The sun is peeking out and it seems that Summer is finally around the corner! As a devoted dog mum or dad, you will most likely have traversed trails, fetched in forests and braved the beaches in all weathers but now is the time to embrace the longer days and enjoy the great outdoors with your doggo!
We are so fortunate in Northern Ireland to have such an amazing choice of beautiful beaches and captivating countryside to choose from, right on our doorstep. With the recent upsurge in dog-friendly activities, we thought we would showcase our top walks for you, your family and your pooch this Summer.

Why not make a day of it? Pack up a picnic for you all to enjoy! Pet & Country stock handy travel water bowls, convenient collapsible food bowls and some healthy, yummy doggy snacks to include for your pooch pal too.

1.Portstewart Strand

If bounding along the beach sounds like fun, why not try Portstewart Stand? Now we don’t suggest you explore all 33 miles of beach at once (from Portstewart to Ballycastle via The Causeway Coast) but there is a more feasible 2-mile circular route in the dunes with plenty of opportunities for dashing and digging. Neighbouring Benone Strand was also voted ‘Northern Ireland’s Favourite place to walk your Dog’ in the 2018 WalkNI awards so it is well worth a look.

2.Murlough National Nature Reserve
Or explore the 6000 year old sand dunes at the Murlough National Nature Reserve in Co. Down. With a network of paths and boardwalks winding their way through the dunes, woodland and heath you’re sure to see an array of butterflies, wild flowers, and stunning views of the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Castle.

We have lots of beach toys in-store at Pet & Country for you to enjoy on your walk with floating toys that dogs can swim with to help them cool down on hot summer days!

Dog In Water With Kong Air Squeaker Toy Floating

Don’t worry, we also have super absorbent towels to help dry and clean them before they go back in the car!

Furrish Microfiber Towel

3. Summit Trail at Divis Black Mountain
Fancy going further afield, why not challenge yourself to the Summit Trail at Divis Black Mountain? Stretching over 3 miles, the trail takes you through open heath and bog following a marked trail to the highest peak in the Belfast Hills with stunning views of Belfast City below as well as the beautiful Lough Neagh, Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough.

4.Glenariff Forest Park
If you’d prefer to not be panting under the strong summer sunshine, then Glenariff Forest Park could be perfect! There are several walking trails through the shaded forest which give spectacular views of the waterfalls and glimpses of wildlife.

5.Crawfordsburn Country Park
Looking for a combination of beach and woodland? Crawfordsburn Country Park on the southern shore of Belfast Lough, is your answer with 2 excellent beaches, stunning views across Belfast Lough, miles of tranquil scenic walks and a stunning waterfall. There are even some designated areas where your pooch can explore without his lead!

If you’re travelling, don’t forget, we sell seatbelts, blankets and travel bags to help your pooch cope with some of the longer car journeys and to keep them safe.

Dog Chain Car Seatbelt

6.Castle Ward Boundary Trail
Canine quests abound at the Castle Ward Boundary Trail! Starting at the shores of Strangford Lough following the 8-mile trail up to Audley’s Castle, you’ll cross magical 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 tea-room afterwards for some well-earned refreshments and rewards.

7.Rowallane Gardens, Co. Down
There are lots of trails to keep both dog and walker intrigued at Rowallane Gardens. The trails pass through the 19th century garden, famous today for its colourful plants and rugged landscape. Although all dogs must be kept on a lead, there is an outdoor exercise area where dogs are allowed to chase after their tennis ball or roam free from their leads.

8.Peatlands Park, Co. Tyrone
A wonderful wilderness close to the southern shores of Lough Neagh, Peatlands Park boasts over 10 miles of paths, wooden walkways and flora and fauna not found anywhere else in NI. The park is rich in butterflies, moths and dragonflies as well as many woodland and wetland birds and several species of waterfowl.

9. Slieve Gullion, Co. Armagh
The mountain of mystery presents a challenging walk for keen walkers and their favourite four-legged friends, although it has to be said that the views from the top are worth the climb! Rising to 573m, the 9.5 mile walk at Slieve Gullion is the centrepiece of the volcanic landscape in the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Beauty. Dogs are allowed and should be kept on a lead.

Remember! some locations may have signs to indicate restricted dog access or that you must keep your dog on a lead, so be sure to look out for these or call ahead to check access. Also be a responsible dog owner and clean up after your pooch.

With so many great destinations to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring with your dog this Summer.

May 30, 2022 — Pet & Country

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