The Yorkshire Dales is a great area for walkers, with countless footpaths, ancient lanes and bridleways to explore, not to mention lots of picturesque villages with welcoming pubs and tea-rooms to refresh yourself after your walk. Its not always obvious which walks will be suitable for dogs though. There is nothing more frustrating than getting half way round a walk and being confronted with a difficult stile and a mud covered dog to carry over it. So I’ve investigated lots of walks and found routes that any reasonably fit dog (and owner) could tackle.
When writing a book like this it’s not a problem finding enough suitable walks; it’s a problem knowing which to pick and when to stop.
When most people talk of the Yorkshire Dales they think of the three longest: Wharfedale, Wensleydale or Swaledale and rarely some of their numerous tributary dales. The National Park also includes Malhamdale, Ribblesdale and Dentdale as well as numerous other valleys on the periphery. Each of these dales is unique with their own history, topography, geology, flora and fauna. In a book this size it’s not possible to include walks from every dale and I have missed quite a few out entirely for no other reason than there is insufficient space to include them.
Each of the 20 walks has been designed to provide a minimum of road-walking and maximum freedom for you and your dog. Where ever possible the routes avoid difficult to negotiate stiles or include alternate paths to get around them.
Most of the walks start from or near villages with pubs and cafes, so I have talked to the various landlords and owners to find out if they allow dogs in at least part of their premises. It does seem to be the case that if the pubs and tea rooms are dog-friendly, the local paths are too. All of the pubs and cafes mentioned in the book allow dogs into to some of their rooms. I would always telephone in advance to check for opening times and availability of food though. A lot of the places mentioned have different opening and serving times in different seasons so again check first if you are not taking your own food and drink on a walk.
Of course, pubs and cafés change hands and even footpaths get re-routed from time to time, so I’ve a site at dogfriendlywalks.com where you can post notices of changes.
Enjoy your walking.