Jason Roberts joined us as a full time Lead Instructor in 2018 after a successful career in IT and after spending three years as a seasonal, part time and a freelance instructor.
Away from work, dogs play an important part in Jason’s life and his current companion often accompanies him when he’s out exploring.
‘We have an 18 month old rescue dog called Freddie. He’s was rescued from Cyprus and is a cross between a Poodle and a Kokoni, a local Greek dog. It’s a good cross, and he’s a good strong, healthy, energetic dog, so I like getting out with him and exploring the local area.
Here are five of my favourite local places to take him:
Wareham to Corfe Castle
This is one of the longest walks we’ve done. It’s a circular route of about 25km and takes about 4 to 5 hours, heading back along the south side via Blue Pool.
If you’re not based near Wareham, there is some parking in the town centre and at Wareham Quay, which is a great place to stop for a drink or a pasty. From there you can head out across Hartland Moor past Scotland Farm, into Corfe across the railway line and into the National Trust car park which almost sits at the foot of the castle.
It’s a long walk, so make sure you bring plenty of water so you can both stay hydrated.
If you’re after a shorter walk, Wareham Forest is basically a big triangle and there are loads of little walks you can take in between the heath and woodland. There’s plenty of parking to choose from at Sika Trail, Lawson’s Clump or at Sherford Bridge.
Okay, this one is a little unexpected. Upton Country Park is just outside Poole town centre and is a great place to head if you’re after a quick, strong, self-contained walk. There are lots of different paths for the dogs to explore and you can get into the park from multiple sides. The whole park is off lead, with the exception of the nature reserve, which is gated off.
There’s a big car park inside the entrance and around the back of the house, they have a little tea room, with plenty of seating both inside and out. Dogs aren’t allowed inside though, but they do have a dog wash for those dirtier winter walks.
It’s worth noting that a Parkrun takes place every Saturday morning at 9am. They’re all done by 10:00 though.
Tyneham to Lulworth
Lulworth to Tyneham is one of the best walks in the area, heading past Worbarrow Bay. If you walk the other way, you are faced with quite an undulating, difficult but worthwhile walk and if you feel like it, you can make it all the way to Weymouth.
There’s a car park at Tyneham View and from there you can walk down to Worbarrow Bay. From there you can head East and head right up over the cliffs to Lulworth, enjoying each of the bays along the way.
There’s plenty of parking at Lulworth with loads of places to grab a snack, either up near the car park, or down by the cove itself. It’s not a secret, but Lulworth does get really busy during the summer and holiday seasons.
North Dorset Trailway
Good dog walking isn’t limited to South Dorset. The North Dorset Trailway that runs from Spetisbury to Sturminster Newton is well worth exploring. It’s made up of sections from the old Somerset and Dorset Railway so the ground is fairly even. There are loads of car parks dotted around along at various places, so access isn’t an issue. A good place to start is Spetisbury. The ground where the old station used to sit has been turned into a picturesque little picnic area .
Like Upton House, there’s a Parkrun on Saturday mornings in Blandford that takes place on the Trailway starting and finishing near the Jubilee Way Bridge.
Nestled on the top of the Isle of Purbeck, Studland has stunning views over to the Isle of Wight. It’s basically four miles of sheltered beaches, with the added bonus of good parking and dog-friendly places to grab a bite to eat.
Start in Studland Village and park in the National Trust car park next to the Bankes Arms pub. Head down the hill with the pub on your right and take the first track on your left to access the beach. Here you’ll find Joe’s Cafe on the left. Continue walking and you’ll discover a few more good cafes including the National Trust cafe at Knoll Beach.
After a blast on the beach, a pint by the fire at the Bankes Arms (dog friendly) is always a welcome treat.
You can make the walk as long or as short as you need by cutting back across the heathland at numerous points and venture back to where you parked. It’s not just one way though; you can head South and venture towards Old Harry Rocks past the Nature Reserve too.
‘There is so much to explore around Dorset and if we had mountains we’d have everything. As it is, there is so much to explore and if I have once piece of advice for people, it’s to go and buy some local books. Something like Pub walks or a local walks book such as Dorset Walks – Pathfinder Guide, Short Walks in Dorset and Smuggler’s Trails: Pub Walks in Dorset.
The South West Coast Path, all 630 odd miles of it, starts at Shell Bay on Purbeck, right by the Chain Ferry. It’s the longest National trail in the UK and the designated paths let you pick it up anywhere, wander along and then hop off to explore.’