Filled with hundreds of waterways and trails, both Lower Mill Estate and Silverlake are dedicated nature reserves and fantastic places for four legged friends to run around and explore. Pull on some wellies and get out to wander the trails as leaves crunch underfoot and dogs roam every inch of their exciting new surroundings. At Silverlake choose to explore the newly opened Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) Knighton Reserve, which offers trails through woodland where pets can roam, collect sticks and find many muddy puddles.
To relax during a staycation at Silverlake, guests can enjoy treatments and a swim in the outdoor heated pool at the Hurricane Spa, before enjoying a drink overlooking the stunning Dorset countryside at the Hurricane Terrace whilst your pooch indulges in a dog biscuit. At Lower Mill Estate, the on-site restaurant Ballihoo offers a sumptuous field to fork seasonal menu to enjoy for those not looking to cook for themselves. The team at Ballihoo has also created a special fine dining menu for dogs to enjoy, too!
Furthermore, the Activity Hub has plenty of activity equipment to hire, from kayaks and canoes for exploring the many waterways, to bikes with trailers, perfect for those dogs who’d rather take their ease and be carried around the estate. At Lower Mill Estate choose to take part in one of the activities available at the estate, such as kayaking, canoeing or cycling. Don’t forget to grab a doggy life jacket at the Activity Hub before you set off.
KNIGHTON RESERVE, SILVERLAKE
The newly-opened Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) is the first ever area of Silverlake to be accessible to the local community, so it’s a fantastic place for families to visit to explore more of Dorset and discover more about the natural world.
At Silverlake, walkers will be enthralled by the chance to spot a variety of captivating wildlife. The group has its own on-site ecology team, ensuring the flourishing presence of an impressive range of wildlife, including up to 150 different bird species. Among them, walkers can delight in the vibrant blue tits, cheerful chaffinches, and charming goldcrests as they venture through Knighton Reserve’s captivating wilderness. So, pull on some walking shoes, take a deep breath of fresh air, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery through this enchanting wildlife haven.
Where to walk:
Route 1- Pooch’s Place
Named after the famous Pilot Officer Pooch, Pooch’s Place is a brand-new trail in Knighton Reserve, offering a 1km circular path for cyclists, horse riders, and dogs to enjoy. The area is fully fenced, ensuring that dogs can play and socialise off-lead safely, making for a stress-free outing. Dogs can unleash their energy safely as they frolic around Pooch's Pond or make a splash in the dog swimming zone to cool off on a hot day. Visitors can take in the scenery and spot diverse wildlife that call the reserve home, from Peregrine falcons soaring overhead to waterfowl swimming in the Knighton Reserve Lakes. Don't forget to head south to Barlow's Bluff observation point for mesmerising panoramic views of the Reserve.
Route 2- The Knighton Reserve
Visitors looking for a picturesque walk to enjoy alongside furry friends should opt for the Knighton Reserve walking route. This 2.6km circular route takes visitors through Knighton Reserve, offering plenty of scenic stops along the way. They can marvel at the views from Larus Lookout and Peregrine Point, explore the enchanting Knighton Heath Woods, and keep an eye out for waterfowl and Sand Martins on the picturesque lakes. It's important for visitors to note that dogs must be kept on a lead throughout the walk. The route concludes by rejoining the bridleway and returning to the car park.
Route 3- Pooch’s Place and Knighton Reserve
The combined Pooch’s Place and Knighton Reserve route is a thrilling 2.9km trail, perfect for exploring the great outdoors. Starting from the car park, visitors can head south to the Barlow's Bluff observation point before continuing west to join the bridleway. As visitors make their way into Knighton Reserve, dogs will need to be kept on a lead, but during this stretch, make sure to stop at the two observation points that offer unbeatable bird watching opportunities. Expect to catch a glimpse of Woodlark, Linnet, and Dartford Warbler, adding to the excitement of seeing the beautiful Dorset landscapes.
Route 4- The Long Distance Route
Those in search of a longer walk should opt for the 4km long distance trail, a must-do for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The trail takes visitors through Pooch’s Place and Knighton Reserve, with stunning views of the nearby lakes and abundant waterfowl. At the Larus Lookout observation point, visitors can take in a breath-taking vista and witness an array of bird species in their natural habitat. Continuing along the trail to the Lapwing Look observation point, visitors can experience even more birdwatching opportunities. The trail then connects to the Bridleway and leads through to the enchanting Knighton Heath Woods, where visitors can spot the elusive Treecreeper and Nuthatch as well as some spectacular Woodlark and Skylark. As the trail winds around, visitors can immerse themselves in the picturesque surroundings before heading back to the car park.
Avalon is a new, cosy cottage situated in the middle of Wakeling Island. This two-bedroom house has south-facing windows, light interiors with stunning lake views, an open-concept kitchen/dining area, a living room with a lovely wood-burning stove for chilly nights, as well as a sizable private terrace ideal for pets to run around on. The Silverlake Activity Hub and a number of forested walking trails are close by the Avalon property. Here dogs can play fetch, collect sticks, and splash in puddles while enjoying a stroll through the woodland environment.
HOW: Habitat Escapes offers Avalon from £539 for a three night stay. This property sleeps four people and one dog.
Lake House, Silverlake
Lake House is a stunning, canine-friendly, modern structure overlooking the picturesque lake. The property’s glass façade gives guests the feeling of living outdoors all year round. The light-filled, open plan living area offers plenty of room for a family and their four-legged family member. Guests can enjoy an evening relaxing on the terrace, watching the sunset over the lake, or in the colder months, light the log fire and enjoy a cosy evening inside. Afterwards, guests may head to The Hurricane Terrace Bar where they can enjoy variety of beverages and wines, their canine friend will also receive complimentary treats.
HOW: Habitat Escapes offers Lake House from £579 for a three night stay. This property can accommodation six guests and one day.
South View, Silverlake
South View is a cosy mid-terrace cottage nestled in the heart of Beaumont Village with a view across Beaumont Lake. This two-bedroom cottage has been stylishly furnished and includes an open concept living area with folding doors leading to a fenced garden, making it ideal for dogs. There are plenty of opportunities for adventure as the house is situated nearby to woodland trails, country walks and cosy dog friendly village pubs which make it the perfect country getaway for families with four-legged friends! Additionally, guests have access to the Silverlake Activity Hub which includes hire of mountain bikes, kayaks, and canoes.
HOW: Habitat Escapes offers South View from £539 for a three night stay. This property sleeps four people and two dogs.
LOWER MILL ESTATE, THE COTSWOLDS
Goldeneye, Lower Mill Estate
Goldeneye is a bright and modern ground-floor three-bedroom apartment that accommodates up to six guests and a dog. Incredibly spacious thanks to the open living and eating area, Goldeneye is a great home for a family getaway, including a private garden area where pets are allowed to roam freely. The bright and airy property is ideally situated on the estate only a five-minute walk from the on-site spa and restaurant.
HOW: Habitat Escapes offers Goldeneye from £499 for a three night stay. This property sleeps up to six people and one dog.
Ewen House, Lower Mill Estate
Set within a traffic free location in Mill Village, Ewen House is an idyllic traditional Cotswolds style property which welcomes guests and their four legged friends. The open-plan ground floor living area opens out onto an enclosed terrace with views across the water garden, ideal for pets to explore their surroundings safely. There is a wood burning stove for guests to gather round and warm up in the living room in the evenings, and even the dog can relax in front of the fire. Sleeping up to eight people, there is plenty of space in Ewen House to enjoy a countryside retreat.
HOW: Habitat Escapes offers Ewen House from £759 for a three night stay. The property sleeps up to eight people and two dogs.
Le Mirage, Lower Mill Estate
Nestled in the tranquil Water Garden of Lower Mill Estate, Le Mirage is a holiday oasis tucked away from the rest of the estate. This RIBA award winning property with ground source heating forms one of the 10 eco-friendly homes surrounding a beautiful water garden that is filled with wildlife. Perfect for a big family and their furry friend, this property sleeps up to 11 and the open planned downstairs living space is the ideal area to gather together after a day out exploring.
HOW: Habitat Escapes offers Le Mirage from £979 for a two night stay. This property sleeps up to 11 people and one dog.
For more information, please visit: www.habitatescapes.com