11 dog-friendly forest walks to take your pooch

Forest walks offer such a calming and rejuvenating treat for the senses. For dog owners, woodland and forest outings are a joy, with lots of walking routes available, each one providing lots of stimulation that active dogs will love. In preparation for your next dog-friendly holiday, we’ve rounded up a list of our favourite forest walks just for you.

1. The Fir Trail, Thetford Forest

Location: Suffolk

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, play areas, cafe, Go Ape, cycle hire, visitor centre



With 5km, 10km or 12km options available depending on your dog’s energy levels, the Fir Trail is a great way to get out and explore quieter areas of Thetford Forest. If you take one of the longer walks, you’ll pass by the 15th-century Thetford Warren Lodge en route. The visitor centre is conveniently located at Suffolk’s High Lodge car park, meaning that you’ll get an introduction to the diverse wildlife of the forest before heading out on the trail.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Suffolk >

2. Warksburn Walking Trail, Kielder Forest

Location: Northumberland

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, picnic area, baby changing facilities



The circular Warksburn Walking Trail has a very convenient start point, at the Warksburn picnic area. Bring lunch along and you’ll be setting yourself up for a real treat at the end of your hike. At only 1.5 miles, the trail isn’t long but there are some hills involved. Kielder Forest, in Northumberland, is the largest forest area in England, with many dog-friendly walking trails available, and is also one of the UK’s finest dark-sky reserves. Night-time dog walkers take note!


Find more dog-friendly cottages in Northumberland > 

3. Mailscot Wood Trail, Symonds Yat

Location: Herefordshire

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, picnic area, cafe



Right on the border of England and Wales, Symonds Yat in Herefordshire is one of the finest locations on the stunning River Wye. The Mailscot Wood Trail is a hilly, 6km trail that takes walkers up Symonds Yat Rock, where you’ll be amply rewarded with astounding panoramic views of the river and its surrounding forest. Plenty of other dog-friendly walks are also available in this area.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Hertfordshire >

4. Blackwater: Tall Trees Arboretum Link, New Forest

Location: Hampshire

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, information point



There are so many walks in the New Forest National Park that it was difficult to just select one. Needless to say, a holiday in this corner of Hampshire will mainly be spent out in nature, soaking up the diversity of habitats on offer. This walk along the Blackwater: Tall Trees Arboretum Link trail introduces dog walkers to one of the most impressive collections of fir trees in the UK, planted in the 1800s, as well as other trees from all over the world. Dogs on leads are welcomed.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Hampshire >

5. The Willow Trail, Epping Forest

Location: Essex

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Play area



Stretching out from the eastern border of London through Essex, the extensive Epping Forest feels a million miles from the big city. The Willow Trail is one of the easier walks in the forest, beginning at Connaught Water, where you might spot Great Crested Grebes. The blooming willows make this walk particularly lovely in winter and early spring.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Essex > 

6. The Butterfly Trail, Haldon Forest

Location: Devon

Car park: Yes

Facilities: toilets, cycle hire, cafe, baby changing facilities



While you may choose a holiday to Devon for its coastal views rather than its forest dog walks, the lovely Haldon Forest is well worth a visit. Over 30 species of butterfly have been discovered on this Butterfly Trail, including one of the UK’s rarest species; the Pearl Bordered Fritillary. With cyclists also using the trail, you may want to keep dogs on a short lead in places.


Find dog-friendly holiday cottages in Devon > 

7. Lodge Pond Trail, Alice Holt Forest

Location: Surrey

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, dog wash, cafe, play area, visitor centre, picnic area



Dogs are well looked after at Farnham’s Alice Holt Forest, in Surrey, with their very own washing facilities - perfect for getting those muddy paws clean before jumping in the car. The Lodge Pond Trail has play areas along the route, which is perfect for family dog walks, and it takes you right into the heart of the forest through areas of pine forest and broadleaf woodland.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Surrey >

8. Two Gills Trail, Whinlatter Forest

Location: Surrey

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Cafe, play area, picnic area



Although the Two Gills Trail is under just two miles long, it remains popular for its fabulous views over Bassenthwaite Lake, and the two en route waterfalls of Black Gill and Comb Gill. Whinlatter Forest is home to a myriad of biking and hiking trails, most of which are dog-friendly, making it a fantastic part of the Lake District to holiday along with your family pet.


Find dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District 

9. Langden Castle Walk, Forest of Bowland

Location: Lancashire

Car park: Yes

Facilities: None



The Forest of Bowland is an immense Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and once you visit it yourself, it’s immediately obvious why. Covering not only forest and woodland but also grassy valleys, rolling farmland and dark sky areas, this Lancashire paradise is full of natural habitats that dogs will love. The Langden Castle Walk takes in a range of these wild spaces on a 6km circular tramp.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Lancashire >

10. Sculpture Trail, Forest of Dean

Location: Gloucestershire

Car park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, cafe



The River Wye is so fantastic for dog-friendly outdoor holidays that we thought it was well worth adding another Wye Valley location to the list, this time at the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. The Sculpture Trail is unusual, with sculptures installed along the 7km route that fit harmoniously within the woodland setting. One of the highlights is the Iron Road; twenty sleepers on a disused railway that have been carved with forest scenes.


Find dog-friendly cottages in Gloucestershire >

11. Linmere Trail, Delamere Forest

Location: Cheshire

Car Park: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, cafe, visitor centre, cycle hire, baby changing facilities, picnic area



The gentle Linmere Trail walk is perfect for families, as it gives you access to some of the prettiest areas of Cheshire’s Delamere Forest without delving too deep (although longer walks are available should you wish). Closely accessible to Manchester and Liverpool, and with its very own train station, the forest is excellent for a city break as well as a longer rural getaway. 


Find dog-friendly cottages in Cheshire >

The most popular places to stay: 





Top holiday properties: 



Hot tub
Log cabins
Enclosed gardens
Swimming pool

Become a Dog-friendly Cottages member for free and enjoy exclusive deals and discounts on thousands of properties for you and your four-legged pals.

Login to see

  • Discounts exclusive to members
  • Save & share your favourite properties
  • See your previously viewed properties

Sign up to see

Login to see

  • Discounts exclusive to members
  • Save & share your favourite properties
  • See your previously viewed properties

Did you mean {{ suggestedEmail }}?


Already a member login here

Not a member?

By entering my email address, I agree to Dog Friendly Cottage's Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and to receive email updates, news, & offers from Dog Friendly Cottages.

Thank you for joining, member discounts are now available.

Thank you for signing up. Cashback will now be available on your next booking!

Your browser is out of date and we can't guarantee a consistent experience when using our site. Please consider updating or switching. More info on browser support