The region straddling the border of England and Wales is full of history, myths, and legends. Here you will find crumbling medieval castles, ancient ruins, and brooding hills and mountains.
Border counties include Shropshire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire, and encompass the scenic Shropshire Hills and Wye Valley — both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Dog friendly days out and attractions in the Welsh Borders
- Ludlow Castle in Shropshire provides a great doggy day out. This fine ruined medieval castle has lots of areas to explore and is very dog friendly. Canine explorers are also allowed inside the castle tea rooms. Dogs must be on leads throughout the attraction. Bowls of water can be found around the castle for thirsty four-legged visitors. The castle is open seven days a week for most of the year. For further information and to check opening times visit www.ludlowcastle.com or call 01584 874465.
- In the heart of the Welsh Marches, on the edge of the historic border market town of Kington, Herefordshire, lies Hergest Croft Gardens. Extending over 70 acres, the gardens contain more than 5,000 rare trees and shrubs described as one of the finest collections in Britain. Dogs on leads are welcome throughout the gardens, and there is a water bowl at the entrance. Open between March and November. For further information call 01544 230160 or visit www.hergest.co.uk
- If you visit the quintessentially English town of Much Wenlock, Shropshire, don’t forget to visit its historic priory which dates back to the 13th century. Dogs on leads are welcome to wander the tranquil ruins. The medieval town is worth a visit too and there are several dog-friendly pubs. For further information and opening times visit www.english-heritage.org.uk
- The Plant Centre in Bromfi eld, Ludlow, Shropshire, welcomes dogs. Dogs are allowed inside the centre on a lead, in the garden areas and the gift shop. Liz Campbell, owner of the business, said most of the staff had dogs and all doggy visitors could expect a warm welcome. A bowl of water is on hand for dogs. There are also picnic areas outside. Ludlow Kitchen, the restaurant/cafe next to the Plant Centre, is dog friendly in its conservatory area. The Plant Centre is open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm. For further information visit www.ludlowplantcentre.co.uk
Exploring the countryside
- There’s much countryside to explore in and around the Welsh Borders. Green valleys, dramatic hills, and moorlands — the Shropshire Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and cover a quarter of Shropshire. There are many walks to enjoy, including part of the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail, of which 11 miles lie within the Shropshire Hills area.
- Kington in Herefordshire is known as the centre for walking. Although the town lies on the western side of Offa’s Dyke — a linear bank and ditch which runs through the English/Welsh borders — it has been an English town for a thousand years. You can also reach Offa’s Dyke Path from Kington, taking in Hergest Ridge Common where you might spot wild horses and features including an old racecourse and monkey puzzle trees.
- The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty straddles the border of England and Wales. Again, there are many walks you and your dog can enjoy such as the Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke Path. The Wye Valley contains a number of interesting towns and villages including Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth.
Dog-friendly places to eat in the Welsh Borders
- The Sun Inn, Leintwardine, Herefordshire, is one of the last remaining traditional parlour pubs in the UK. It welcomes well-behaved dogs on leads in all areas of the pub. It is situated within a few miles of Offa’s Dyke. The pub boasts that it once had a dog called Hobson as its ‘mayor’. Hobson got a mention in the Daily Telegraph and the local press. For further information visit www.suninn-leintwardine.co.uk
- The Hostelrie at Goodrich, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, is the perfect base for people wanting to visit the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley. Dogs are allowed everywhere except in the restaurant. Dog biscuits are kept behind the bar and water is available for thirsty dogs. This 19th century gothic-style building also has eight B&B rooms which are dog friendly. There is no charge for dogs to stay. For further information visit www.thehostelrieatgoodrich.co.uk
Did you know?
The area surrounding Kington in Herefordshire is steeped in legend, and there are many stories of a black dog with flaming red eyes. The animal is said to haunt the area around Hergest Ridge. It is rumoured that this story played a part in inspiring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular Sherlock Holmes novel ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. The author spent some time in Herefordshire and several local place names crop up in the story.
Offa’s Dyke Path walk guide
You can follow the English/Welsh border alongside the eighth century Offa’s Dyke Path, which takes you through a changing landscape.
Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail is 177 miles long and links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow with the coastal town of Prestatyn. The trail explores the Welsh Marches, passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park, and links three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Offa’s Dyke gets its name from the Anglo Saxon king Offa of Mercia.
The king ordered the dyke be constructed, probably to divide his kingdom from rival kingdoms in what is now Wales.
The linear bank and ditch is Britain’s longest surviving ancient monument. There are many breathtaking areas of the trail to explore.
Rob Dingle, trail officer, recommended a 2½ mile circular walk along the border at Llanymynech as being good for dogs, offering great views. It takes you through Llanymynech Lime Works Heritage Centre, then on up to the viewpoint on Llanymynech Rocks. Take care as sheep can sometimes be found grazing nearby.
- Park alongside the canal in the car park just off the A483. Walk through the silver gate towards the Lime Kilns.
- Follow the path round to the left towards the stables. Just past the stables, the path will split; take the right fork, heading towards the Lime Kiln. Pass the remains of a stone crusher on your left and stairs going up towards the kiln. Keep following the path straight on through a wooden gate into a field. The structural remains of the lime industry at Llanymynech make it a site of national importance. In among the rocks there are the fossilised remains of tiny sea creatures. Follow the path round to the left, through another wooden gate, and head forward. When you reach an information board, take the left path through the remains of the old railway. Turn right and follow the path towards the tally house. Here the path continues underneath a tunnel (the highway passes overhead). Continue up the English incline, going through a metal kissing gate, and reaching the drum house at the top.
- The path splits into two; follow it round to the left. Pass through a wooden kissing gate and you will come to another drum house.
- Here follow the path to the left and turn left towards the opening. This takes you slightly off the path and towards the viewpoint. After taking in the view, retrace your steps back to the drum house and towards the wooden kissing gate. Don’t go through the gate but turn right following the path down the Welsh incline.
- Continue until you come to a metal gate, taking you left and through a field before joining the incline on the English side of the border. Continue back through the tunnel under the road and past the tally house on your right.
- Again, follow the path left through the open tunnel where the old railway once went and turn immediately right going down towards the lime kiln. Feel free to explore the kiln and then return the way you came, back to the car park.