Hey Gang! Can you believe it? Summer is finally here!
Well, as I’m writing this it’s pretty overcast and humid as hell, with thunder storms forecast. We’ve also had heavy rain for what feels like an eternity… BUT we did have that one day of sun this weekend! So YAY SUMMER!
Regardless of the rain, we’ve spent a wicked few weeks in the company of some wonderful doggos ! To celebrate, we’ll be spending some time over the summer months scouting some of the very best dog walking spots around Cardiff and the Vale. We love getting out and about with our furry pals and are always looking for new places to explore, so we want to compile a list that inspires others to try some places they may not have visited before.
This blog will be the first in a series of monthly posts, ending on the 30th of September. While we’re busy in the field (literally) getting to grips with the best hangouts for hounds, we want to hear from YOU. Maybe you know of a secret grove or not-so-well-known nook that you find ideal for prime pooch time — we’d love to hear about your recommendations. If you’d be happy to share them, please get in touch!
So, we’ll be starting off with a list of hot spots in Barry. What better place to start than right on our doorstep, eh? Just a 10 minute walk from our house, the Island is our go-to for getting some fresh air, with or without a doggo in tow.
Whether you’re after a little stroll along the sea front, or a more rigorous romp along the coast, Barry’s four (you heard!) beaches are all easily accessible on foot or by vehicle, meaning you can stick to one area or follow the coastal pathways and take in all the surroundings on offer.
Whitmore Bay is the main beach in Barry, and where the masses generally flock when the summer months roll in. We know, there’s a silly beach ban for dogs *eye roll* but that shouldn’t stop anyone taking a walk down to the Island. There are dog-friendly businesses aplenty, and the adjacent beaches welcome dogs to roam free — usually away from the crowds too! We’ve got a pretty sweet summer route nailed down, but dependent on your dog (and the weather!), this route can be shortened or made a day of.
As the beach ban comes in to effect (on May 1st each year), we like to make the Old Harbour (or Barry Harbour) our summer stomping ground. When the tide is out, this little beach comes in to its own. With rock pools galore for doggos to cool off and plenty of space to run free, this place is perfect for pups to enjoy the longer days. It’s a favourite with regular pups Stella and Minnie, who love swimming, sprinting and sun bathing.
Friar’s Point connects the Old Harbour to Whitmore Bay, and is a pretty glorious walk in itself. We go there most days for a walk with the dogs, and the views make me feel so lucky to live in this amazing town. Even on a wet, blustery day, you can see a huge stretch of the Vale’s beautiful coast line whilst wandering along the walkways.
The great thing about these beaches is how easily they’re connected. On the Old Harbour but need a pit stop? No problem! It may not feel like it, but you’re a mere 10 minute walk away from the hustle and bustle of Barry Island, where you can sit and eat anything from a tray of cheesy chips, to toast and a cuppa — trust me, Tom and I have done our research!
Even with the beach ban in place, the Island is a great place to stop off and there are so many great local businesses to take a break at, that are also dog friendly — bonus! A handful of our favorites are:
Marcos — Famous for Gavin and Stacey, but Gus (the lovable Labrador cross who’s currently staying with us) is always more interested in the toast! We stopped off here last week because Gus’ owners told us that it was his favourite stop off for a treat — The place has a lush outlook right on the beach front. Perfect for morning walks or if you fancy a stop off for a cuppa. They also have a great range of homemade treats, ice creams and baguettes if you’re passing later in the day. Sitting outside on a sunny day is best to watch the world go by.
Whitmore and Jackson — Perfect for brunch (our favourite is the avocado and poached egg on sourdough), but this fantastic cafe caters for anytime of day and what ever mood you’re in. There’s plenty of outdoor seating for nice days, and always plenty of cake on offer. We highly recommend a couple of slices with a pot of tea, if you fancy a pit stop and a cheeky treat. You can even have a glass or bottle of something a bit stronger if the sun has got you feeling like you’re somewhere far more exotic than Barrybados. There are plenty of vegan/veggie/gluten free options to suit everyone’s needs. As a recent veggie convert, these are things I’ve really begun to appreciate A LOT more (not everyone wants stuffed peppers or mushrooms ALL THE TIME). If that wasn’t enough, they are great advocates for small, local businesses stocking wares from local favourites including The Goodwash Company and Cocoa Therapy. You can even pick up one of our swanky business cards if you fancy!
Cadwaladers — Fancy an ice cream but don’t want to leave your pooch outside? No problem! Not only can your dog come in and cool off, there are treats for all indoors! For research purposes (of course!) Tom and I took 4 dogs in this week and did just that — ice creams for us (we opted for pistachio and salted caramel in a waffle cone — super dreamy!) and a few tubs of Frozzys for our furry friends. It’s a frozen yogurt for dogs (dogurt?) and our little pack loved these lickable treats. They also make for good photo shoot opportunities, which the Cadwaladers ‘gram LOVES. If you check out their ‘Dog Pals’ highlights for cute furry visitors, you’ll be able to spot Davey getting stuck in! Cadwaladers also have lots of dairy free options, so vegan and dairy-free friends can have a treat too! It’s the perfect place to refuel halfway through a walk for hoomans and doggos alike!
Refreshed and not ready for home time just yet? Then let’s keep going! Even though dogs aren’t allowed on Whitmore Bay during the summer months, a stroll along the prom is always lovely — over on the eastern promanade are the beach huts, there are also some water stop offs here for your pooches — important for expeditions on hot days! These beach huts can be rented out via the Visit the Vale website and are doggy friendly. We’ve never managed to book one, but we’ve met plenty of lovely people that have. Our resident pups have even been given a treat or two for passing by (and looking super cute)!
After a stop off at the beach huts, you’re well on your way to Nell’s Point, which connects Whitmore and Jackson’s Bay. It’s worth a exploring for the beautiful views alone! Dogs love the grassy verges and there’s some great lookout points for us hoomans to explore. We always spot a few fisherman perched on the cliff faces too, so it’s undoubtedly a hot spot for catch of the day! From there, you can follow the pathway that snakes under the Coastwatch lookout station which leads you to Jackson’s Bay. It’s a small beach, hidden away from tourists and is perfect for doggos who love a sea swim. We’ve spent many a summer evening roaming around this area watching the world go by.