So many people have dogs these days and we all know how quickly they become part of the family, so naturally, when you go away on holiday leaving them behind with relatives or in kennels can be quite a wrench. With Group Stays you don’t have to worry about that because most of our large group self-catering accommodation is dog friendly, so you can pack all your pet pooch’s favourite things and bring him along too. And what a tremendous time you’ll all have together; we think it’s safe to say that little tail just won’t stop wagging!
And Somerset! What a fabulous choice! We’ve got some gorgeous big holiday cottages sleeping up to 30 people set amidst the most glorious countryside, and for the humans you’ll find amazing facilities like indoor swimming pools, hot tubs, games rooms, and play equipment for the little ones. Some even have the luxurious addition of a sauna and steam room, and several have cosy Nordic style BBQ lodges where you can all gather together for delicious chargrilled food anytime of year.
Of course, a rural location means there’s no shortage of walks for you and your mutt; usually you’ll find a plethora of footpaths right on the doorstep, and walks of all lengths through open fields, sun dappled woodlands, up gentle hillsides and along lush river valleys. Potter around the narrow lanes and sooner or later you’ll find a rustic country pub where you can stop for a bite to eat or a pint of the local brew; the majority of them round these parts are dog friendly.
We’ve got large group holiday houses close to the wild and rugged Quantock Hills where you can get out and explore the same combes that Romantic poets Coleridge and Wordsworth walked and where they found inspiration for some of their greatest works. A stroll up through the woods at Holford Combe will take you to bracken clad plateaus with views that stretch for miles out over the Bristol Channel, and afterwards you can call into the Plough in the village for sustenance. Climb up to the top of Wills Neck, the highest point in the hills, or walk from Ramscombe Great Wood to Cothlestone Hill.
Maybe Exmoor appeals, which is understandable when you consider what a diverse landscape this is; heather topped moors, steep wooded hillsides, beautiful valleys and dramatic clifftops. We recommend an amble along the river at Watersmeet rounded off with a visit to the tea garden, or a stroll down to Tarr Steps and refreshments at Tarr Farm Inn. For something more strenuous hike to the top of Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor’s highest point with panoramic views out over the Vale of Porlock; suitable rewards can be found down at The Ship Inn.
The Blackdown Hills are an unspoilt range that cross the borders of Somerset and Devon; you’ll find sleepy villages, welcoming inns and tracks and trails galore where your furry friend can have a jolly good romp. The Herepath at Staple Hill is very good, likewise Castle Neroche, and for sheer tranquillity it’s worth going to Otterhead Lakes. Good pit stops for all three are the Holman Clavel, The Greyhound Inn and the Candlelight.
Then there’s the beaches; most dogs love to play by the sea and some parts of the Somerset Coast don’t have restrictions at all. Berrow is very good, with a long stretch of sand for you and your pet to run along, but for something different, try the windswept bays of St Audries and Kilve, and see if you can find fossils whilst you’re there. Some of our large holiday houses aren’t far from the World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast where you can visit Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Axmouth; all have dog friendly beaches year round.
So you see, it’s easy to tie in a walk with a day out, and of course, it’s good exercise for all of you, but it’s always worth checking what family attractions allow dogs too – several do these days, provided they are well behaved and kept on a lead. We just ask that you stick to the dog rules we have, which are common sense – don’t let them on the furniture, pick up after them, that kind of thing, and bear in mind that because a lot of the countryside in Somerset is farmland, there may well be livestock in the fields so your pet should always be kept on a lead and under control. Easy peasy; you’ll all have a fab time.