Taking your dog on holiday ought to be a doddle, and we think an Exmoor holiday with your dog fits the bill. Guest blogger Lynne Scott gives some pointers for sniffing out the best choice for you and your ‘holidog’.
People choose a self-catering holiday so they can please themselves, and naturally when your dog is a part of the family, kennels aren’t an easy or cheap option. So, with an estimated nine million dogs in the UK*, holiday home providers are making it their business to accommodate dogs and their owners! Going on a self-catering holiday can be a military exercise especially when you have a dog in tow, so here’s how to suss out property owners who go the extra mile for their doggy guests!
Considerations for a dog friendly self-catering holiday
When you’ve found a holiday cottage you like the look of, it’s time to find out more information. Most providers who welcome dogs will have a standard policy which protects their property, and some will charge for each dog to cover basic cleaning. But there are also practical matters which will make all the difference to enjoying a relatively stress-free holiday such as having a secure garden or an outside tap for washing your dog down after a walk, or provision of beds which will save space in the boot.
Heading to Exmoor with its stunningly beautiful diverse landscape is just a short hop across the Quantock Hills from junction 24/25 on the M5. There are plenty of glorious stopping off points and opportunities to exercise your dog along the way.
Pooches of all shapes and sizes are welcome at Exmoor Character Cottages
Lucy Green is the owner of Exmoor Character Cottages, four gorgeous period properties on the West Somerset coast, all on the doorstep of 37 miles of stunning Exmoor coastline flanked by wooded valleys, wild moors dotted with chocolate box cottages, medieval villages and small harbours.
Lucy welcomes dogs of all sizes which is undoubtedly a bonus, and two dogs go free which is even better. When you confirm your booking for one of our four cottages, we just need to know how many dogs will be coming along and you will receive information on dog friendly places to visit during your Exmoor holiday with your dog. We also send helpful things to know including beach access times and the contact numbers of the local vets. When you arrive, there’ll be a little doggie treat too on the welcome tray Lucy sets out for the new arrivals at the start of the holiday. Lucy says: “We’ve seen an increase in the number of guests with dogs of all sizes, from really tiny to pretty big! We go out of our way to make our cottages welcoming – some dogs even ‘write’ comments in the Guest Books with their favourite walks. Very clever.” There aren’t too many rules other than to pick up after your dog, and whilst the garden isn’t out of bounds, the bedrooms are! There are dog beds, blankets and food and drink bowls, set out on a cute little bone-shaped floor mat. Like any other accommodation provider, we discourage washing muddy paws in our bathrooms, but no stress as all our cottages have a hose in the garden along with a batch of towels just for our doggy guests! Woof woof!
Take time to settle in
When you arrive, you will want settle in and relax at the start of the holiday, and your dog will be settling in too and might decide to let the whole neighbourhood know he’s in town! We all know over-excited dogs can insist on barking at everything that moves, including next door’s cat! If this happens, take your dog outside on a lead until he settles down.
Dog Friendly Beaches
We are fortunate to have some beautiful secluded harbours along the Exmoor coastline from Minehead to Porlock and further afield at Lynton and Lynmouth and if your dog loves the water, there are plenty of beaches that allow dogs too. The main bathing beach in Minehead allows dogs between October and April and on Dunster and Blue Anchor Beach all year round. Many of Lucy’s guests ask for information on beach access which is updated at the time of the visit. If your dog loves the water, we suggest you take plenty of fresh water with you to dilute salty sea water or contaminants from rivers which aren’t so obvious and might cause upset tummies. Remember too that sea currents and tides can change quickly so check any warnings around the beach or lake and if you aren’t sure, keep your dog on the lead. Some areas, for instance, Bossington Beach, have strong undercurrents and we advise against letting your dog – or you for that matter – in the water here.
“Walkies” on Exmoor
If you are on serious walking holiday and want to cover some miles, head to the south west coast path which starts at Minehead. A magnet for walkers, Exmoor is also home to the highest coastline in England and Wales rising to 433m (1421feet) at Culbone Hill. The diversity of the Exmoor landscape provides many opportunities for the family to enjoy an Exmoor holiday with your dog in great outdoors with plenty of places to paddle, run, swim and cycle. Here’s the essential guide to being out and about on Exmoor with your furry companion.
It goes without saying that keeping to the clearly marked footpaths and your dog on a lead, if livestock is in the fields, is courteous to landowners and moreover it keeps your dog safe. We always advise you to be especially careful around sheep, lambs, and Exmoor ponies. Unfortunately, some dangers are not so obvious so be aware of the of problems of ticks and how to spot and treat them. Be aware also that what appears to be well-trodden paths may not always mean a legal right of way, so it’s a good idea to check out the local area and keep a map handy when out and about. We have produced a Little Book of Walks which will be available in each of our four cottages free of charge and for serious walkers we recommend the excellent and good value Walking Maps sold in the Exmoor National Park Centres. We also provide our guests with helpful recommendations for pubs, tea rooms and historic properties that welcome dogs, on our website.
To find out more about Exmoor Character Cottages, and an Exmoor holiday with your dog, explore our website.