The East Midlands is a vast area of the UK, covering over 6,000 square miles. Despite that, it’s usually known for its cities, such as Nottingham, Leicester and Derby. However, the East Midlands also covers parts of Lincolnshire and Rutland.
These walks will be popular throughout the summer, but as long as you’re armed with sunscreen, lots of water, and picnic supplies, you’ll be able to make such a great day out of any of them. Some of these walks have large car parks whereas some are village locations. However, we recommend turning up as early as you can to make the most of your dog walk. That also means you’ll have finished your walk by lunchtime and can enjoy one of the many eateries along each of these routes.
We’ve rounded up five of our favourite dog walks in the East Midlands, perfect in the lead up to summer! They vary from waterside walks to hill climbing so hopefully, you’ll find something you and your dog fancy too!
This 7 mile walk is something different than your typical countryside outing. In the three hours spent on this walk, you’ll pass the old 101 Squadron airfield as well as the deserted mediaeval village of East Wykeham.
It’s considered a moderate walk, three hours long, due to its length. You’ll walk along the Viking Way long distance footpath, starting from the village of Ludford. Mid-walk, you’ll reach Great Tows, which is one of the highest points of the walk. The views up there are some of the best in the area so take some extra time to admire the scenery!
In terms of variation, on this walk, you’ll walk over grass and fields, and roadside walking. With so much to experience during this route, it’s incredibly dog-friendly.
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
If you’re looking for a relaxing National Trust walk, Hardwick Hall is a beautiful spot. It’s a fairly flat walk around the grounds, meaning it’s ideal for families, the elderly, and those with mobility issues. Whilst there are plenty of paths to follow, some are gravelled but are prone to puddles. Other sections feature grassland paths, which are often muddy!
There’s also a wider estate walk at 5.7 miles. However, this route features a fairly steep uphill and downhill section. Perfect if you want to test yourself but not for those who struggle with hill climbing.
To explore the Hall and gardens, you will need a National Trust membership or to pay a fee on the day. However, it is free to walk around the external grounds. You will also discover the Old Hall, a ruin which was previously used for guests and service staff when the new house was built.
It’s a vast ground so it could be worth multiple visits to explore the full 2500 acres of parkland! On the walk, you may come across livestock (most definitely cows) so dogs should be kept on a lead.
Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
If you’re looking to make a day of it, Clumber Park in Worksop can really take anything from two to five hours! This walk takes you around Clumber Lake so expect to see lots of wildlife on this trip as well as lots of historical aspects.
The standard route is 5.3 miles, and should take about two hours to complete. On this route, you’ll walk along the lakeside as well as through some woodland areas, roadside verges and through Hardwick village.
The main car park has plenty of facilities, such as toilets, a shop and a cafe so you could treat yourselves after a long walk or alternatively, pack up a picnic to have on the way. It’s a lovely place to visit at any time of the year but especially in warmer months when you can spend some time just sitting in the peace and quiet!
Hambleton Peninsula, Rutland
If you’re looking for a more challenging rather than a relaxing walk, ambling on the Hambleton Peninsula circular route will be right up your street. This route goes around Rutland Water and will take you around two hours to finish this 4.8 mile stretch.
You’ll start this walk in Upper Hambleton, which then takes you by Armley Wood and Hambleton Wood before going around the back of Hambleton Hall’s grounds.
Be aware that this walk is pretty hilly throughout, especially at the very beginning, and often gets slippery and muddy in many places. Sustainable footwear with a very good tread is required so time to break out those walking shoes or boots again!
In the height of summer, it can get crowded in the middle of the day so getting here early morning or leaving it until late afternoon is recommended. It’s a popular route for ramblers so you could always tag along with them or ask them for directions if you get lost. However, the paths are well laid-out on this walk so you should have an easy time locating them.
Foxton Locks, Leicestershire
For something a little different, Foxton Locks is perfect for you. This walk has ten canal locks separated into two staircases, with five on each. There are three main routes: 1.3 miles. 2.2 miles and 5 miles, varying from 30 minutes to over two hours. These routes can take longer if you stop to look at the views or locks!
This walk is on the Leicestershire line of the Grand Union canal so it;s a lovely walk along the canal side. It gets very popular during the summer holidays so if you can, try to visit before and after that time. It’s a route that’s best walked when it’s nicer weather so it’s not particularly fun during the rain or snow. However, cold and dry days are just as fun provided you’re wrapped up warm!
There are a selection of very good pubs along this route, as well as at the start/finish so it can be worth nipping in for some hearty pub grub and a drink following your walk. Even if you don’t visit for a long walk, it’s a lovely spot to just sit and enjoy. You’ll find a mixture of people from walkers to families here.
With summer on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to explore new routes locally or jump in the car to somewhere not too far away. These dog walks in the East Midlands are varied but each of them manageable for most of us. We know your dogs will love the changing scenery too so let’s explore the British countryside a bit more!