Thank you to John, who wrote and took photographs for this very interesting and descriptive account of how fun dog walking in Doncaster can be, especially when you get your family involved. -Mia
So, it’s 8.30 Saturday morning and Bella is the happiest Labrador in the world, as I have just come down stairs wearing my walking the dog trousers. Unfortunately, I am going to Sandall Park to watch the Park run! Bella is now the unhappiest dog in the world.
Fortunately, at 1 o’clock, two grandchildren arrive and she is happy again! Two grandchildren + 1 owner in dog walking trousers = woodland walk! Labrador maths. We arrive at the ample carpark and manage to get one of the last two spaces. Parking isn’t much of a problem, since there is almost a mile of it available on the grass verge alongside the racecourse. It just means you haven’t got as far to go.
Wellies are on and into the wood we go. We take the narrow and twisty single track, which looks out onto the racecourse and farmer’s fields.
It is more interesting than the broad flat paths that are also available and gives access to a ditch which is ideal for both grandchildren and Bella. Apparently, it would also provide an excellent refuge when the zombie apocalypse happens, according to youngest grandson who is an expert on such matters. Much of our trek round the wood will focus on important matters such as this.
Before long we have found our first fungi and pictures are taken. Token pictures of grandchildren are also taken at random points. We head towards the water pumping station but detour away from the path to avoid it as there is a quite deep looking pool, which a certain Labrador would find far too interesting. After more fungi photographing and zombie repelling we find the main path for a short while. We then take a narrower manmade path which twists through the trees and fetches us out at the play area.
I sit with Bella and rest while the grandchildren play parkour tig on the slide tower and assorted play areas. We are soon joined by a friendly pug puppy and then it is time for a snack, drink and then we head back to the car. We take the wide flat paths back to the carpark since we are too tired to worry about interesting twisty singletrack. On the way we meet a rather unfriendly, overzealous, ‘glad it’s on a lead’ Siberian husky. At the car, it is a two towel rub down for Bella while the grandchildren finish off any remaining zombies which might have had the misfortune to follow us.
Back at home, it is a final towel down for Bella and sausage, bacon, eggs and beans for us. Another great afternoon in the woods.
Photos and text by John Potter.
Edited by Mia Brook.