Our five favourite dog walks in Devon

The daily dog walk takes on a whole new appeal when on holiday in Devon. With over 3,500 miles of footpaths to follow – some tracking the craggy coastline and along sandy beaches, others offering romps across lofty tors further inland – it’s highly likely there’s a walk for everyone, no matter how much energy you have, and no matter the weather. You could roam across the often misty hills of Dartmoor, or simply stroll through woodland on the English Riviera. Here are five of our favourite dog walks for your holiday in Devon.

Written by Lottie Gross

5 minute read

Bellever Tor trail, Dartmoor

Start point: Bellever or Postbridge car park Type: There-and-back Distance/time: 4km/60 mins Directions: waymarkers on the ground

Walking in Dartmoor is one of Devon’s greatest draws: this undulating landscape of moorland and rocky tors is a truly fascinating and atmospheric place, especially during inclement weather. This walk explores the beautiful Bellever Forest, wandering along wide forest tracks before heading up onto the moorland to the top of the tor. You might see Dartmoor ponies grazing on the land while you walk, and you should keep an eye out for the stones set into the ground in a circle – these are the remains of a prehistoric settlement.

Note that there may be livestock, so dogs should remain under close control (ideally on a lead); for a livestock-free, off-lead runabout, use Mutt Mayhem dog walking field nearby.

Stay at: Cedar shepherd’s hut in Dittisham

Saunton Sands to Woolacombe

Start point: Saunton Sands car park Type: Circular Distance/time: 17km/5hrs Directions: AllTrails

If your dog’s got energy to burn and you’ve got a day of great weather ahead, this walk between two dog-friendly beaches is a wonderful way to see the west Devon coastline. It begins at Saunton Sands, where you can chuck the ball around for the dog on this miles-long beach before heading up onto the cliffs to follow the coast path north. You’ll pass through Croyde and Putsborough before joining the coast path again across Woolacombe Sands.

The return route is inland across farmland, so be aware of livestock. Note that there are restrictions for dogs on Woolacombe during spring and summer (April to November), but they can run free on the beach during autumn and winter.

Stay at: Skylark in Ilfracombe

The Butterfly Trail at Haldon Forest Park

Start point: Haldon Forest Centre Type: Circular Distance/time: 6km/2hrs Directions: yellow waymarkers

Livestock-free and great for kids or those with reduced mobility (Trampers available to hire), this excellent trail at Haldon Forest Park is a wonderful way to see some of the UK’s prettiest and rarest butterflies. Over 30 species have been recorded here, so bring the whole family for this wander through the conifer forest. There are a few steep sections, but it’s a largely easy trail and waymarkers along the route mean no getting lost. Refuel at the Forest Centre café after.

Stay at: The Hayloft in Totnes, 30-minutes south by car

Dartmouth Castle to Compass Cove

Start point: Dartmouth Castle Type: Circular Distance/time: 3km/60mins Directions: AllTrails

Prepare for a steep and challenging climb on this walk between Dartmouth Castle and Compass Cove to the south. It begins at the castle, which happens to be dog friendly should you want an historic diversion first, and climbs to the top of the hill for views out over the Dart estuary. From here, you’ll head south towards Compass Cove and then join the coastal path to go northward back to the castle. There’s a small beach at Sugary Cove where dogs are allowed year-round and you can paddle in the sea.

Stay at: Hills Cross Hide, which has an enclosed paddock around the cabin

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Written by Lottie Gross

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