Walking the dog beats going to the Gym

Dear Reader

Honey the dog never tires of a walk in the park

Did you know that in a recent survey sponsored by leading pet experts Bob Martin, it was discovered that the average dog walker spends more time excercising than the average gym user! If you sum up all the walks in a week you can get between 6 and 8 hours of walking as compared to 1.5 weekly hours of exercise for the average non-dog owning gym user.

As an owner of two energetic dogs this made very pleasant reading although it did make me wonder what they meant by the “average dog walker”. Read on…

I am fortunate enough to live adjacent to Parkinsons Park which is an almost perfect environment for dogs and dog walkers. With its varied landscape of moorland, coppice and scrub it offers a large and safe space for dogs to walk, run, gallop and generally socialise. Sadly, such spaces are few and far between, especially so in Guiseley.

Susie the dog admires the views

During these walks it is usual to meet up with fellow dog walkers. There is an exchange of pleasantries while the dogs engage in vigorous sniffing to re-acquaint. Sometimes more weighty topics are explored. For example: the developments around Guiseley being a popular topic; local politics; national politics; global warming; the world economy and of course whether or not Leeds United will make it to the play-offs. The dogs are unconcerned preferring to gallop around until breathless at which point, seated and panting, they impatiently wait for the walk to recommence.

People carry long histories and memories on Parkinsons Park. Some previously worked at the Factory and some had Fathers and Mothers who worked there. Memories of how the Park used to be “mint” as one local resident told me. There were benches overlooking moorland views towards Ilkley and the Dales. There was sledging in the winter and conkers in the autumn. They remember the events that were arranged courtesy of the factory. There is a collective memory that is warm and nostalgic.

A recurring theme is that the Parkinson brothers had intended the land to be used for the benefit of the people of Guiseley.

And in all this time and through all these conversation I don’t think I have met the “average dog walker” and if such a person exists he is yet to be found walking on Parkinsons Park.

Morning on 23 December 2012

Walking on Parkinsons Park is a pleasure and doing it all year round on a daily basis means you see the full variety of seasonal changes. Even on a winter’s morning when it is dark, wet and bitingly cold there is a wild freshness to be enjoyed. The occasional Owl hoot or the sighting of a Red Kite is a reminder that you are on the edge of the Chevin with further countryside stretching beyond. Even better is a late summer’s evening walking along the tops of Clapper Brow while dusk falls and bats circle. I am more than happy to leave the Gym and stick to walking the dogs.

Parkinsons Park is an asset to Guiseley and with the commitment of our stakeholders and the work of FOPP we intend to keep it that way.

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