One man and his dogs - 10,000 walkies at RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Peter Cropton and his dogs
Peter Cropton and his dogs

Most dog owners have a regular route for walking their pets but Peter Crompton has taken his dog-walking routine a step further than most.

In fact, Peter’s patch has proved such a great place for a wander, that he’s been taking his best friends to RSPB Bempton Cliffs twice a day for the past 15 years. And according to his calculations, that means he’s clocked up over 10,000 visits to the nature reserve between Bridlington and Filey.

“We never tire of walking along the cliff tops because each trip brings something new,” said Peter.

“The land and sea are ever-changing, so it’s like a different walk every day. “I’ve been up there in all kinds of weather - when the wind’s been strong enough to blow your coat off, and even when there’s been three feet of snow.”

Over the years, Peter has shared his walks, with several canine companions.

“When I first moved here from West Yorkshire, I had two German shepherds, Ben and Tess,” he said. “Then came Kelly, a rescue dog, and now I have, Jack, a golden retriever, and Gav, a golden cocker spaniel. They all love the cliffs as much as I do.”

Walking two to three miles a day at 400 feet above the sea, isn’t just a good way of getting a little gentle exercise for Peter and his canine companions. It’s also a great way of connecting with nature. In summer, he is often on the reserve at 7.30am, when there are no other visitors around.

“Some of my favourite moments have been spent watching the deer on the reserve. Sometimes I meet one or two but I can come across six or seven. There was also a time at Staple Newk, when I saw gannets diving. They moved like bullets into the sea – it was amazing.

“It’s experiences like these that make you appreciate how precious our open spaces are and how important the RSPB’s work in protecting them is.”

When she arrives to open up the visitor centre in a morning, RSPB retail supervisor Glenis Dawson often bumps into Peter on his first visit of the day.

“We definitely have a soft spot for our early morning regulars like Jack and Gav,” said Glenis. “They are delightful and very well-behaved, with Peter keeping them both on leads while walking through the reserve.”