- Ultimate Guide to Dog Training : How to Bring Out the Best in Your Pet, Paper...Brand new
- Worlds Best Dog Dad T-shirt Funny Fathers Day Pet Husband Pup Boyfriend Gift TopBrand new
- Ultimate Guide to Dog Training : How to Bring Out the Best in Your Pet, Paper...New (other)
It’s undeniable that we are a nation of dog lovers.
Spending time with our favourite four-legged friends can certainly be the highlight of our day.
And ahead of National Dog Day 2020 – which this year falls on Wednesday, August 26 – the National Trust has compiled a list of dog-friendly walking spots across Northern Ireland.
From open fields to woodland, country side and beaches, NI is home to several picturesque beauty spots ideal for dogs to roam, play, and bounce their way through.
And some spots even offer dog facilities including exercise areas where they can run off lead, water drinking bowls, hitching posts, spare leads and dog mess bags – just in case your forget yours.
Some spots like Divis and the Black Mountain , Castle Ward and Murlough National Nature Reserve are also home to cattle and horses for conservation grazing to reduce scrub so native wildflowers can thrive. To keep all these animals and your own dog safe, please keep your dog on a lead.
Here’s a round up of the National Trust’s best dog-friendly places to enjoy a long walk with your pooch along with some top dog etiquette tips.
Top dog-friendly walks:
Miles of sand backed by ancient dunes make this a magical spot for a doggy dip in the sea and dig in the sand.
Portstewart Strand is the start point for the 33-mile long Causeway Coast Way to Ballycastle.
If you fancy a shorter walk you can choose between walks along the strand or a two-mile long circular route in the dunes.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Explore the beauty of Murlough with the three-mile North Point trail to discover the history, biology and conservation of this special place. Please keep your dog on a lead to avoid disturbing wildlife or damaging the reserve.
Divis and the Black MountainSummit Trail
If your pouch has boundless energy to burn off, then challenge yourself to the Summit Trail.
Covering three miles, the trail takes you through open heath and blanket bog following a way marked trail to the highest peak in the Belfast Hills.
Overlooking the city below and with magnificent views of Lough Neagh, the Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough there is no better vantage point to take in the magnificent scenery that Northern Ireland has to offer.
Giant’s Ring Trail, Minnowburn
Starting and ending at Minnowburn car park, the Giant’s Ring Trail is a wonderful place to reconnect your dog with nature on the edge of Belfast.
It is an energising walk for dogs and humans alike, along riverbanks, over stiles and through meadows to discover the impressive ancient earth henge of the famous Giant’s Ring.
The trail will lead you to Sandpit Field, a marvellous natural amphitheatre that was carved by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age.
Castle Ward Boundary Trail
This eight-mile trail takes in some stunning sights around Castle Ward.
Start at the shore of Strangford Lough and follow the trail up to Audley’s Castle, from here you’ll cross mature woodland and farmland, though the historic grounds of Windmill Plantation and across the deer park before finishing in the old farmyard.
Head up to the courtyard afterwards for refreshments and doggy treats in the tea-room.
Castle Coole Lake Trail
Take a pleasant, gentle walk around tranquil Lough Coole, spotting wildlife and glimpses of the mansion house on the way.
Take your time to enjoy the sights and sniff out the scents along the way as you pass through the site of the original Queen Anne House before reaching the shore of the Lough.
Dog exercise parks
If your dog likes nothing better than a good run off the lead, then head to Rowallane Garden, Castle Ward or Mount Stewart which offer designated dog exercise areas where your canine companion can run safely in secure space.
Are you a lover of Style, Beauty or Interiors? Maybe you want the latest tips on keeping fit, eating right, organising your home and staying well, not to mention all the latest showbiz goss and the craic around town then follow Belfast Live’s brand new lifestyle page Be.
You can find us on Facebook ,Twitter and Instagram.
Top dog etiquette
1. Keep your dogs on a lead
Please respect other visitors and the local wildlife and keep your dog on a lead.
2. Be mindful of machinery
Rangers are often carrying out essential conservation work, so please respect signs and instructions of machinery which could hurt your dog or yourself.
3. Don’t leave your dog poo behind
Come prepared to clean up after your pooch. Some places will have dog waste bins on site but if not, please bag it and bring it home to safely dispose of.
4. Keep them cool
Dogs are at risk of overheating if left in cars, so never leave them unattended with the windows closed. There are dog water bowls located at most National Trust places so make sure your dog is well hydrated, so they don’t overheat.