Introducing the four-legged walking companions of Cheshire
PUBLISHED: 09:21 21 December 2020 | UPDATED: 09:21 21 December 2020
Cheshire is a county for walkers, and a Facebook community with thousands of two-legged and four-legged members is leading the way
Facebook’s Dog Walks in Cheshire, started in July 2017 by Roger Westwood of Winsford, has a multitude of members from the county, the rest of the UK and beyond.
Members not only share ideas for walks and go out in groups (when possible), they submit pictures for weekly themed photo competitions.
This year, Cheshire Life will be featuring the social media stars from the group every month. Here’s the first line-up, plus their (and their owners’) favourite outings.
Roger Westwood, pictured with his five-year-old son, Logan, on a dog walk in Cheshire, says:
“I have two dogs – Crystal, a black Labrador, and Bhalu, an Irish Wolfhound cross. I started Dog Walks in Cheshire with the idea of sharing the walks I know with others in the hope they would share theirs too and we could all learn new local places to try. I thought we may get about 30 members swapping routes in mid-Cheshire. By that Christmas, however, we had 1,000 members and then one year later, nearly 3,000.
My favourite walks are based around Delamere Forest, the Whitegate Way and the River Weaver. The picture of Crystal swimming is on Knights Grange, Winsford, known as The Ocean.”
Kristen Dyson, from Winnington, who has worked in the veterinary industry for 22 years, says: “I love being outside – come wind, rain or shine – and as you might have worked out by the picture, I love chunky, slobbery dogs; a St Bernard, a bulldog and two Dogue de Bordeaux.
Our favourite walks have no stiles, involve mud and water, and usually end up in a dog-friendly pub.”
The bathing belle
Tanna is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. Her owner, Rachel Spencer, from Frodsham, says:
“Our favourite walk is in Delamere Forest, but anywhere with a good swimming or mud-rolling spot will do perfectly. When there’s a mud-rolling but no swimming spot, a bath is always needed.”
Bailey and his owner, Nicola Barton, live in Winsford. Bailey, a golden Labrador, is nearly seven years old. “He loves to go on long adventures, especially if it includes water. This picture was taken at one of our away-day walks in the Peak District.
We walk different parts of Cheshire daily but our favourite is in and around Delamere Forest. You can take a different path each time and Bailey agrees it has enough water to keep him happy.”
Winsfordians Alice Oakes and Max Woodward have two dogs – Robyn the Border Collie and sighthound Ziggy. Alice says: “We had Robyn from a pup; she was very poorly and we were scared for a period she wasn’t going to make it to her first birthday. Thankfully, she got through it and recovered with only stunted growth, so we have a tiny Border Collie, but it doesn’t hold her back. I had Ziggy from Cheshire Sighthound Rescue, at around eight years old, and was his second rescuer. He’s the most gentle and sweetest dog you could meet.
Our favourite walk is getting onto Whitegate Way near Knights Grange in Winsford, walking down to the salt mine, along the River Weaver to Vale Royal Locks, up to Vale Royal Abbey and into Pettypool Woods, where we head towards Dalefords Lane to join back onto the Whitegate Way near Blakemere, then back to where we started. Sometimes we cut this short and after Vale Royal Abbey head to Grange Lane where we walk back into Winsford and end up back at Knights Grange.
George Walley’s Springer Spaniel, Stevie, is named after a certain Liverpool FC captain. George, who lives near Nantwich, says: “Our favourite walks are any places with water.
Whether it is a river, a canal, the sea or simply a flooded field, Stevie will be in there without hesitation. We also love walking around Bickerton as the views across to Liverpool and the Welsh hills are fantastic.”
The muddy one
Owner Faye Holley, from Bulkeley, says:
“Joe is three and a Dogue de Bordeaux, aka mud magnet. He enjoys any walk, especially if it involves mud and water. We often walk around the Bulkeley and Peckforton Hills, as there are so many different routes to take. Joe’s favourite things are mud, playing out with his friends, swimming and snuggling up with his little brother, a pug called Finn. He also recently started to participate in dog shows, and although the standing still and keeping clean parts aren’t quite so fun, he loves all the attention.”
The snow dog
Francesca Tysver, from Northwich, says: “I’ve always had dogs; I couldn’t imagine life without one. Thanks to Nora, my four-year-old black Labrador, I rekindled my love for photography and the outdoors; together we’ve explored so many places and there are many more on the list. A walk I always find myself coming back to is the Anderton to Marbury loop: around five miles of path, through open uplands, into woodlands with streams where a Labrador will paddle. Nora knows this walk extremely well; too well in fact.
I can normally find her in her favourite swimming spots or muddy bog waiting for me to catch up, with the possibility of a smelly tennis ball appearing from my pocket. We are so lucky to live in Cheshire and have so many amazing places to visit — and even luckier to have the Dog Walks in Cheshire group for new recommendations.”
The best friends
All the dogs in this line-up pictured at Old Pale, Delamere Forest (except Roger Westwood’s black Labrador, Crystal, on the left), belong to Zoe Clark from Winsford. Zoe has 10 dogs in total.
“Most of my dogs are rescued,” she says. “Two of them were kept in a shed for months, one was rescued from an illegal puppy farm in Ireland, one was no good for hunting so the owner gave him up. They all have different stories.” Zoe and her tribe like to walk in the fields and woods around Winsford.
The snow dog
Jenny Thornhill is part of a family of five, living at Northwich. Her two-year-old working line Labrador, Nala, has her own Instagram page, @paws_in__nature, with 15,000 followers. “Jenny says: “We all love nothing more than a walk in the countryside with her.
Our favourite walking spots are Bickerton Hill, Buckley Hill and Bosley Cloud. We love a walk with a view.”
For more pictures of Cheshire dogs
You can follow Roger’s instagram account @rog_w for more pictures of dogs, Cheshire landscapes and his life in the county.