Boston Spa and the River Wharfe

This is my favourite daily walk- you can see me jumping for joy even though I get to do it pretty much every day at the moment!

As you travel through the village of Boston Spa towards Newton Kyme, you’ll find the entry to the spa baths walk on your left just as the shops start to disappear. If you look closely, you can see the original spa baths sign engraved into the wall here.

Following this path through the middle of some lovely houses, you’ll reach a hill descending towards the site of the original baths.

Still jumping for joy as Daddy gets ready to release my ball- my favourite thing ever!!

As you travel down the hill (chasing the ball in Merlin’s case!), you can either continue straight ahead towards Newton Kyme or make a sharp left towards our river walk. The river is down a sloped bank and as you walk along, you’ll spot the bridge below in the distance, with its beautiful arches.

This is my favourite kind of peril- dropping my ball down a slope and chasing it- then crying for Daddy to rescue me!!

As you pass under the bridge (which has great echoes by the way!), you’ll arrive at Merlin’s daily ball chasing patch. He enjoys running the length of it and skidding through the mud to grab his ball!

Muddy tongue out, Tuesday post-ball chasing

From here, the path to the right leads to a great swimming spot. It’s always a joy to watch Merlin dive in for his ball- he’s such a strong swimmer. It’s far enough away from the weir to avoid the drift, while the reflection in the still river is glorious with a bright blue sky above.

Continuing with the river on your right, you’ll reach a narrow path, from which you can spot Stick Man in the river on a low water day. The steps leading upwards are breath-taking for another reason: you’ll need to prepare yourself for the climb (and watch out for flying chocolate Labradors rushing back down again in pursuit of the ball)!

At the top of the climb, turn left to complete this circular walk and you’ll see a relatively new housing estate on the right. The fields and grounds around the estate are a great place for a picnic, sledging session, coffee stop and of course another ball throwing session!

There is a lovely bug hotel here too to check out, built by local joiner Tom Brothwell. You can see the beautiful church from here as well.

merlin the chocolate wizard
Hello!! Anyone home?

As you go back into the woods, head right down some much more gradual steps and back to the ball throwing open space. You can turn to the right just before or just after this to enter the gorgeous village of Boston Spa. Here you’ll find some lovely coffee and gift shops, as well as a few bars and restaurants for a lunch or tea stop (when we’re out of lockdown!).

Try Harts for the best ice cream sundaes, tiffin and hot chocolates on the block (their hatch is open throughout lockdown!).

It’s a great end to a lovely walk and even Merlin gets the last bits – yum!

harts coffee shop boston spa
puppy eating ice cream
The pure bliss of an ice cream treat!

Read more about Merlin on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/merlinthechocolatewizard/

Merlin the Chocolate Wizard’s Sandsend Walk

This gorgeous beach always seems to have a micro climate of it’s own – and this walk was no different. Merlin the Chocolate Wizard, a 1 year old chocolate labrador, shares his adventures in Yorkshire with you – this month it’s Sandsend Beach near Whitby.

One of our favourite ever places to visit – and Merlin, our chocolate wizard, thinks this is the best end of Whitby for him. On the A174 past Whitby and parking at the Sandsend Car Park, you can walk from the car park straight onto the beach in a minute.

There are also a few cafes on the beach front, which are great and sell beach essentials. The pub is lovely for a beer garden stop off too at any time of the year.

As you meander along the beach, the distant cliffs make for a stunning backdrop, and on this crisp, clear day in January, the blue sky was reflecting on the flat sands.

Merlin, however, just saw the vast space as a playground for a game of throw and retrieve. It is sooooo amazing here – the flat sands are great for exercise and if he could, he’d run all day!

chocolate labrador beach

Another benefit of January at the beach means it isn’t crowded, yet you do get to meet other dogs who are in the know and clued in to this lesser-known gem of a destination.

beach friends dogs
Merlin met a new very furry friend – they ran and ran; its a real dog’s paradise on this walk with so much space for playful wrestling!

Further along the beach, away from the car park, any danger from traffic on the road is avoided with a steep slope There are steps all along the face that are fun to run up and down and walk along.

The pebbles on the beach make a great stone stack and are great to play the stone rainbow game – collect one of each colour!
The swimming here is awesome – the waves are frothy and you can go wave diving to fetch your ball!

As you come to the edge of the beach, the mini cliff is a good scramble for the kids and the dog, (can you spot Merlin in the rocks?!).

sandsend rocks

Up and over the rocks, after a short stroll you enter Whitby near the theatre and the whale bones – Magpie Cafe is the place to go for fish and chips!

Catching some air on my ball leaps – it’s my favourite thing to do
A doggie mince pie to celebrate the end of the walk – wrapped up in my ruff and tumble dog towel

For more of Merlin’s adventures follow him on Instagram along with over 13,000 other fans, and look out for next month’s dog walk…

https://www.instagram.com/merlinthechocolatewizard/