Winner of the top dog walk in the west is announced for national pet month

An image of a dog taking a rest, while on a walk between Hartland Point and Morwenstow on the north Devon coast, has resulted in this walk being chosen as the Top Dog Walk in the West in the annual South West Coast Path competition for dog walkers. It's easy to see why from the picture that Paul Stroud sent in of his dog Molly enjoying the beautiful views on their favourite walk. They win a complimentary stay at one of Toad Hall Cottages dog friendly holiday cottages in the region.

The winner was chosen by judge, Stephen Jenkinson, an access advisor for the Kennel Club, who said: “I was instantly drawn to this very calm, dignified and thoughtful image of Molly the dog. She looked a tad close to the cliff, but as the dog is not going towards the edge and has a collar and tag on, she looks well under control. I love the image’s composition, depth of field and clarity – not easy to get on the many hot, hazy days on the coast. But most of all, the image reminds me of all I love about the coast path: beautiful, inspiring scenery that’s accessible to all – from a younger person to an older dog”.

Stephen has worked closely with the South West Coast Path to advise dog owners about walking the route with their dogs and his top tips to being a responsible top dog owner are available on the website along with a short film. He is particularly keen to point out that dogs should be kept on leads on farmland with grazing livestock. This is the case all year round, although particularly important during lambing season.

May is also the time of year that the seasonal dog ban is implemented on many of the region’s beaches. Fortunately for dog owners, it is still permitted to walk the coast path, as long as you follow the official route where it traverses beaches with dog bans in place.

Dog owners are clearly fond of the South West Coast Path’s dog friendly walking routes, so much so that the national trail was awarded the title of the UK's best loved dog friendly destination in the 'Outdoors' category of the annual Kennel Club Dog Friendly awards late last year.

Toad Hall Cottages are well aware of the popularity of taking your pet on holiday. 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.”

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: April 28, 2017