Dog-friendly walks in County Durham holiday cottages


Dog-friendly walks in County Durham

Ellen Drowne 07 March 2024

There are many reasons why you should visit County Durham with your canine companion, not least the wonderful dog-friendly city of Durham and the fact the area is part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

With so much gorgeous countryside to explore, you may ask yourself, where are some of the best dog walks in County Durham? We’ve listed some of our favourites in this guide. They range in length and terrain, so there is something for every paw to enjoy.

Our dog-friendly holiday cottages provide the perfect base for your County Durham walks, so start planning that pawsome adventure today!

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Circular walks in County Durham

When it comes to dog-friendly walks, there is something very satisfying about ending up where you started off. Here are three of the best circular dog walks in County Durham.

Looking down on High Force Waterfall on a sunny day

High Force circular

One of our favourite County Durham circular walks has everything – including a waterfall! High Force, on the River Tees, is one of England’s most majestic waterfalls. It’s set within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so there is plenty of spectacular scenery to experience along the way. Set aside a couple of hours to appreciate the 4.5-mile open countryside, woodland and riverside route.

Why your dog will love it: There are sights, scents and sounds aplenty for your top dog to explore.

Croft-on-Tees circular

This lovely route is just over 1 mile long, so it's perfect for an afternoon stroll with your hound at your heels. Enjoy tranquil views as you meander along the River Tees and around the village. Along the way, you’ll pass the 12th-century Grade I-listed St Peter’s Church, which sits next to the river. The going is easy and relatively flat throughout.  

Why your dog will love it: This short but sweet walk has plenty of variety to keep tails wagging.

Weardale and St John’s Chapel circular

Starting and ending in Westgate, the Weardale and St John’s Chapel circular walk is great for exploring the surrounding farmland and idyllic countryside. Considered one of the more challenging dog walks in County Durham, it clocks in at around 6 miles. You’ll cross the River Wear and due to the rural nature of some stretches, be prepared for some mud at certain times of the year.

Why your dog will love it: There’s a chance for Fido to get his paws wet and enjoy a splash around in the river.

Riverside walks in County Durham

Wandering alongside a river, with the soothing sound of the water flowing past, is a wonderful way to pass some time. Here is our pick of riverside walks with dogs in County Durham.

View of Durham Cathedral from the river

Durham Riverside Walk

When visiting the beautiful city of Durham, we’d recommend setting aside some time to meander along the River Wear, which loops around the iconic cathedral and castle. There are many starting points, but Green Lane near Baths Bridge is a popular one. The best part of being at the heart of the city is you can work up an appetite before visiting one of Durham’s dog-friendly eateries.     

Why your dog will love it: Being in the city centre, this is a sociable walk where Fido will meet plenty of other dogs.

Barnard Castle and the River Tees

History hounds will go mutts for this enchanting 4-mile walk around Barnard Castle and up the River Tees. The charming market town took its name from the imposing fortress that stands watch over the area, and this circular walk allows you to experience the castle in all its glory. At the furthest point from the town, you’ll find the ruins of Egglestone Abbey – paws here for a picnic.   

Why your dog will love it: This is a very popular area for walking, so it’s a great opportunity to sniff out new friends!

Low Force

A pleasant, shorter walk along the River Tees, which takes you up to Low Force waterfall and back to your starting point at the public car park near the High Force Hotel. The waterfall, while less dramatic than its neighbour High Force, is still extremely photogenic. You can take a refreshing dip in the pools below – and no doubt Fido will want to get involved too.

Why your dog will love it: The sight and sound of the cascading water will fascinate your four-legged friend.  

Coastal walks in County Durham

Stunning cliff-top scenery, panoramic sea views and delightful countryside await you and your canine companion on these coastal walks in County Durham.

Blast Beach from the coast path

Seaham and Beacon Point via Durham Coastal Path

This circular 4-mile trail includes a picturesque stretch of the Durham Heritage Coast and starts and ends at the main parking area on Nose’s Point. As well as the cliff-edge path, you’ll find yourself venturing through enchanting woodland, where you’ll encounter a towering viaduct, and crossing open meadows. At one point, there’s the chance to visit Hawthorn Hive Beach, so this walk really does have it all.   

Why your dog will love it: The sheer variety of terrain will keep your furry friend bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Seaham and Hawthorn circular

Another walk to consider when in the Seaham area. An enticing mixture of beach, woodland and road walking make this an ideal prospect for a day out with the doggo. It’s around 8 miles long, so pack some water, snacks and dog treats! Start at Seaham Harbour and head along the coast before going inland, past Hawthorn Quarry and through Hawthorn Wood, then follow the road back to Seaham.

Why your dog will love it: Fido will have a blast on Blast Beach.

Durham Heritage Coast Walk

Sample even more of the Durham Heritage Coast on this 11-mile walk, starting in Seaham and ending in Crimdon. Landmarks along the way include Nose’s Point, Easington Colliery and Blackhall Rocks. It’s an idyllic route with far-reaching coastal views and a great way to get away from it all while spending time in nature. If you’re visiting during the summer months, keep an eye out for the Durham Argus butterfly.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a chance to stretch those legs and feel the sea breeze in their fur.

Woodland walks in County Durham

Walking through woodland is a magical experience, especially with your faithful hound at your side. Here are some suggestions for woodland dog walks in County Durham.

Happy dog on a leafy forest path

Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest is a top location for dog walking in County Durham. You’re not restricted to one route as there are several options across the 2,000-hectare site. Perhaps you have a window for a walk – why not try the 1.5-mile accessible riverside trail, with Gruffalo sculptures dotted along the way? Or how about the Three Becks walk? Stroll 4.5 miles through the woodland, which is particularly special during autumn.

Why your dog will love it: Whether it’s sniffing out sculptures or trotting through leaves on the forest floor, your dog will have a ball.

Low Burnhall

Low Burnhall is an enchanting woodland near the city of Durham and dogs are welcome. Maintained by the Woodland Trust, it’s one of our favourite places to walk dogs in County Durham. Build your own adventure by choosing one (or more) of the waymarked trails to follow. Wildlife lovers will be in their element, as the area is home to kestrels, tawny owls, otters and a range of butterflies.

Why your dog will love it: There is an open meadow for ball games, woodland for under-the-canopy walkies, and the site is bordered by the rivers Wear and Browney. Doggy heaven!

Dipton circular

This walk near Stanley takes you on a lovely loop from Dipton and into Pontburn and Pontop Woods. As well as the picturesque woodland, the route features fields and meadows. It’s very dog friendly and there is some splendid scenery to enjoy. One word of warning: it can get very muddy underfoot when it’s been raining, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.

Why your dog will love it: The terrain is varied enough to maintain your pup’s interest all the way around.

Dog-friendly stays in County Durham

We hope you’ve been inspired by our guide to some of the best walks with dogs in County Durham. Looking further afield? Then check out our guide to dog-friendly walks in North East and North West England.

After a fun day on the trail, nothing beats resting weary paws in the comfort of a holiday cottage. We have plenty of dog-friendly cottages in County Durham, so sniff out your perfect property by clicking the button below.

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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