We love to walk, enjoy the scenery and take in the fresh air of the great outdoors, and so do our furry companions. Finding dog-friendly walks can be a minefield of dangers due to the nature of landscape and local rules and regulations. Our list of dog-friendly walking trails should help you plan a hiking trip that includes the whole family, paws and all.
Dog-friendly hiking trails in the UK
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
One of the best dog-friendly walking trails, Bodnant Garden boasts over 80 acres of land to explore, from formal pathways for a structured route to wild meadows and woodland for an expansive adventure. In the summer, the garden hosts Wag Wednesdays, where groups of people take dogs walking in aid of Guide Dogs. Your dog will likely be thirsty after a long walk like this, so make sure you come prepared with a water bowl or tray if you’re taking full advantage of the size of this trail.
Like the sound of this dog-friendly walking trail? Bodnant Garden’s website has more information.
Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
This estate is part of the National Trust and includes a farm, garden, park, cafés and even a shop, so it’s a perfect stop if you have younger children too. There’s plenty to do, and the park and gardens are happy to host your four-legged friends while on a lead.
View Shugborough’s opening times before setting off.
Richmond Park, London
When considering dog-friendly walking trails, the capital city may not be the first place that springs to mind, but Richmond park features plenty of green areas, forests and ponds. A great place for a well-socialised mutt, Richmond Park is close to other amenities meaning you’re able to duck in and out of this walk with the family.
As the park has protected status and is a National Nature Reserve, there are some restrictions on dog walking. Deer rutting season runs from September to October and birthing season is from May to July, so it’s advised you avoid the park if you’ve got your dog in tow during these months.
More information about Richmond Park is available on their website.
Dog-friendly hikes near water
If you’ve got a dog who likes to swim, these dog-friendly walks near water make for the perfect day out for you and your four-legged friend. Make sure to take a dog towel to dry your pet off and a car seat cover if you’re hopping in the car on your return home.
Top tip: It’s worth noting that many of the National Trust beaches permit dogs all year round. Visit their Dog-Friendly Directory for specific rules.
The Seven Sisters, South Downs
The views over the white cliffs are stunning on this trail, which hugs the shore. This dog-friendly hike is suited to the more adventurous, with its countless steep hills – so make sure you and your furry friend are prepared to work hard! Rabbits live dangerously close to the edge of the cliffs, so it’s advised you keep your dog away from the edge with a long lead. Down on the beach, you can let your dog cool off in the waves, but just remember to keep an eye on the tides, as they can be unpredictable in the winter months.
Derwentwater, Lake District
The Lake District by name is peppered with opportunities for your pup to paddle – especially great for playing fetch in the water with a bright, light dog toy. The shores are mostly shallow, meaning canines and humans alike can enjoy the water. This dog-friendly walking trail is perfect for the whole family, with lots of places to sit back, have a rest and enjoy the scenes.
Want to know more? Visit the Lake District website.
This is a great dog trail within the Trelissick Estate, as it shadows the River Fal for some of its length. You can take your pooch into the outside courtyard area, where they offer water bowls and sheltered seating for the warmer days. Dogs are not allowed in the formal gardens, so keep this in mind as you return to the café and main building.
Off lead dog walks
There’s no one more excited than your puppy when they think they’re going to be let off the lead, but it’s important to find off lead dog walks where they will be safe to explore. Watch your dog stretch their legs and really run with these perfect off lead dog walks.
Gosbecks Archeological Park, Essex
This dog-friendly walking trail is a good place to walk dogs as it has plenty to keep them occupied. The hills are small, meaning you don’t have to worry about the little ones keeping up, and there are also plenty of off-lead areas. A perk of this particular dog trail is the free parking, so you’ll be able to spend the whole day rambling through the glorious fields without spending a penny.
Ruskington, Leasingham Lane, Lincolnshire
A little-known treasure, this dirt path is great exercise for the whole family. The trail is flat, which is ideal for keeping an eye on your dog while they’re running free off the lead. There’s also a little bridge over relatively shallow water for your dog to stop off and cool down along the way.
Being prepared for dog-friendly hikes
Don’t forget to take food and water for your (now exhausted) pup. If you’re walking in the winter months, wrap your dog in a warm dog coat, which will keep them cosy while they investigate the world around them. When necessary, a reflective jacket or collar light might be useful for you to watch your dog and keep them out of mischief. So, get out there, have a pawsome time and don’t forget the poop bags!
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