Voting has officially opened for the Top Dog Walk in the South West competition.

The second annual event to find the best dog walk along the South West Coast Path urges locals and visitors alike to vote for their dog’s favourite walk along the stunning 630-mile National Trail, which stretches from Poole to Minehead in Somerset.

There are hundreds of routes to choose from which are dog-friendly throughout the year, with recommended places to eat, drink and sleep which are particularly canine-caring, so competition is fierce.

Backed by the Kennel Club’s access advisor Stephen Jenkinson, an expert on where dog owners can go and what they can do in the countryside, the competition’s winning voter will scoop a top prize of a break at one of Holiday Cottages’ 800 dog-friendly cottages in the region, worth £400.

Stephen, a columnist for Your Dog magazine, said: “I’ve always had a soft spot for the south west and its glorious coastline – it’s great for dogs with miles of golden sands to play around on as well as woodland paths and green pasture.

“One of my personal favourites is the walk from Padstow to Trevone, where the scenery is as delightful as the refreshments and the dog-friendly welcome you get along the way is one of the best.”

Stephen has worked alongside the South West Coast Path team to advise on dog walking issues, such as responsible dog walking through farmland, and helped to produce an introductory video for dog walkers on the Coast Path, which can be viewed on the dogs’ page of the South West Coast Path website.

He also works for councils, governments and wildlife charities with his work often taking him oversees, most recently in Bosnia advising the United Nations on developing humane, community-based dog management plans for the country’s thousands of street dogs.

Stephen lives in Orkney with his Border Collie Jess, but is a huge fan of the South West Coast Path.

Last year’s winning dog walk, Heddon’s Mouth in Somerset, was described by Alison Moreland who nominated it as “an easy section of the path with a great stream, a small beach for doggie paddling, and a dog-friendly pub for refreshment”.

  • The closing date for competition entries is February 28. For more information, full terms and conditions and details on how to vote, visit Join the conversation on Twitter @SWCoastPath and share your favourite walks and doggie pictures on Facebook and Pinterest with the hashtag #TopDogWalk.