If you’re anything like us, your dog goes with you on every walk. It’s true – we’ve probably walked more together than most people and our relationship is stronger for it. We don’t mind the odd muddy trail, and the rain doesn’t bother us either.
Hiking with your dog has many benefits Not only is it good for your physical and mental wellbeing, but you get fit too. And what better way to see new places than with your four-legged companion?
The UK has some amazing walking routes, from the South Downs to the Scottish Highlands, peaceful lakeside trails to rugged mountain ranges, lush green meadows and dramatic coastal cliffs. Your dog will enjoy every precious moment spent outdoors.
So if you’re planning a weekend getaway or just looking for local walks, keep reading to see which are the 7 most scenic dog walking routes in the UK to inspire dog owners.
Some of the Best Dog Walks in the UK
The UK is a beautiful country for walking with dogs. In fact, a recent poll stated that almost half of dog owners had chosen holiday locations based on them being dog-friendly; there is some scenic dog walking routes in this country that are hard to beat.
This post is about scenic dog walks, if you’d like more on mini-breaks then see our guide to the best dog walking holidays in the UK.
Best of all, there are lots of dog-friendly accommodations to stay en-route and plenty of pubs that welcome canine visitors.
The Yorkshire Dales
Touted as the number #1 dog walk destination, the Yorkshire dales offers excellent walking opportunities for dogs and their owners, so pack the lead, dig out those hiking boots and start exploring this wonderful countryside
The Dales Way is an 80-mile route that starts in Ilkley and ends in Bowness on Windermere. It follows several rivers in the Yorkshire Dales, taking in picturesque villages and market towns before heading into heather-clad moorland with adequate space for your pup to stretch their legs. You will get a fine view of the Howgills before heading through lush farmland and ending at Windermere.
In the summertime, the routes are well served by public transport and there is plenty of accommodation dotted along the way that welcomes your four-legged friends, plus pubs and cafes where you can rest those weary paws.
Cheddar Gorge is an area of outstanding beauty and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Britain. It offers several hiking trails, the most popular being the Gorge Walk. A long walk at 4 miles, it’s a challenging pet friendly trail that takes around 3 hours.
Along the gorge trail, you’ll be able to see beautiful rock formations, caves, cascades and waterfalls. You’ll also find the remains of an Iron Age mine, which is worth a visit if you are interested in history.
Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve and the Mendip Hills are also full of fantastic walking spots. The beauty of this area is that there is plenty of dog-friendly accommodation nearby. There are also many cafes and pubs with outdoor seating where you can stop off for a drink or bite to eat with your canine companions.
Epping Forest is a large area of woodland spanning 269 hectares in the south east of England. Epping Forest contains many hills to ascend and beautiful landscapes for walkers, cyclists and dog owners to explore
There are several routes, from easy walks for all the family to enjoy to challenging hikes for experienced dog walkers.
Chestnut Trail Walk
An easy 4-mile classic circular stroll that is ideal for families; it starts in Wanstead and follows one of the official forest trails.
The Forest Way Walk
The Forest Way is a 25-mile long-distance route following the footpaths of both Epping Forest and Hatfield Forest.
The Forest has three car parks which provide convenient access to the Forest and there are dog-friendly cafés, pubs and hotels in the area
Derwentwater, Lake District
Why not visit the Lake District’s Derwentwater, taking in spectacular scenery, where both pet parents and canine companions enjoy connecting with nature as they experience the vast strolls through the fields and around the choice of Lakes.
The walking route starts at the southern side of Keswick and runs for almost exactly 20 miles around Derwentwater. The trail is one of the most popular in the Lake District and passes through many beautiful locations.
The entire walk is punctuated with the lovely presence of Derwentwater, which is surrounded by hills on all sides. The lake itself has a very serene beauty, nestled into the surrounding natural landscape.
Dog walkers spend lots of time on this route because it is absolutely perfect for their four-legged friends, plus the Lakes is one of the most dog welcoming places in the UK, with more dog-friendly places than you can shake a stick at.
The Northumberland Coastal Path
The Coastal footpath runs for 62 miles along the shores of Northumberland from the Scottish Borders to Tynemouth.
There are several places on the coast where you can easily access sandy beaches and enjoy a walk at any time of year. Walkers and their dogs enjoying this coastal walk will be rewarded with spectacular views on cliff paths overlooking the sea or if they follow rivers inland, through beautiful countryside and nature conservation areas towards idyllic villages and bustling market towns in the National Park.
You will find many dog-friendly places to eat and drink en route, serving a variety of food, from fresh seafood to locally brewed beer. This is one of our favourite places for dog walking in the UK with so many picturesque places for an image and no shortage of spots to relax.
The Roaches, Peak District
The Roaches in Derbyshire is a fantastic dog walking route because it offers stunning views of the Peak District. There are numerous hiking trails that you can walk if you are in Derbyshire, but The Roaches is one of the best.
As long as you don’t mind a bit of mud, this 5.5-mile walk is a surefire winner. It starts at The Roaches Tea Rooms, and the crags and surrounding moorland are home to a vast range of wild birds such as red grouse and birds of prey such as sparrowhawks and buzzards.
Why not stop for lunch at a country pub with a picturesque garden or spend the night luxuriating at one of the many canine-friendly hotels in the stunning Peak District National Park. Many of the dog walking trails are surrounded by animals and beautiful scenery.
Rhosili Bay, South Wales
Rhosili Bay in South Wales is one of the best places for dogs in the country. It is located near Swansea and can be reached by car or public transportation. The Bay has many miles of beaches, panoramic views and sand dunes perfect for dog walking, with plenty of wildlife to see along the way!
It is situated between Mumbles Head and Worm’s Head and there are several dog walking tracks where you can walk your dog at Rhosili Bay. The easiest is to park at the northernmost parking lot, which will bring you closest to the beach and see your dog bounding about with joy. From here, you can walk south along the coast, crossing over onto Mumbles Head for another beach route back.
As a change from the usual scenic route, you can start from the southernmost point of Rhosili Bay and walk northwards, staying on Worm’s Head most of the way. This route has more rocks and is better for experienced walkers; it is also an excellent place for bird watchers to bring their four-legged friend; you will be able to spot seagulls, herons, oyster-catchers, sandpipers and other types of birds.
Walking Etiquette, all Dog Owners Need to Know
Whether you are walking on the North Yorkshire moors, sitting down for a slice of cake at one of the many dog-friendly cafes owned by the National Trust at a country park or taking a stroll through Richmond Park in London, there are some things to consider
You must always close any gates after you so livestock cant escape into the road.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred destinations, remember to pack plenty of poop bags to clean up your dog’s mess. Not only does this keep the trail cleaner, but dog poo can also pollute water systems and damage fragile eco-systems
You must always ensure dogs are kept under control when hiking; not everyone wants your pooch running up to greet them and you come across horseback riders on your dog walk; make Fido sit until they pass.
Off lead dog walks
Dogs should be kept on a lead on most dog walks, especially in areas owned by the National Trust. However, if there is the opportunity to let your pup run free, always make sure they have good recall training, will not chase after wildlife and are not aggressive in any way.
Farmers in the UK are allowed to shoot a dog if it is worrying their livestock, so one of the most important things to remember on dog walks in the UK is to keep your furry friend well away from any farm animals.
How to Find a Good Dog Walk Near You
Google is a powerful tool. With the right keywords, you can use it to find almost anything online. And if you enjoy walks with your dog, it can also help you plan your outdoor activities by finding beautiful walking trails for jogging, hiking, etc.
Start by searching for “dog friendly walks.” or “the best dog walks near me” There are many options that will come up once you hit return — just pick your location and preferences. Places such as Worcestershire, Shropshire and North Devon are popular, especially in Summer and Autumn.
The best place to start looking for dog walking routes is on social media. There are many groups and pages dedicated to this topic of nearby walking spaces, whether North Yorkshire or the South Downs, so it’s very easy to quickly find an abundance of information on where other people walk their pets.
The National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity. They care for and protect historic places and special green spaces, as well as many thousands of miles of footpaths and nature reserves.
They have recently partnered with pet food maker Forthglade to launch the dogs welcome project where all National Trust owned places have been assessed for dog friendliness and will be given a Pawprint rating on the website so you can easily find dog-friendly trails.
There are many benefits to bringing your four-legged friend with you when hiking on dog trails or a beautiful route, with so much to see and do in the United Kingdom for dog lovers. Not only is it great for your physical and mental health, but there is also breathtaking scenery, green spaces dogs can run around, plus delicious pet-friendly restaurants and unique experiences that your dog is sure to love!
A scenic walk with your dog is one of lives pleasures. With over forty national parks to explore, the UK is home to some truly epic hiking trails.
Make sure to pack essentials like water, a first aid kit and poop bags for your dog before embarking on your picturesque dog walks to make sure that both you and your dog can enjoy the experience safely. For more dog walking guides and advice, it’s here.