This week is National Walk Your Dog Week, so we’ll be sharing some of our favourite places to walk our dogs with you. Today we focus on Elgin’s favourite walk, which is a stretch of the South West Coast Path near Beer in Devon.
The views are amazing!
I’ve lived in the village of Beer since I was eleven years old, and spent a lot of time here before that because my family has lived in Beer for generations (since the 17th century!). I may be a little biased but I think Beer is one of the prettiest places in Britain. It’s still a working fishing port, although it now mainly relies on tourism. My paternal grandfather was a fisherman here and I have some wonderful photos of him. He died before I was born, but I’ve grown up listening to tales of his antics - apparently he was quite the character!
Throughout my youth we regularly walked the South West Coastal Path between Beer and Branscombe and I remember moaning about the huge hill coming out of Branscombe. I’d do anything to be able to walk up that hill now! Sadly since I’ve become disabled I’ve not been able to access that part of the footpath due to hills and stiles. But thanks to my sturdy mobility scooter and my assistance dog, Elgin, I can still access a good stretch of the route.
Stopping to have a rest
The views from the coastal path are quite simply stunning! You can look down over the village and across to the town of Seaton. I find being up there very relaxing, the peacefulness really helps my depression and anxiety. I could literally stay up there all day.
Our dogs have always loved this walk, and Elgin is no exception. There are a couple of fields away from the cliff edge that you can sometimes let dogs offlead in, but for most of the summer there is livestock in the fields. Obviously dogs have to stay on lead then, but it doesn’t seem to detract from their enjoyment. I put them on a fairly long lead and they have great fun exploring sights and smells.
I often meet people with offlead dogs around livestock, which is so frustrating as there are lots of signs asking you to keep dogs onlead. The culprits are both holidaymakers and locals - who should know better. Your dog doesn’t need to attack an animal to cause damage, as just the fear of being chased can cause the animals harm (especially with sheep). Please keep your dogs on leads around livestock!
Henry used to love this walk too, although when he got older he had to ride on my scooter a lot - he sat by my feet, not on the seat!
Unfortunately I’ve not been well enough to take Elgin on this walk recently as using my heavy scooter on such rough ground can dislocate my shoulders and it’s not accessible to my powered wheelchair, but I hope to be able to take him there again soon.
For more information about the South West Coastal Path visit www.southwestcoastalpath.org.uk