Walking enthusiasts love the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the huge variety of dog friendly walks and trails you can find in this little region. The options range from challenging hikes between rugged headlands along the South West Coast Path, to gentle beach strolls, peaceful woodland walks and meandering wanders through its picturesque towns and villages.
Dog-lovers can make the most of the many joys of South Devon, thanks to all the dog-friendly beaches, pubs and restaurants throughout the region. The luxury dog-friendly holiday cottages available also mean there’s no need for you to miss out on your own creature comforts just because you want to bring your canine companion along.
We’ve picked out three of our favourite dog-friendly walks which showcase some of the best scenery in South Devon.
Beesands and Hallsands (4.5 miles)
The beachside village of Beesands is a highly recommended starting point for dog walkers, with its long fine shingle beach, excellent facilities and perfect location for a range of walks. You’ll find Beesands 12 miles south of Dartmouth towards the south edge of Start Bay, a nine-mile stretch of coastline which alternates between rugged, rocky cliffs, expansive beaches and secluded coves. At the southern tip of Start Bay sits the iconic Start Bay Lighthouse, which has protected passing ships since 1836.
Park at Beesands and head south along the beach, which is dog-friendly all year round. The path winds uphill, giving you some wonderful views (don’t forget to look behind you for an aerial view of Beesands beach and Widecombe Ley) and taking you to Hallsands beach. Follow the Coast Path, past Prospect House on your right until you reach a fork. Take a right, leaving the Coast Path and heading inland.
After you pass the small car park, you can either look out for a turnstile on your right and trek along the edges of the patchwork fields or continue along the lane until you reach a T-junction. Turn left and then right at the crossroads. Continue along this road until you reach a crossroads and take a right. Take the next left, the next right, and then at the T-junction, turn right and follow the road left. This will take you back to Beesands.
Stop by the Cricket Inn (the bar area is dog-friendly) or the al fresco Britannia @ The Beach for a well-deserved snack or drink. Both of these eateries are renowned for the fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that go into their dishes.
Thurlestone circular (8 miles)
Thurlestone Sands is an ever-popular spot for sunbathers, swimmers, surfers, stand-up paddle-boarders and just about everyone looking for a classic day-at-the-beach experience.
You can either begin at Thurlestone Sands car park or start a little further south at South Milton Sands. Follow the footpath south past South Milton Sands and turn left at the T-junction. This narrow road will take you to the charming village of South Huish. Just past the village, go right and continue onto Galmpton Cross, where you can take a right to take you into the village of Galmpton.
Take a left when the road forks, and another left when it does so a second time. Pass Burton Farmhouse and Garden Restaurant on your right and follow the road right when you reach a fork. Bolberry Down will appear in front of you – follow the lanes towards it and continue straight through the village until you reach the coast.
Take a right, joining the Coast Path. This will take you around the headland and onwards to Hope Cove, where you’ll find a wide range of pubs and restaurants in addition to two beautiful beaches (Harbour beach welcomes dogs all year round; Mouthwell Sands permits them between 1st October and 30th April).
Follow the Coast Path back to Thurlestone Sands and pat yourselves and your pooch on the back for a job well done!
Loddiswell (4 miles)
This walk, a little further inland is perfect for those who love exploring the woods with their four-legged friends. It’s a much-loved spot amongst locals in particular, popular for its wonderful woodlands, birdsong and classic South Hams views of rolling hills. Look out for bluebells and wild garlic in the spring.
Most people start this walk at the village Post Office. Park on the road between the Post Office and the church. Pass the war memorial and follow the lane to the left of the church.
You’ll come to a T-junction. Turn left and follow the lane as it swings right to Ham Butts. Follow the path downhill signposted for “Reads” and head down towards the farm. In front of the farm, bear right through the gate following the finger post sign. Go down a narrow path with the stream on the left. The path crosses over a stile and continues downhill.
Keep on the main path. As you approach a footbridge, turn left crossing the small stream by stones to avoid the boggy path before the footbridge. Continue ahead until you meet the river, where you follow the path as it sweeps left. Follow the path, with the river on your right, in places squeezing under trees.
Follow the waymarkers up a series of short flights of steps and cross a footbridge to reach the old railway line bridge. Step up onto the bridge and turn left, following the old Primrose railway line. This pulls you away temporarily from the river.
Just after a Woodland Trust sign for Aveton wood, you’ll come to a second railway bridge made of red brick. The river flows under this bridge, and you turn right off the bridge, following the way markers back towards Loddiswell, with the river on your right. Return to the first bridge. Cross it and turn left. Immediately, at the fork bear left, retracing your steps to Loddiswell with the river now on your left.
This is just a flavour of the wonderful dog friendly walks awaiting you in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Check out this page for all the information you need on other South Devon walks.