Holywell is Top Dog for Walkies in the West

The North Cornwall coastline around Holywell has been chosen as the Top Dog Walk in the West in the annual South West Coast Path competition for dog lovers thanks to a black dog and its owner.

It was chosen above all other entries by the competition judge and access advisor to the Kennel Club Stephen Jenkinson, an expert on where dog owners can go and what they can do in the countryside. Steve felt that a picture of the black dog enjoying the sands and sea at Holywell beach at the end of a Coast Path walk, stood out amongst all other entries.

He said:

“I just love the magical nature of the image that epitomises how uplifting a coastal walk can be. Openness, freedom and a mystical sense of the spirits and history of days gone by. Just the place you'd want to go - as a human or a dog - to refresh your soul and realise how very lucky we are to have these coastal landscape to enjoy.”

The picture was sent in by the dog’s owner Sian Pickles following the announcement of this year’s criteria for the competition.

For the past three years, dog walkers have been asked to nominate their favourite walk with their dog but this year, it was decided to let the dogs do the talking. In order to prove which walk was their favourite, their owners were encouraged to send in a picture of them enjoying it.

Sian says:

“The ‘Black Dog’ and I feel very blessed to live so close to the Coast Path. Especially Holywell Bay where we can wander the beach, chase rabbits in sand dunes, dip our toes in fresh water streams and listen to sky larks, with views on a clear day that reach all the way to St. Ives.”

Sian writes about her walks with the black dog named Mister Marley in her blog – Adventures with the Black Dog.

Holywell is the ideal location to end a dog walk as the beach is dog friendly all year round. A good 3.7 mile circular walk is from Holywell to Kelsey Head, taking in Polly Joke, which is also dog friendly. Download it from the South West Coast Path website.

The winner receives a dog friendly holiday courtesy of Toad Hall Cottages, which has around 350 dog friendly properties in the region, providing the perfect base to explore the Coast Path.

James Norton from Toad Hall Cottages says:

“We actively encourage our holiday home owners to make their property dog friendly because we realise that one of the biggest reasons for people choosing to holiday in the UK is that they want to keep their pets with them – they’re part of the family and they don’t want to have to put them in kennels. It’s fitting that the Coast Path is also a key attraction for dog owners looking to get out and about on holiday. In the last three years, we have welcomed over 12,000 dogs to our properties and last year for the first time, we provided specially selected dog packs for our guests on arrival, which was very well received and is something we will be doing again later this Spring.”

Fittingly, the announcement comes just a week before the annual Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Birmingham organised by the Kennel Club, which kindly supported the competition and provided tickets to Crufts for the top three dog walkers chosen by Steve.

Holywell also happens to link in with the famous site where Saint Piran is said to have first set foot on Cornish sands – the patron Saint of Cornwall who is celebrated on St Piran’s Day this weekend. Here’s a long but rewarding walk to follow in his footsteps for those with the stamina -

 The following pictures came a close second and third:

2nd place: Meg and Stewie at Hayle Beach thanks to owner Al Edwards

Steve said: “I was so taken by this enchanting, genuine and spontaneous image; the simple pleasure of a beach walk. It also so wonderfully showed that for all dogs - be they old or young, pedigree or cross-breed - the joys of a coast walk are there to be enjoyed by all. But then after a while you also appreciate the lovely way the dogs' reflections are picked up in the wet sand. Plus great to see both dogs with an identification tag, which is still required by law even after microchipping becomes compulsory from this April.”

3rd place: Barnaby - a Welsh Springer Spaniel, enjoying the walk from East Soar to Salcombe thanks to his owner, Lindsay Russell.

Steve said: “So pleased to see such a happy, healthy and in control Welsh Springer out for a walk. This is a really lovely looking dog in a place it so clearly enjoys. Brilliant to see such a stunning image making good use of depth of field to link the dog with its surroundings. Again, great to see Barnaby with an identification tag, which is still required by law to help reunite any lost dogs as soon as possible.”

There are hundreds of Coast Path walks that are dog friendly all year-round, with recommended places to eat, drink and sleep that are particularly dog friendly. For advice about walking the Coast Path with your dog visit

Published on: March 4, 2016