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We Love Pub Walks

Because what's better than a cold drink and good food, nestled in a warm pub with dogs, after a long hike through the countryside?



Before we moved to the UK, I'm embarrassed to admit, I had never heard the term "pub walk." The idea of going on a scenic hike and ending with a cold pint and hearty food surely isn't a novel concept--people have been doing it as long as pubs have been around--but the culture around "pub walks" (dedicated books, apps, trails, etc.) was definitely new to us.


HISTORY


I was curious about when pub walks became a staple of British culture, so I did a bit of (very) light research. The Google Books Ngram Viewer is a neat way to track the usage of a term over time: it combs the books that have been scanned into Google's archive in search of your term, word, or phrase of choice. There are, of course, some obvious flaws of this procedure (Google Books is not comprehensive, search terms can yield hits for things like "pub, walk," instead of "pub walk" etc.), but it's still an interesting way to gauge when a term or phrase might have become popular and widely used.


Google Books Ngram Viewer tracks the use of the term "pub walks" in its body of literature over time.


A closer look at the results reveals a definite rise in popularity in books about "pub walks" beginning in the 1990s and bleeding into the 2000s. From Nigel Vile's 1992 Pub Walks in the Cotswolds to Ted Bruning's 2001 London by Pub: Pub Walks Around Historic London, it would appear that a definite interest in pub walks as a touristic concept took shape around the new millennium.


A cursory search of hits for the term "pub walk" in newspaper articles reveals a similar pattern of increased popularity around the 1990s and early 2000s, though "pub walk" culture certainly had roots in the preceding decades. In 1983, for example, a special feature in the Marylebone and Paddington Mercury reported that the most popular thematic walks among the many offered by one London-based tour company were "Pub Walks with the Londoner."


Search results for the term "pub walk" in British newspapers from the 1800s to 2020.


PUB WALKS WITH DOGS


We arrived in England in 2020--right in the middle of a pandemic lockdown. We were desperate to explore, but there was not much we were able to do. Pub walks quickly became a way for us to enjoy socially-distanced sightseeing (mostly) outdoors. The best part (for us, anyway) was that so many pubs in England are dog-friendly. And thanks to the popularity of pub walks in general, there are plenty of resources out there to find excellent dog-friendly hikes and pubs that work for both you and your pup.


We've had a great experience using the Pub Walks app. We think it's really user friendly--you can tell right away which walks centre on dog-friendly pubs, how long they are, and how far away they are from your current location. We've found the directions accurate and easy to follow, and it's great to have everything in your phone so you don't have to haul around a book with you!


DOG-FRIENDLY PUB WALKS: OUR TOP THREE


No. 3: Aysgarth Falls

Wander around cascading waterfalls surrounded by meadows and woodland, get close (REALLY close) with cows as you carefully traverse their pastures, and end your day with a great meal at the pub at the Aysgarth Falls Hotel.


Winnie enjoying a small section of the falls--it goes on forever!


Be sure to keep your dogs on lead through the pastures, because you'll get very close to the cows and sheep (and they won't move).


Hoping, praying, wishing for some chips.



Parking: Aysgarth Falls Car Park, Church Bank, Leyburn DL8 3SR

Route: "The Waterfalls Adventure" is a stunning 4.5 miles through fields, woodland, waterfalls, and pastures

Food & Drink: Aysgarth Falls Hotel Pub, Aysgarth, Leyburn DL8 3SR

  • Dog policy: Allowed on lead in the bar area.


No. 2: Malham Cove, Janet's Foss, and Gordale Scar

One minute you're in a fairytale-like forest listening to the sounds of a waterfall, the next you're about to be swallowed up by the massive limestone ravine that is Gordale Scar. Keep going and you'll find yourself walking over another giant limestone cliff known as Malham Cove. At the end, wander into the Buck Inn, one of the most dog-friendly pubs we've been to, and enjoy some delicious food and cold beer.


Win takes it all in at Janet's Foss.


The best view of Gordale Scar is from a backpack.


Winnie living his best life on the way up to Malham Cove.


Parking: National Park Centre, Malham, Skipton BD23 4DA

Route: The "Malham Landscape Trail" takes you through woodland to the stunning scenery of Janet's Foss, up to the breathtaking cliffs of Gordale Scar, and over the other-worldly Malham Cove.

Food & Drink: The Buck Inn, Cove Road, Malham, Skipton BD23 4DA

  • Dog policy: Very welcome, but must be on lead.


No. 1: Ilkley Moor

In the winter, it feels like you're on a different planet. In the summer, you're surrounded by purple heather for miles and miles and miles. No matter the time of year, if you can get a spot in the car park on a Sunday, you're guaranteed one of the best Sunday roasts you'll ever have, at the spectacular Cow and Calf. In nice weather, sit on their expansive patio and soak in the views with a cold brew and delicious food.


The planet Mars, or Ilkley Moor?


Wintertime at Ilkley is magical.


The moors look totally different in the summertime when the heather is in bloom (usually in August).


The Cow and Calf has some of the best roast around.


Parking: Ilkley Moor Car Park, Ilkley LS29 8BT (tip: this car park is small and fills up quickly, so get here early!)

Route: "The Heritage Walk" is a beautiful hourlong journey through the wide-open moors.

Food & Drink: Cow and Calf Country Pub, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley LS29 8BT

  • Dog policy: Allowed on lead in the bar area.


What are your favourite pub walks? Comment below!

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Chloe Gunther
Chloe Gunther
Jul 31, 2023

We cannot wait to try out the Pub Walks app! We've only ever done one true pub walk, out in Grassington, ending at Black Horse Hotel which had really good pub food. Waffles will be excited to hear we are taking her for chips if she behaves (yeah, right).

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We need to try that one!!

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