The best dog-friendly walks in Somerset holiday cottages


The best dog-friendly walks in Somerset

Stephane Lawes 12 March 2024

A four-pawed stroll through the county of Somerset promises delightful landscapes across a wide choice of picturesque settings. The region not only boasts a rugged, whitewashed coastline, but sprawling countryside, captivating national parks, and unforgettable Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Peppered with dog-friendly beaches, historic ruins and local wildlife, these settings come together to create the pawfect canine cocktail, and to help you get the most from your visit, this guide highlights the very best dog-friendly walks in Somerset.

If you already have Rover’s route mapped out, then why not enhance your time in Somerset by booking a night in one of our dog-friendly cottages? Click the button below to explore our collection of properties.

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National parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Somerset’s wealth of national parks and AONBs will get tails wagging for all the dogs that love open spaces and varied terrains. From rolling green hills busy with local wildlife to adventurous trails leading through woodland and valleys, both humans and hounds are utterly spoiled.

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park’s rolling hills with vibrant plants and the sun setting over the ocean in the background

Encompassing the county’s coast and countryside, Exmoor National Park is not only one of the best spots for dog-friendly walks in Somerset, but one of the most scenic in the UK. Picture wild ponies tiptoeing through woodland and heathered moorland, rich with purple blooms and vibrant foliage – you couldn’t ask for better dog-walking surroundings.

Dunkery Beacon Circular

The Dunkery Beacon Circular leads walkers and their four-pawed companion to the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset, where you can enjoy breathtaking views and wildlife spotting. The 6.2-mile walk offers a gentle climb to the scenic summit, while the many picnic spots beckon a peaceful pause with a panting Fido at your side.

Why your dog will love it: With the wind blowing and flowers blooming, your dog will cherish every second of this sensory feast.

Stay nearby: Bailiffs Cottage, Exmoor | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Tarr Steps and River Barle Circular

Near the Somerset/Devon border, the Tarr Steps and River Barle Circular trail offers a more secluded and enchanting walk. At only 2.3 miles long, this trail starts with an ancient clapper bridge that crosses the River Barle. From here, amble along the banks of the river, let Fido investigate the woodland, and get ready to encounter bikers and runners who enjoy this popular spot. 

Why your dog will love it: With a river to frolic in and woodland to explore, Fido is utterly spoiled if they love outdoor adventures.

Stay nearby: Portway Piggery, Exmoor | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Quantock Hills AONB landscape on a sunny day, rolling green and yellow hills with small woodland and villages dotted around

Popular for its rolling hills and wooded valleys, the Quantock Hills AONB offers a more accessible and quainter alternative to Exmoor. Set in the heart of Somerset, this glorious expanse boasts well-maintained trails that cut through peaceful forests and landscapes, where diverse wildlife and Somerset’s dog-friendly pubs await.

Great Wood Circular

Found on the eastern slopes of the Quantock Hills, Great Wood plays host to some of the most charming, dog-friendly walks in Somerset. For a moderate walk here, follow the Great Wood Circular, a 6-mile-long trail that leads hikers along shaded paths under dense canopies. Let pooches off the leash so they can launch themselves into flowing rivers, while you perch on one of the many scenic benches, enjoying the solitude of this peaceful trail. 

Why your dog will love it: It's a perfect trail for a hot summer's day, where the dog can walk in the canopy's shade or cool down in streams and rivers. 

Stay nearby: Summer Lodge, Nether Stowey | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Triscombe Circular

For more energetic dog walks, head to the wide-open space of Triscombe Stone, found on the 3.8-mile-long Triscombe Circular walk on the western edge of the AONB. The climb up to the Bronze Age stone is steep, but humans and hounds are rewarded with panoramic views of the rich countryside that surrounds the summit and a lovely stroll back down the hill on your return. 

Why your dog will love it: It's the ideal route for dogs with bags of energy, with a steep climb and plenty of open space to explore at the summit.

Stay nearby: Dashwoods Cottage, Bicknoller | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Mendip Hills National Landscape

The rugged rocks and lakes of the Mendip Hills National Landscape on a sunny day

Another AONB in Somerset, the Mendip Hills National Landscape beckons dog walkers with its charming limestone hills, deep valleys, and winding rivers. With all the ingredients needed for a scenic, dog-friendly walk in Somerset, this region also lures lovers of history with its ancient landmarks like Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole Caves, and Iron Age hillforts.

Priddy and Deer Leap

To discover the Mendip Hills’ cultural heritage, the Priddy and Deer Leap trail leads walkers from the picturesque village of Priddy up to the ancient standing stones of Deerleap. A more challenging route at 8.7 miles, this circular walk offers a mix of country lanes and walking trails, as well as a historic and scenic destination in Deer Leap. Here, let Fido run wild, unaware of the fascinating history beneath their paws, while you take a moment to soak in the ambiance of this special spot. 

Why your dog will love it: Your dog will enjoy sniffing out the varying terrains along the way, and the windy, exposed spot at the summit. 

Stay nearby: The Barn, Burnham-on-Sea | sleeps 8 + 3 dogs

Beacon Batch Circular

For a dog-friendly route that celebrates the Mendip Hills’ varied terrain, set out on the Beacon Batch Circular walk. With Fido leading the way for all 6.2 miles, tread through open moorland and the charming Rowberrow Warren Wood before climbing to the Mendip Hills’ highest and most scenic point, Beacon Batch. From here, take in the sweeping views of the River Severn, Bristol, and even Wales!

Why your dog will love it: With moorland, woodland, and open spaces along this trail, your dog's thirst for adventure will be well and truly quenched. 

Stay nearby: Millstone Barn, Wells | sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Somerset coastline and dog-friendly beaches

When it comes to South West coastlines, Devon and Cornwall usually steal the limelight, leaving Somerset’s lesser-known stretch awaiting your discovery. Boasting dog-friendly beaches, great walking opportunities, and charming seaside villages, both pooches and people will fall in love with Somerset’s shores.

South West Coast Path

A winding coast path on a cloudy day as the sun sets over calm waters

Stretching 630 miles from Poole Harbour in Dorset to Minehead in Somerset, the South West Coast Path is a haven for outdoor-loving humans and hounds. With a wide choice of routes that lead to hidden coves, fishing villages, nature reserves and so much more, humans and hounds of all walking abilities will find the trail they’ve been dreaming of.   

Minehead to Watchet

Dogs with plenty of stamina will love the 10-mile-long Minehead to Porlock Weir trail that leads pups down to the water's edge, up past Iron Age hill forts and dog-friendly Bossington Beach, and into the gorgeous seaside village of Porlock Weir. The trail’s breathtaking views of the Bristol Channel and wealth of local history along the way make it one of the best dog-friendly walks in West Somerset.

Why your dog will love it: If the coast path's winding trail doesn't entertain your pal, then the dog-friendly beach at Bossington certainly will! 

Stay nearby: The Flat By The Sea, Minehead | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Kilve and East Quantoxhead Circular

For a shorter route that showcases Somerset’s rugged coastline and Quantock Hills AONB, set out on the 3-mile-long Kilve and East Quantoxhead circular trail. Park the car in the village of East Quantoxhead before following footpaths and a stream down to dog-friendly Kive Beach. At the beach, let the dog explore the rock pools that await, while you perch on the large grassy area behind the beach.

Why your dog will love it: As well as the flowing streams on the walk down, your dog will love the rocky outcrops and grassland at Kilve Beach.

Stay nearby: Blue Anchor Seaview, Blue Anchor | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Dog-friendly beaches

A vast, sandy beach in Somerset, with grassy cliffs to the left and the ocean to the right

If your pup loves to splash in the whitewash or dig in the sand, then they will bark with joy at the wealth of dog-friendly beaches in Somerset. Backed by charming seaside towns, these beaches are not just a hit for furry friends, but for the humans of the group too.

Berrow Beach

Miles of golden sand, grassy dunes, and even a shipwreck await your doggo’s discovery at Berrow Beach, just outside of Burnham-on-Sea. Welcoming dogs all year round and offering lifeguard patrols through the summer as well as traditional seaside attractions, this is a fantastic option for a family and dog-friendly day out by the sea.

Why your dog will love it: As a huge, flat and sandy beach, this is the perfect shoreline for Fido to stretch out their legs and feel the wind in their face.

Stay nearby: Dunes Edge, Burnham-on-Sea | sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Bossington Beach

Flanked by the hills of Exmoor National Park, the huge expanse of pebbles at Bossington Beach is ideal for dog-friendly walks in Somerset. No dog restrictions mean that Fido can run wild chasing the waves and fetching pebbles, while you perch on a rock with a flask of something warm. For more beachy options nearby, check out our guide to the best dog-friendly beaches in Somerset.

Why your dog will love it: Let the dog sniff their way through World War II pillboxes, historic lime kilns, and unique marshland at this dog-friendly beach. 

Stay nearby: Porlock Sunnyside, Porlock | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Somerset's castles and historic houses

Somerset’s rich heritage lives on through the abundance of castles and historic houses dotted around the county. Offering vast estates of woodland and parks where Fido can lose himself, a group trip to one of these properties from the past will please both humans and hounds.

Castles and Coast Way

Dunster village and Dunster Castle in Somerset, with old houses and pink flowers in the forefront

The Castles and Coast Way is a fusion of all things heritage and natural beauty in Somerset - if you can’t choose between either, then this is the trail for you. Stretching from the cliffs and into the countryside, the 13-mile loop can be divided into two to make your walkies a little easier.  

The 7-mile Castles loop starts at Nether Stower Castle, leading over the hills to Stogursey Castle and Church. Along the way, take in spectacular views of the Quantock Hills, Exmoor, and even Wales, while of course soaking in the historic architecture.

Slightly shorter, the 6-mile Coast loop starts on the England Coast Path near Lilstock. Here, you can take in the views of the Severn Estuary before heading inland through picturesque estates, to the small village of Stogursey, before circling back to the coast.

Why your dog will love it: With a choice of coastal and countryside trails, your pup will love discovering the historic structures and villages along the way.

Stay nearby: Rexworthy Barn, Bridgwater | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Hestercombe House and Gardens

Hestercombe House and Gardens in Somerset, with lawned gardens and overhanging trees on an overcast day

Dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period, Herstercombe House and Gardens is a celebration of Somerset’s heritage and verdant beauty. With over 50 acres of landscaped gardens that celebrate Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian horticulture, families and Fidos will love this step back in time.

“Can I take my dog to Hestercombe Gardens? And, are dogs allowed at Hestercombe House?” are common questions for visitors to this gorgeous corner of Somerset, and the answer is yes – your dog will be welcomed with open arms.

Through the gardens, pups can explore on the leash, sniffing out the soil and spotting fluttering butterflies. In Hestercombe House, Fido is free to join on the lead except for in the art gallery. Hestercombe’s shops, restaurant, and cafe will also invite your dog in, who will be sure to beg for a crumble of cake!

Why your dog will love it: Your dog will love the scent of the flowers around the gardens, as well as the smell of the dog-friendly cafe and restaurant.

Stay nearby: Oakfield, Taunton | sleeps 16 + 2 dogs

Somerset’s natural wonders

If the county’s range of national parks and sweeping beaches has left you wanting more, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the region boasts geological wonders where Fido can run wild as you marvel at what’s in front of you.

Cheddar Gorge

A road winding through Cheddar Gorge in Somerset on a sunny day, looking up at the giant limestone rocks

No doubt one of the most popular places for dog-friendly walks in Somerset, as well as a hot spot for adventure enthusiasts, the iconic landmark of Cheddar Gorge should be high on your Somerset to-do list.

Dramatic cliffs and towering rock formations have created a gorge that reaches 120 metres in depth, where clifftop walks offer incredible views and adventures through the gorge itself promise awe-inspiring views above.

If the natural splendour isn’t enough, then join Fido in discovering the 10,000 years of human history that makes Cheddar Gorge one of the oldest inhabited sites in Britain. For more history, take a tour of the 500,000-year-old Gough’s Cave, where well-behaved dogs are welcome to explore the mysterious chambers and other show caves that await.

Why your dog will love it: How many dogs get to explore ancient cave networks? Not many, so your dog will love the rock formations and hidden chambers that await.

Stay nearby: Pippin Cottage, Cheddar | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs 

Brean Down

Brean Down’s natural pier extending out into the Bristol Channel on a sunny day, with the tide out at the sandy beach below

Not as well known as Cheddar Gorge but just as historically significant, the natural pier, Roman temples, and Victorian fort at Brean Down offer a scenic and dramatic walk for humans and their furry friends.

The National Trust site’s headline act is the enormous natural pier that extends out into the Bristol Channel, offering stunning views across the water, countryside, and golden sands of dog-friendly Brean Beach below.    

Let your historic hound sniff the way as you discover the site’s ancient field systems and Roman temple, or perhaps the ruins of a Victorian fort that were built to defend the country against a possible Napoleonic invasion. To round off your visit, pause for a bite to eat or a cup of tea at Brean Down’s dog-friendly café.

Why your dog will love it: Vast, grassy and exposed, this is the perfect spot for Fido to enjoy the elements, as well as the dog-friendly beach at the peninsula's foot.

Stay nearby: Seaholm, Brean | sleeps 6 + 1 dog 

Map of dog-friendly walks in Somerset

To help you find our favourite places for dog-friendly walks in Somerset, explore our map below to find all things dog-friendly beaches, national parks and natural wonders.

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Dog-friendly holidays in Somerset

If you’re visiting Somerset as a treat for your outdoor-loving pooch, then why not ramp up your human and hound getaway by booking a night in one of our dog-friendly cottages? With spacious homes for large groups and bijou boltholes beckoning romantic weekends, there’s no better way to round off a dog walk than a cosy night in front of the wood burner.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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