Dog-friendly walks in South Cornwall
Treen & Porthcurno circular, Land’s End peninsula
Start point: Treen car park
The southern tip of the Land’s End peninsula might feel remote – it is, after all, a six-hour drive from the English capital. But this part of Cornwall has some of its most exciting attractions, and walking between them is a real joy when you’ve got a dog. Stop in at the Minack Theatre to see the UK’s only coastal open-air performance space, and take the dog into the nearby Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno just off the trail. This walk is best done in summer when the winds are a little more forgiving, and the landscape is peppered in wildflowers. Views of the azure ocean are spellbinding from the coastal section of this walk and there are plenty of beaches to explore, though note that there are restrictions on Porthcurno Beach between 10am and 6pm in July and August.
St Mawes circular, Roseland Peninsula
Start point: St Mawes Quay
Just across the Carrick Roads from Falmouth (which is connected by ferry), St Mawes is a tiny little coastal village with some big history. Best known for its coastal castle, a fortress built by Henry VIII’s defence program, it has been the subject of various royal visits over the centuries, too, including recently by the now King Charles III and Queen Camilla. This walk passes the castle – which you can visit with the dog – and then joins the coast path before heading inland through Halwartha and out onto the opposite coast of this small peninsula. Keep the dog on a lead around livestock and steep cliffs. There are plenty of dog-friendly cafées and pubs in St Mawes for a post-walk drink, too.
Carne Beach to Nare Head circular, Roseland Heritage Coast
Start point: Carne Beach car park
Directions: National Trust
You’ll need to resist the temptation to head straight for Carne Beach on this National Trust trail, which starts by going inland across fields and country lanes before it reaches the coast path at Pennarin Point. There’s intriguing history en route, though, so look out for the Iron Age Veryan Castle homestead and Bronze Age barrow Carne Beacon. From the coast path you’ll spot Gull Rock, a breeding ground for herring and black-backed gulls, as well as shags, razorbills and guillemots. The trail follows the coast path back towards Carne Beach, where your reward is a vast stretch of sand that allows dogs year-round.
Helston Circular, Lizard Peninsula
Start point: Helston Old Cattle Market
For days when you don’t fancy a coastal wander, this lovely amble along the River Cober just outside historic Helston is a brilliant alternative – it’s especially good when there’s strong winds, as the walk is relatively sheltered. You’ll start on the edge of town and quickly head into some pretty woodland. You’ll need to be deft on your feet for this walk – as will the dog – as there’s a river crossing involving stepping stones (they may be submerged after heavy rains so avoid crossing if that’s the case). You’ll return to town via a small network of Victorian alleyways, where you can find refreshing pints at the dog-friendly Blue Anchor Inn.
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mevagissey
Start point: Lost Gardens of Heligan car park
You’ll need to pay the entry fee for the gardens to get access to this trail, but it’s well worth the price, as the Lost Gardens of Heligan is a truly wonderful estate. This walk takes you right around the extent of the estate’s land, through woodland and over the West Lawn, then into the Jungle, so named for its unique microclimate and collection of tropical plants, including a centuries-old tree fern. Once out of the Jungle, you’ll walk along trails with intriguing names like Peruppa Path and Sunken Lane, then find yourself in the wonderful planted gardens that have been beautifully restored. Finish with a hearty lunch or cake in the dog-friendly cafe, and don’t forget to pick up a few plants for your own garden on the way out.