Can you believe it’s autumn?! The summer now seems like a distant memory as the nights draw in. Now, those of you who a regular readers of our blog will note that we promised to hit the Vale walking spots as part of our September blog post… and I guess that means we’re a little bit late!
September and October were crazy months for us, which has been incredible — especially considering we’ve only been in business a few short months, we were never expecting late summer/early autumn to be so full on, and we’re so thankful!
It did however mean that we struggled to cram in venturing out for longer walks and adventures, but as things started calming down for the winter, we made sure we got out with some of our regulars to explore, and to make it up to you guys we’ve added some cosy autumnal extras for you! Homemade dog treats anyone?!
Autumn/winter can be a pretty gruelling time for us dog whisperers — its dark, cold, usually pretty wet and windy but it’s not all bad. On a crisp winter day, we love nothing better than wrapping up warm and getting out on an adventure with the doggos. Afterwards you’ve got the perfect excuse to go home, light some candles get out those slipper socks and snuggle up on the sofa. Bliss!
We’ve talked to lots of dog owners about this feeling, and they always sum it up in the same way. Which got us thinking at Oh Doggo HQ… isn’t this feeling a bit like ‘Hygge’? And if it is, surely we can describe how you and your furry friend can get the most from the winter months with a little inspiration from ‘Hygge’ maybe like… a dogs guide to Hygge?! YES!
‘Hygge’ is described as an atmosphere and an experience, being with the people (or dogs) you love.
We thought the best way to experience this lushness might be making the most of a crisp and wintery weekend, wrapping up warm and going on an adventure with your pooch to one of our favourite vale walking trails. After, you can come home, get snuggly and make some festive treats for you and your furry friends. YAY!
- Scarf, hat, mittens for wrapping up outside
- A keep cup full of tea for winter strolls
- Woolly jumpers to stay cosy
- Slipper socks
- Lots of blankets (esp. if your Dog is anything like Davey Mac!)
- Hot drinks a plenty!
- A comfy sofa
- A good book, board game or your favourite Netflix show
Ticked off everything on the Hygge checklist? Good! You’re ready to pick one of our tried and tested winter walkies!
Cwm George Woods and Salmon Leaps
You may know from our recent posts on social media, that we’d heard about this walk a while ago and thought we’d give it a go in October — although we had a lovely walk, and it was a nice change of scenery, we got a bit (very) lost — our social media tribe are wonderful humans and gave us lots of tips and information, particularly about the mysterious ‘Salmon Leaps’ a cascading river just outside of the woodlands. We had no idea this place existed and having been for a wander around Cwm George Woods, no idea how to find it, but with a walking map, the weather on our side and Dave and Minnie ready for an adventure, we thought we’d give it another try!
The great thing about this walk is you can make it as long or as short as you like. We used visitthevale.com and their walking leaflets as a guide and walked the shorter route of around 2 and a half miles. A word to the wise — give yourself plenty of time. The walking route really helped us navigate our way through the woodlands but it was still pretty vague, so you’ll need extra time to navigate some of the trickier parts (we got VERY confused right at the beginning of our walk because we had to walk through some of Dinas Powys Golf Course and a lot of the walk way signage had been knocked down).
Although you might get a bit lost on this walk, it’s all part of the adventure and the rewards you reap from sticking at it are vast. The woodlands are beautiful (Minnie loved chasing after squirrels and leaping over streams, Dave was thankful for the shelter of the trees!) Once out of the woodlands, the views across Michaelston-le-Pit are incredible. You can see for miles, it’s so peaceful to walk through uninterrupted fields, and when you do find the cascading river it’s such a sense of accomplishment! So, the next time you have a free Saturday and a sense of adventure, take your pup on this walk — you won’t regret it!
There are some days when you need a change of scenery, but more of a leisurely stroll than a rural trail to navigate. On these days, Cosmeston is perfect! There aren’t many people who live in Cardiff or the Vale I know that haven’t visited Cosmeston before. It’s great for dog walks and so beautiful in the autumn and winter. We took Minnie for a potter around the lake and woodlands recently and she loved it. It was freezing cold, so an hour wrapped up and clutching on to our keep cups to keep warm was enough for us. It gave us enough time to walk round the lake and into the woods where Minnie had a chance to sprint some laps, sniff out squirrels and do her favourite thing ever…roll in fox poo. Aside from the latter, it’s the perfect place to spend a chilly afternoon!
We love Ogmore. Whatever the season, it’s a beautiful area for a coastal walk. In the summer, Ogmore beach is packed full of visitors, but in the autumn and winter its much quieter. We recommend a walk along the grassy verges on top of the cliffs — it’s a perfect dog walk for a moody day! As well as the breath-taking scenery, the Ogmore area has plenty of dog friendly pitstops if you need to refuel. We recommend the Pelican pub or Cobbles kitchen.
Ogmore isn’t the only dog friendly beach walk along the heritage vale coastline at this time of year. Southerndown, a short drive up the road is another beautiful costal walk — there’s also plenty of woodland for puppers to run through. Drive further along the heritage coast and you can also visit Nash Point, one of my favourites because of its lighthouse. The last stop before Barry is Llantwit Major beach — usually very quiet in the autumn months and perfect if your dog loves a sea swim.
Of course, there are plenty of amazing local beaches too that are great for a dog walk at this time of year if you don’t want to venture too far. Whitmore Bay is open to dogs once again until May 30th, the Old Harbour and Jacksons Bay are beautiful walks on a crisp day, and The Knap pebble beach is lovely for a moody weather stroll — especially when the tide is out.
We’ve had a lot of dog owners contact us about our walks along Rhoose Point… mainly because its so quiet and dogs can roam free on a field full of plenty of enriching sniffs! Rhoose walking spots tend to be very quiet, and as this one is the biggest, its perfect for a longer walk with a reactive dog, or for training — we often take pups here to practice their recall. You have the option of staying on the field, walking down to the beach, or taking a walk along the foot path overlooking the sea and the old quay so there’s plenty of variety here! it’s also situated next to Rhoose train station, so if you pups like train rides or access to walking spots further afield is sometimes a bit of an issue, you can get to this spot really easily…its just a 7 minute journey from Barry train station!
So… you’ve picked an adventure, braved the elements with your pupper pal, and you’ve finally made it home, muddy boots and red noses all round. You deserve some downtime now, right? RIGHT! This is the time of day when I replace outdoor trousers for a comfy pair of PJs (whatever the time is) but a pair of slipper socks and a chunky jumper will do just fine. Get that kettle on! There’s just one thing missing… an evening in done well always has treats, so once you’ve got yourself all cosy and your pup has found their favourite blanket to bury themselves under, why not make some weekend treats your furry friend?!
Bernie’s Favourite Peanut Butter and Banana Biscuits
· 1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
· ½ cup oats
· 1 egg
· ⅓ cup peanut butter ( Xylitol free)
· 1 medium sized banana, mashed
· 1 tablespoon honey
1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. (You can also use a greased baking sheet as well.)
2. Mix all ingredients except egg white in a medium bowl until well combined.
3. Roll out dough onto floured surface to ¼ inch thick.
4. Cut into desired shape using small cookie cutter.
5. Bake until golden brown and firm, approximately 35 minutes, depending upon shape and thickness.
6. Cool before serving. Tuck in!
7. Any treats left over you can store in an airtight container
*A note to our wheat free furry friends* you might not be able to eat these treats, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun! Why not ask your pawrents to dehydrate some fruit or veg in the oven — just thinly chop your doggy friendly fruit or veg and put in the oven on a low heat for 3–4 hours. You could even do this before you go on your walkies, so their ready when you’re back!
And there you have it! A doggie guide to the perfect Hygge autumn/winter day. All that’s left to do now is cwtch up with your pupper and enjoy!