods.
Restored woodland terraced gardens

German Shepherd walking up Bishop Knoll woodland stairs.
Cleo loves racing up and down the wooden steps

Volunteer aid detachment nurses working at Bishop Knoll in 1916
Nurses working in the gardens

German Sheperd dog on the lookout in Bristol woods.
Lookout spot

The walk can easily be extended further to White’s Paddock and Bennett’s Patch (home of the wicker whales 🐳).

Bishop Knoll gate to woodland
Entrance gate from Bennett’s Patch and White’s Paddock

Dog walking in Bishops Knoll, Bristol woodland
Exploring the woodland paths for the last time today

Woodland Trust photo of volunteers planting up the former wood pasture at Bishops Knoll 1986
A Woodland Trust photo from more recent times

German Shepherd dog at Bishops Knoll dog walk in Bristol
Happy dog 🐶

Well-used paths allow a wide network of walks, with many interesting features to look out for and views across the gorge to Leigh Woods.

The Bishops Knoll dog walk is definately one of my favourite walks for both solo and group walks. There is so much for the dogs to explore, different scents, sticks, paths to run up and down. It’s a lot of fun and very entertaining for them.

Contact us if you would like your dog to join us on a walk like this one. You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve Dog Walk

Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve Lake with ducks
This steep sided valley offers grassland, woodland, rare flower meadows and a lake complete with ducks and moorhens. The land belongs to BCC and the Friends of Sneed Park help them maintain this lovely piece of calm and tranquility.

Our Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve dog walk begins at the Glenavon Park entrance.  The path slopes steeply down towards woodland and grassland.  

Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve leaflet
Welcome leaflet

Old Sneed Park nature reserve Bristol sign map
Map of the Nature Reserve

The oldest trees in the park are the oaks which where here when the area was a deer park and are about three hundered years old. In the spring the woodland floor has carpets of lesser celandine, bluebells and wild garlic.

Stoke Bishop Woods Old Sneed Park
Entrance to the woods

The lake is on the left and home to mallard ducks, moorhens and many other small birds and creatures.  There is a fence around the lake and once you go through the gate dogs should be kept on leads.

Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve Lake with ducks
Old Sneed Park lake

Ducks on Bristol lake.
The lake is home to a variety of wildlife

Bridge over Bristol lake
Bridge next to the lake

Dog at Bristol nature reserve lake looking at ducks
Cleo taking an interest in the ducks

You can read more about the history of the nature reserve on the Friends of Old Sneed Park website.

Friends of Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve 2019
There are various signs showing the friends at work
Friends of Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve
The friends work in all weathers to to keep in park in good order

The meadow may look like just any grassy field but many of the grasses and plants here are no longer present in modern hay meadows which have been treated with fertiliser and herbicides. Cleo loves running through the recently cut grass.

Dog running at Bristol nature reserve
Cleo enjoying the grassland

German Shepherd at Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve
Plenty of space to meet new doggy friends

Dog running on grass Stoke Bishop Bristol
The end of our Old Sneed Park walk

Old Sneed Park is one of our favouite solo and group dog walks and we often extend the walk into Bishops Knoll. Contact us for more information.

You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Mina Road Park Bristol Puppy Walk with Jasper

Bristol puppy visits St Werburghs Park
Mina Road Park is a typical Victorian park located in St Werburghs. We visit with puppy Jasper and have fun exploring and making new doggy friends.

Jasper is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and almost 4 months old. We have been providing puppy visits for a couple of months and recently we have started to take him out for short walks. Mina Road Park is one of his favourite places to visit.

Mina Road Park

Bristol puppy visits St Werburghs Park
Jasper is excited to start his walk

Mina Park Road is very community focused and popular with families, sunbathers, local workers on their break and dog walkers.  There are various activities and festivals held in the park, like Picnic in the Park which is organised by The St Werburghs Centre.

There is a large central grassed area which is great for dogs to run around on and play. It’s very clean and tidy and the grass is cut regularly.

We are off to explore Mina Road Park

Mature trees line the paths with benches to relax on and watch your dog play with their doggy friends. On our visit today Jasper has met a Yorkie and Miniature Schnauzer.

The walls around the park have colourful graffiti and street art.

Bristol Graffiti by Stinkfish
Street art by Stinkfish
Mina Road Park, Bristol
Bridge over Horfield Brook

The park has a river running through it, Horfield Brook.  There are viewing platforms, planting and decorative bridges.  It’s a nice place for a dog to paddle but on this occasion Jasper is happy just observing the running water.

Staffy puppy Mina Road Park Bristol
Taking a break in the shade

Staffy St Werbughs park
Jasper finds the water interesting but isn’t ready for a paddle

Mina Park Road bridge
Mina Road Park view over the bridge

Other facilities at the park include a playground, basketball court and exotic cast-iron urinal.

Puppy meeting other dogs in Bristol park
Meeting new friends
Staffordshire Bull Terrier in St Werburghs park
Doggy watching
Staffy puppy in Bristol
The end of our Mina Road Park puppy walk

We had a nice time at Mina Road Park, it’s very sociable and Jasper loved meeting and playing with the other dogs. 

To book our puppy visits and walks contact us here. You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Greville Smyth Park Bristol Dog Walk with Sammy and Skye

Dog walking in Greville Smyth Park
Greville Smyth Park is a popular park in south Bristol. The park consists of large grass areas, a children’s play area, tennis courts and bowling green.  There are also beautiful mature trees that provide a natural habitat for a range of bird species.

Sammy and Skye are Border Collies and brothers, they joined us on our Greville Smyth Park dog walk and they love this park. There is plenty of space for them to run around and the park is arranged over different levels giving them some variety. The huge trees provide shade to cool off.

The park can get quite busy, especially during the summer with dog walkers, football teams, and people making use of the facilities. It is also a popular picnic destination.

The dog walk can be extended alongside the river Avon and towards Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Contact us for more information about our walks. You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Dogs in Bristol park.
Skye and Sammy
Bristol park trees
Mature trees line the pathways

Dog in Greville Smyth Park in Bristol.
Skye exploring the park

Greville Smyth Park tennis courts.
Tennis courts in the background

Dog walking in south Bristol.
The park is mostly green grass, perfect for dogs!
Teamwork
Dogs in south Bristol park.
Outdoor exercise stations including pull up bars and parallel bars.
Bristol park graffiti.
Rabbit graffiti

Dog in Greville Smyth Park Bristol
Sammy had fun!
Border Collie dog in Greville Smyth Park Bristol
Skye 🙂

Friends of Greville Smyth.

Sydney Gardens Bath Dog Walk

Sydney gardens bench
Sydney Gardens is a small park on the north-eastern side of Bath and the UK’s only surviving Georgian Pleasure Gardens.  It’s the perfect place to escape for some peace with your dog.  

Sydney gardens bench
Glimpses of the wider city of Bath amongst the historic trees

Sydney Gardens was once possibly the greatest pleasure garden outside London. It boasted a labyrinth, where Jane Austen walked every day when she lived in Bath.

“I join with you in wishing for the environs of Laura Place, but do not venture to expect it. My mother hankers after the Square dreadfully, and it is but natural to suppose that my uncle will take her part. It would be very pleasant to be near Sydney Gardens; we might go into the labyrinth every day.”
Jane Austen to Cassandra
Wednesday, January 21, 1801

Dog in Sydney Gardens Bath
Exploring the gardens

The gardens had become less popular around the time Brunel’s railway was built, destroying features including the popular labyrinth.  By the mid-19th century Royal Victoria Park was the preferred attraction.

Minerva's Temple, Sydney Gardens
Temple of Minerva which was added in the early 20th Century

Today, Sydney Gardens features fine trees, shrubberies, lawns and flower beds, tennis courts and a children’s play area.

Loggia, Sydney Gardens

The Gardens have close up views of trains and canal boats.  It’s easy to extend the walk along the canal.

Iron footbridge over the canal

Bath canal
Avon canal

Cleveland House
Cleveland House

Bath railway through Sydney Gardens
The Great Western Railway

Sydney Gardens provide a lovely break from the city. Dogs can enjoy a little run around the green space and walks can be extended further along the canal. It’s a neatly kept garden and recently Sydney Gardens have received £2.7m for major restoration work.

You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Paradise Bottom Bristol dog walk

Dog in Paradise Bottom pool.
Paradise Bottom was designed by landscape gardener Humphry Repton in the 18th Century. It was a picturesque pleasure garden created to impress guests and lead to a vista of the river Avon. The gardens have been restored by the Forestry Commission.

Paradise Bottom main path.
The path to Paradise Bottom

Our Paradise Bottom Bristol dog walk begins by following the path down the valley. The woodland paths provide access to a varied forest scenery, including a Giant Redwood and Fulham Oak. Many of these exotic tree plantings were imported in the 1860’s.

Giant Redwood in Paradise Bottom, Bristol
Giant Redwood
Sequoiadendron giganteum Wellingtonia in Leigh Woods, Bristol
Some of the trees have a name tag

We continue down to a large pool of water. There is a waterfall and streams leading to smaller pools. The streams eventually join the Avon. Read more here about the Paradise Bottom stone dock and how it was used to facilitate the building of Leigh Court.

Dog in Paradise Bottom pool.
Dogs love taking a dip in the large pool

Dog with stick in water at Paradise Bottom in Bristol.
Plenty of sticks to play with
Waterfall at Paradise Bottom, Bristol.
Waterfall

In spring there is a colourful display of bluebells and ramsons. There are many interesting scents for a dog to sniff.

Logs over stream at Leigh Woods
Crossing over a stream

Dog walking along path at Paradise Bottom in Bristol
Walking through the woods

Wet, muddy and happy dog at Leigh Woods in Bristol.
A wet, muddy and happy dog.

Paradise Bottom is one of our favourite Bristol dog walks, especially in the summer when the dogs enjoy the shade and paddle in the pools. We can easily make the walk longer by picking up the path that goes into the rest of Leigh Woods.

Paradise Bottom is situated on the north side of Leigh Woods. There is a car park on site. **June 2020 update** The onsite car park is now closed. Currently the closest parking available is opposite the Garden Centre entrance.

You can follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Prior Park Bath Dog Walk

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park
The Prior Park estate was established by Ralph Allen, a wealthy businessman, postal reformer, and future mayor of Bath. The gardens were designed by the poet Alexander Pope and landscape gardener Capability Brown. The mansion is now home to Prior Park College and the parkland is maintained by the National Trust.

Our Prior Park Bath dog walk begins at the visitor entrance on Ralph Allen Drive. The weather is fine and water has been provided for dogs at various locations around the estate.

The Palladian bridge

View over Bath and the Palladian bridge
View from the top of Prior Park valley

We take in the views from the top of the valley and walk down to the Palladian bridge. Aside from the gardeners the park is empty, even the cows that sometimes graze here are absent.

Prior Park Palladian bridge side view with lake
The Palladian bridge is one of four in the world
View through the Palladian bridge
Three bridges are based in England, one is in St Petersburg
German Shepherd on the Palladian bridge at Prior Park
Cleo ventures onto the bridge
Dog walking in front of the Palladian bridge
The middle lake was empty due to restoration work on the dam
The Palladian bridge and graffiti at Prior Park in Bath
Some of the graffiti on the bridge is over 200 years old
Prior Park mansion from the Palladian bridge
Prior Park mansion overlooks the valley and Bath

Priory Path

We then follow the winding paths through the woodland that circles the valley where we find a ruined thatched cottage and an ice house, a restored 19th century summerhouse and the footprint of a gothic temple.

Dog running along Priory Path in Bath
Cleo enjoying the woodland path
Priory Path in Bath
Priory Path
Prior Park Summer House
Restored 19th century summerhouse, under a roof of Cotswold stone tiles

We leave Prior Park through an unmanned gate that takes us up a steep hill to Rainbow Wood which is on the Bath skyline walk. I recently blogged about our skyline adventure in this post.

Our Prior Park dog walk was both beautiful and peaceful. Cleo particularly enjoyed the meandering paths through the various habitat types. Although the walk isn’t a long one, we highly recommend visiting these gardens for a relaxing dog friendly break from the bustling city.

Prior Park entrance from the Bath skyline walk
Prior Park gate

Information

Facilities include a tea shed that offers a range of cakes, scones and ice-creams. There is only disabled parking on the estate so we parked on North Road at the top of Ralph Allen Drive and walked down to the visitor reception. On our return to our vehicle we joined part of the Bath skyline walk through the woods. Alternatively, you can park in central Bath and walk up Ralph Allen Drive.

You can find out about the latest opening times and prices on the National Trust website. Follow our dog walking adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

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