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UK's best places to walk your dog and charge your EV at the same time

 Published 18th September 2023
Electric Vehicles 

The population has risen massively over the past decade and that growth shows no signs of abating. Back in 2011 it was a mere 7.6 million but natural growth, and the impact of the pandemic when we were all stuck at home saw that number shoot up to 13 million in 2022.

We are of course talking about the UK's love of dogs. Around 34% of all UK households now contain at least one dog, and that equates to an awful lot of walkies.

In celebration of National Dog Day, Zapmap – the UK's leading charge point mapping service – recently revealed your top picks of EV charging locations for dog walkers across the country.

Fresh air, great views, cleaner and greener cars, and a little bit of exercise. It's amazing how much the shift to electric cars is changing the way we think about things, even down to the way we look after our pets. Whether you're heading out for the afternoon or looking for somewhere to stop on a long journey, our love of dogs combined with the continuing growth in EV registrations is opening up a whole world of exploration that may have passed us by before.

From Land's End to John O'Groats, the UK is packed with gorgeous views and open spaces for everyone to enjoy the fresh air and stretch their legs – all four of them in some cases. Those of us who own an EV and a dog can now kill two birds with one stone (admittedly, maybe not the best choice of phrase for a nation of animal lovers, but you know what we mean) and walk the dog while the car is charging.

Zapmap helps EV drivers search for available charge points, plan longer journeys, pay for charging, and share updates with other drivers. With around 650,000 registered users and over 95% of the UK's public points on its network, Zapmap's choice of 10 great dog walks with a difference represent the pick of the pack, and they were all chosen by dog-owning EV drivers and users of the app.

Charge by the sea at Cullivoe Pier, Shetland

The Isle of Yell may be separated from the mainland, but it definitely isn't separated from the rest of the 21st century. Thought to be the first of its kind, this is a tidal-powered charging point operated by ChargePlace Scotland.

It's a great place to start a number of walks, including to the nearby Loch of Brough, Loch of Garth, or further afield to Sellafirth or Breckon Sands. Whichever route you choose, you and the dog can enjoy exploring the shores of the Shetland Isles while your car is charging from one of the 22kW devices installed on the pier.

A bay with a view at Portballintrae, Northern Ireland

This peaceful spot on the Northern Ireland coast is a popular destination conveniently located for visiting the Giant's Causeway. It's about an hour's walk along the coast to the famous landmark so it offers a good chance to stretch the legs, with The Gallows and Dunluce Castle also offering spectacular coastal views in the other direction.

If you're staying the night at the local Bayview Hotel there are a number of charge points available for residents. If you're just passing through, the Park & Ride in nearby Bushmills offers the chance to charge up as well as access to the Causeway.

Beach walks at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire

There are a lot of options in the area from beaches to forest walks so there are plenty of opportunities for enjoying a good sniff – the dog, not you – with plenty of charging points too.

At Ardrossan South Beach there is a 22kW ChargePlace Scotland device conveniently situated in the beachfront car park. You can walk along the promenade or beach between the towns of Saltcoats and Ardrossan and come back refreshed to a fully charged car.

Spot the squirrel at The Dingle Boardwalk, Anglesey

Officially called Nant Y Pandy Nature Reserve, The Dingle is easily accessible from Llangefni in the heart of Anglesey. As well as walking the dog, it's also a great place to see all sorts of wildlife, especially red squirrels, which are best spotted from the boardwalk or at the nearby Cefni Reservoir.

According to those in the know, the SWARCO charge point at the car park in town is a great place to top up the battery while walking the dog. There are also plenty of shops and places to grab a coffee or lunch once you're done chasing squirrels.

Run free at Coombe Abbey, Coventry

Coombe Abbey Park boasts a huge amount of space (around 500 acres) for both on-lead and off-lead dog walks, complete with a gift shop that even sells a selection of doggie goodies including leads, bags, toys, and balls. The park was designed by renowned landscape gardener Capability Brown and features stunning formal gardens and a beautiful 80-acre lake.

With eight VendElectric 7kW chargers in the car park, it's the perfect place to take your dog for a run, top up the car battery, and recharge your own battery at the same time.

Recharge and rewild at the Knepp Estate, West Sussex

The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate is one of the biggest rewilding projects in Europe. A classic example of destination charging with wildflower meadows, ancient woodland, and a swimming pond to explore. Although you'll find deer, horses, cattle and more roaming across sections of the estate, the Knepp team welcomes well-trained dogs and responsible owners.

The estate currently has two EV charge points at the campsite and is working on providing charge points at the walker's car park. There's one charger in the car park which anyone can use. If you're staying overnight at the campsite you'll also get access to a second charger.

Culture on the coast at Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Set on the side of a cliff, the Mince Theatre has spectacular views across the water, where you can watch the dolphins while you walk the dog. Cut into the rockface jutting out into the sea, this unique theatre in Porthcurno is situated on the South West Coast path, conveniently located between Penberth Cove and the dog-friendly Logan Rock Inn, and Porthgwarra Beach and café.

Be sure to tie in your walk with a viewing at the theatre (the charge point is provided for customers so it's the perfect excuse to take in the culture), and just soak up the scenery and amazing sea views.

Of course, your destination isn't the only place your dog might need a walk and we all appreciate a break from long stints on the motorway. According to Zapmap users, there are also some hidden gems to stretch any legs that are tired of driving.

At M5 Exeter services you'll find ranks of both Gridserve and Tesla chargers as well as the usual motorway services refreshments. Dogs have their own mini forest to explore and you can relax in the picnic area behind the charging points.

If you're on the M1 you can stop at the InstaVolt chargers near Swallownest, Sheffield. There's a Starbucks where you can grab a coffee, and it's right next to Rother Valley Country Park that offers brilliant walks and loads to explore for driver and canine co-driver alike.

Further north and across the country, Todhills services on the M6 offers three Gridserve chargers and a “secret walk” from the charge points which goes straight into the woods.

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