The UK has some of the best hiking trails and walks in Europe. The varied landscapes, national parks, and protected areas are perfect for roaming with your faithful companion. However, not all hiking trails are suitable for dogs. You must be incredibly careful when exploring further afield with your pet. This includes considering how long the hike is, assessing the safeness of the route, and understanding if the terrain is suitable.
This can be a daunting task, and you do not want to put your dog in harm’s way. But do not worry! We have created a list of 10 dog friendly hikes in the UK that are perfect for you to explore with your furry friend. This list includes some sorter walks for younger dogs or puppies, and some longer routes for fully-developed dogs who enjoy more exercise.
1. The Seven Sisters, Sussex
One of the best dog friendly hikes in the UK has to be the Seven Sisters in Sussex. What more could you want? This route has it all. Clearly marked walking paths, epic views, gorgeous scenery, and simple terrain that you and your dog can conquer.
Another great thing about this hike is that you can make it as long or as short as you wish. The starting points are either Eastbourne or Seaford and the trail stretches for some 10 miles between these two amazing coastal towns. If you have an energetic dog, you may want to tackle the entire route. Alternatively, for older or less active dogs, you could simply walk a section of this gorgeous path and retrace your steps when needed!
2. Derwent Water, Lake District
If you want a longer hike with your dog, why not explore Derwent Water in the Lake District? This is one of the larger lakes and sits next to the gorgeous town of Keswick. If you want to complete the entire route, it is approximately 8 miles from the starting point in Keswick.
You can either walk from the center of Keswick, or there is a small car park near Crow Park which also connects directly to some of the paths. The path is self-explanatory, and the terrain is relatively simple. The only thing to consider is that there are some sections where you may have to walk at the side of the roads that pass around Derwent Water.
3. The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye is a remote but beautiful location. It is also a superb place for you to explore with your dog. This is an ancient landslide and rock ridge (don’t worry it’s quite safe!) that also has a 4-mile hiking trail.
There is a dedicated car park for the Quiraing at postcode IV51 9LB. From here, the starting point of the hike is self-explanatory, and the trail is easy to identify. The scenery along this route is simply magnificent and you are granted some great vantage points where you can look out to the coast.
4. Malham Tarn Walkway, Yorkshire Dales
Malham Tarn and Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales are two amazing places to visit for you and your dog. They are one of the best dog friendly hikes in the UK due to the amazing scenery and the varied paths you can trek on.
5. West Pentire Headland Walk, Cornwall
The West Pentire Headland is part of the much longer Southwest Coastal Path. This section starts in the beautiful village of Crantock, next to Newquay. You can start the hike from the center of Crantock on Green Lane. From here, the trail is self-explanatory and sign-posted too.
It is a popular route for dog-walkers and offers some absolutely stunning views of the Cornish coast. The terrain does have a variety of dips and peaks as it follows the undulations of the coastline. However, it is easygoing and you can walk for as long or as little as you wish.
Many people walk from Crantock to Poly Joke Beach which is approximately 2 miles. You can, however, continue further to Hollywell Bay, or spend the day hiking and walk to Perranporth Beach. It is an amazing walk for dogs and you will also get the chance to let them play on several beautiful beaches.
6. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Cheddar Gorge is not only a fascinating place, but it is also one of the best dog friendly hikes in the UK. This iconic landscape is a popular tourist destination, but it a great place to take your dog. Aside from the gorge itself, there is also a 3-mile round walk that you can take. You can find full details of the route here.
The walk snakes around the top of the gorge and gives you fantastic views of the valley far below. It has terrain that will be easy for most dogs, and the paths are generally well-trodden too. If you want to see one of the most iconic sites in England and also give your dog a great walk, Cheddar Gorge is an excellent place to visit.
7. Rhosilli Bay, Gower
If your dog loves to run free and enjoys the beach, look no further than Rhosilli Bay on the southern coast of Wales. The beach at Rhosilli Bay is simply fantastic. It stretches unbroken for some 3 miles which in itself is an amazing walk for you and your dog. Imagine letting your dog race up and down the golden sand and splash in the waves
Aside from the beach, there is also a coastal path on each side which allows for a much longer hike. You could easily spend a day exploring the beach and walking along the coast. There is also a large car park at postcode SA3 1PR. Be warned, however, this is an extremely popular place so do not expect to have the beach to yourself! Regardless, this is one of the best dog friendly hikes in the UK by far.
8. Stanage Edge, Peak District
The Peak District has a variety of gritstone escarpments that have hiking trails running along their crests. Examples include Burbage Edge, Baslow Edge, and Stanage Edge. For me, Stanage Edge is one of my favorites. I have explored this trail many times and it presents one of the top dog friendly hikes in the UK.
Aside from the initial incline to the top of the rockface, the hike is quite easy. There is a maintained path that runs parallel to Stanage Edge and this continues for miles. This is another fantastic hike that you can make as long or as short as you wish.
For smaller dogs, you could simply walk from the car park up to the edge, and trot along the path for a mile or so. Alternatively, for more energetic dogs, you could continue along the path or join one of the other trails in the area and walk for miles.
9. Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire
Sherwood Forest is an incredibly old forest and once covered a huge area in Nottinghamshire. Although much reduced, it is still a beautiful place and offers some fantastic hiking trails for dogs. Sherwood Pines is a managed area of the forest near the old mining village of Clipstone.
It has a large car park, facilities, and even a Go Ape center. For walking, the area is packed full of wide and well-managed trails that wind between the trees. This is the perfect place for younger, less-experienced dogs to explore as the trails are relatively flat with smooth terrain.
10. The Roaches, Peak District
The Roaches is an area in the southern part of the Peak District, not far from Leek and Macclesfield. Within this amazing landscape, you can find various gritstone escarpments and some gritstone canyons that you can walkthrough. This will give an amazing experience for both you and your dog.
The circular walk is approximately 5.5 miles, and you can find full details of the route here. A common starting point for the walk is at The Roaches Tearoom and Restaurant. However, there is also a dedicated car park further up the road with postcode ST13 8UA.
If you want a varied walk in the Peak District and something different from the standard scenery you can find in this national park, The Roaches is a brilliant place for you and your dog to visit.
Explore the Countryside This Year on Dog Friendly Hikes in the UK!
We hope you have found this list of dog friendly hikes in the UK interesting. It can be tricky finding new places for you and your dog to explore. Not every hiking trail is accessible and safe for dogs to walk on. However, we understand the need to visit new places, broaden your horizons, and give your furry companion new experiences.
Hopefully, you can do just that by exploring the different hikes we have listed above. From Stanage Edge in the Peak District to Derwent Water in the Lake District; the UK is packed full of amazing hiking trails that dogs can comfortably enjoy. If you have any amazing hiking routes you have trodden with your dog, please leave a comment and share your experiences! Don’t forget to check out our other walking articles and guides too for more inspiration!