North Devon’s greatest coastal walks with the dog

Exploring North Devon with the dog is a supremely rewarding experience: amazing dog-friendly beaches, exciting dog-friendly attractions and plenty of pubs and restaurants welcoming our four-legged adventurers. Plus, walkies galore along the South West Coast Path’s trails. If you’re planning a trip to North Devon with your dog, here’s where to do your morning walkies.

Written by Lottie Gross

Woolacombe to Putsborough return

Start point: The Esplanade car park, Woolacombe
Type: There-and-back
Distance/time: 6.4km/90 mins
Directions: AllTrails

If it’s beach time you’re after, combined with a coastal dog walk, this six-kilometre stroll between Woolacome and Putsborough is wonderful. You’ll walk along the coastal path amid grassy dunes on the southward stretch, before arriving at Putsborough car park and heading onto the sand. This end of the vast, three-kilometre beach is dog friendly year round so let the dog off the lead to chase the ball or have a paddle. 

As you head north, back along the sand, you’ll need to steer clear of the northern end of the beach beyond the stream in high season, as dogs are banned from this section, but you can still access the beach shop and, more importantly, ice cream hut before heading back to the car.

Morte Point and Bull Point

Start point: Mortehoe village car park
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 9.6km/3hrs
Directions: National Trust

From the handsome village of Mortehoe, this walk heads out to the dramatic, rocky Morte Point along grassy paths on the headland. Once at the viewpoint, there are epic views in all directions and striking rock formations jutting out to the sea. 

From here, you'll wander along the coast path to Bull Point lighthouse, with ever-present views of the white and grey rocks that make up this region's fascinating geology. Once past the lighthouse, head inland and back to Mortehoe across the fields. The village's Chichester Arms is a dog-friendly pub perfect for refuelling.

Heddon’s Mouth

Start point: Heddon Valley car park
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 3.2km/1hr
Directions: National Trust

This walk doesn't strictly follow the coastal path, but it does feature a pretty magnificent part of coastline at Heddon's Mouth beach, where dogs can roam off the lead and there's a disused lime kiln right by the sand. The walk follows the Heddon river valley, a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its flora and fauna, and ends up on the beach where towering cliffs -- some of the highest in Devon -- surround the bay. 

The walk back is along the opposite side of the river, where Devon ruby cows graze and old stone bridges make for picturesque scenes. Dogs can join you for a celebratory end-of-walk pint at The Hunter's Inn.

Hollerday Hill

Start point: Lynmouth Pavilion
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 5km/90mins

Taking in Lynmouth, Lynton and the spectacular Valley of the Rocks landscape -- often described as the UK's "Little Switzerland" -- this coastal walk in North Devon has incredible scenery. There are striking rock formations and mysterious caves shrouded in legend -- read up on Mother Meldrum's Kitchen, a supposed witches' cave -- and wonderful views of the endless ocean.

Don't miss one of the many dog-friendly cafés, pubs or restaurants in Lynton on your way back.

Northam Burrows & Westward Ho!

Start point: Northam Burrows car park
Type: Circular
Distance/time: 5.5km/70mins
Directions: AllTrails

Just east of the charming town of Appledore on the North Devon coast lies Northam Burrows Country Park, whose footpaths skirt along the edge of Westward Ho! Beach and up to Greysands. This is a relatively flat walk, with sand and grass underfoot and views out across mudflats revealed by retreating seas at low tide. Keep the dog (and yourselves) off the mudflats as they can be dangerous. 

In low season, look out for wintering birds such as Brent geese and golden plovers, which love the salt marshes here. The circular route doesn't pass through Appledore, but it's an easy detour if you fancy popping in for some lunch at one of its dog-friendly pubs -- we love The Beaver Inn.

A dog

Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Barnstaple

Arlington Court is a pretty Regency mansion, just south of Combe Martin, deep into the North Devon Countryside. It’s pleasant but unassuming from the outside, but what lies within its back buildings is most intriguing, as this is home to the National Trust Carriage Museum. Here you can wander with the dog among stately coaches once used for ferrying the gentry and tiny, humble carts used by farmers. Elsewhere on the estate are sublime pleasure gardens with a series of beautiful views, kitchen gardens and Victorian planted gardens, as well as an old book shop and a tearoom serving scones for humans and ice cream made for dogs.

Written by Lottie Gross

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