Well, after all the huffery and puffery, I have decided to roundly ignore the forestry commission and turn to more reliable sources for new dog walks i.e. Mum Friend with a Dog.
Mum Friend with a Dog, or MFD as we’ll call her, lives in East Ayrshire and like me, has to balance the needs of baby, toddler (is 3 still a toddler? Anyone?) and dog. MFD has a proper big, panting, running dog that needs good walks and will chase balls. He is not somewhere between a fat rabbit and a footstool, like my dog. Regardless, the two of them muck along quite well together and he does manage to get the chubby chublet moving.
MFD always has great suggestions for dog walks/kids entertainment. In just the last month she has introduced me to Dean Castle Country Park (think Pollok Park with a bit extra), Eglinton Park and Lochwinnoch.
Ok, so none of these fall within the Glasgow boundary, and yes, Eglinton Park is very much in deepest darkest Ayrshire, but I am reasonably confident that most people using this website will already be familiar (and bored) with their local parks and probably won’t mind a cheeky little hop down the M77.
Of all of these parks, Dean Castle Country Park is the best. It ticks all DWK (Dog Walker with Kids) boxes: open spaces, trail walks, flat paths, animals, play park, cafe and indoor entertainment, should it rain. Unfortunately, despite the recent heat wave, we all know that by mid-July we’ll be back to rain covers, wellies, frequent tears etc. etc. so the indoor box is a good one to tick.
Even if you don’t have kids, Dean Castle Park is still a fantastic park for dog walks. There are many paths that are suited to longer, non-toddler walks and trail runs – if you happen to be someone who runs with their dog. It’s also breathtakingly beautiful and well-maintained, which is never to be sniffed at.
I apologise if it takes me a while to upload all reviews and photos. I know that it’s been a while since I added anything new to the site. So in the meantime, here’s a bit of info on the latest MFD-certified dog walks.
Dean Castle Country Park – Located in Kilmarnock, Dean Castle Country Park is set in over 200 acres and is ideal for every kind of dog walk. It’s easy to get to by car and on foot and it has a large car park (no dodgy, kerbside dashes required). The park has a wide range of activities: a visitor centre; Dean Castle (apparently limited access at the moment due to maintenance work); a café; an urban farm (pigs, rabbits, goats, donkeys); a large pond with ducks and geese; a picnic area with proper picnic benches; 2 play parks and trail walks.
Eglinton Country Park - Located in Kilwinning, Eglinton Park is a large country park with lots on offer. The park comprises: long flat paths (some a little bit rocky), castle ruins, a river and a loch, a tea shop, a play park and a visitor centre. It’s pretty and well-maintained and it’s home to a Saturday morning park run. It’s also a national cycling route.
Lochwinnoch – Lochwinnoch is a wetland that sits within Clydemuirshiel Regional Park and is located west of Paisley. The loch is renowned for bird watching (not entirely ideal if you have a nervous or bumptious dog, but it certainly adds to the charm) and has a variety of walks on offer around the loch. There are various things to see around Lochwinnoch, including Castle Semple.
Overtoun Park – If you’re a fan of Newlands Park, Cowan Park or Maxwell Park, then chances are you’ll like Overtoun Park. Overtoun Park is located in Rutherglen and is very typical of Glasgow’s city parks. It’s small, but it has a great deal of charm, it’s well looked after and it has a decent play park. Overtoun Park isn’t one to plan your day around, but it’s good for a change of scene.