Over a third of all homes have a “man’s best friend” as part of the family, with January being ‘walk your dog’ month, we thought it was high time we featured a blog for their benefit.

We’re incredibly lucky with the amount of countryside on our doorstep across our branch network; forests and parks, ponds and lakes, fields and canals… in terms of natural beauty, we have it all. This offers an abundance of walking routes to explore. Chances are, like most of us, you’ll have a traditional route, but why not make the most of a frosty weekend and explore somewhere new?

Dogmersfield Park (Four Seasons)

This medieval estate is swathed in history, now owned by the Four Seasons chain, but with plenty of open space to enjoy. There is a circular route option from Odiham which follows the canal, or alternatively you can park up and walk from there, details here. This route will provide farmland (so expect geese and cattle en route), woodland, parkland, the lake and canal for a hugely diverse setting.

Old Basing and the Loddon River 

This three mile circular route explores a meadow and stream, where once there were rope swings – so potential for the children, a bluebell woodland and ending with a potential visit to the local pub, what better way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon? You can find full details here.

Winchfield to Tundry Pond

This canal side walk takes you along the Basingstoke Canal, so you do go back on yourself. If you follow the route described here, you will end reach Tundry Pond and the outer reaches of Dogmersfield Park.

Minley Woods and Hawley Woods

These two woodland areas offer circular routes. Minley Woods presents both forestry and open spaces, backing onto Minley Barracks, whilst Hawley Woods,   frequently used for filming, has a variety of path options with a pond and grazing cattle (though these can be avoided). Free parking is available at both.

Fleet Pond

Fleet Pond is the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire, with over 140 acres of wildlife habitats. Owned by the council and managed between a selection of agencies, it is a wonderful local asset and a beautiful area to explore. With a steady terrain which encounters streams, Basingstoke Canal, open woodland and of course Fleet Pond, with the optional pub stop, this is a great place to take a wander during the festive season! For details of route options and a first-hand account of the walk, click here.

Bramshill Forest

This large area offers forestry, clearings, woods and ponds, with a variety of terrains. There is some wildlife; deer, swans, rabbits etc, but regularly used by dog walkers and horse riders. For further details, click here.

Wherever you take your four legged friends, we hope that our shortlist helps inspire you to make the most of our beautiful surroundings.