Our favourite coastal dog walks in North Cornwall

Whether you want a light amble or a whole day hike, the South West Coast Path in North Cornwall has plenty of spectacular sections for every kind of walk. Dog walking in this area is thrilling, with beaches for your hounds to run on and spectacular views from craggy cliff tops. It always pays to be conscious of high cliffs, so keep dogs on leads for maximum safety when you’re walking up high, and always keep an eye out for livestock and shorebirds, which should never be disturbed. There are plenty of inland walks, too, if you’d rather head away from the sea breeze. But if you’re planning a dog-friendly holiday in North Cornwall, here’s where to walk while you’re on the coast.

Written by Jem Brownlee

5 minute read

Pentire Headland walk

Start point: Pentireglaze car park
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 5.5km/2hrs
Directions: National Trust

Just north of the charming village of Polzeath -- one of the loveliest villages to explore in Cornwall -- the Pentire Headland is a wild, blustery place with wonderful views south along the coastline. This walk is a brilliant way to begin your day, heading out from the Pentireglaze car park and tracking north along the headland to an old hill fort and then to Pentire Point. On the way back, it's well worth stopping at a dog-friendly pub or restaurant in Polzeath before heading to the car park.

Hartland Quay to Bude

Start point: Hartland Quay car park
Type: Point-to-point
End: Bude
Distance/time: 25km/9hrs
Directions: The Great Outdoors

You will need to think carefully about transport for this exciting hike along the South West Coast Path between Hartland Quay in Devon, near the border with Cornwall, and Bude further south along the North Cornwall coast. It's just a 35-minute drive between the two, but the 25-kilometre hike is a challenging one and is very much an all-day affair. Head out with the dog and you'll track the coastline southward, passing Speke's Mill Mouth waterfall and crossing several steep river valleys. Once in Bude, rest your weary feet at one of its many dog-friendly pubs and restaurants, or dip your aching feet in the sea on dog-friendly Summerleaze Beach.

Stay at: Trengayor Farm, Bude >

Sir John Betjeman Walk

Start point: Rock Quarry Car Park
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 7.4km/90mins
Directions: South West Coast Path

This is one of the finest circular walks along the South West Coast Path in North Cornwall, as it takes in a little history alongside gorgeous views out across the Camel Estuary towards Padstow. It’s a relatively flat trail, crossing a golf course (dogs on leads) and following sandy and grassy footpaths. You’ll pass by St Enodoc Church, which was the final resting place for poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, who lived here towards the end of his storied life. Also look out for a former Roman lookout station on Brea hill. Daymar Bay, mid-way through the walk, is a dog-friendly beach all year round.

St Ives coastal loop

Start point: Porthmeor Beach car park
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 4.5km/90mins
Directions: AllTrails

Heading west from the delightful town of St Ives, this walk follows the South West Coast Path past Clodgy Point before turning inland to head back towards the southern end of town. There are brilliant views over St Ives from this trail, and dramatic, craggy cliffs and rocks all along the coastline. The variety of terrain here is brilliant, too, with open fields, tiny footpaths enclosed by ancient hedgerows, and a few quiet roads to wander along, too. Watch out for livestock in the fields.

Watergate Bay to Newquay

Start point: Watergate Bay car park
Type: Point-to-point
End: Newquay (public transport connections to start)
Distance/time: 6.4km/90mins
Directions: I Walk Cornwall

Watergate Bay is famous for being one of the most spectacular dog-friendly beaches in North Cornwall. Bring the dog here for a runabout on the sand, which stretches for miles when the tide is out, before heading up onto the cliff tops for a walk to Newquay. You'll get views of your destination from the highest points of this trail, which looks towards the headland connected to Newquay. There are several more dog-friendly beaches along the route, including the tiny, picturesque Whipsiderry beach, which is ideal for swimming. Once you get to Newquay, you can take the number 56 bus to Padstow, which will drop you back at Watergate Bay.

Stay at: Appletree Cabin, Newquay >

Written by Jem Brownlee

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