The best dog walks in Devon holiday cottages


The best dog walks in Devon

Grab the lead and head out with your pup at your heels to discover Devon on two feet (or four paws!). This county has a wide range of natural spaces, from renowned coastline to excellent national parks, all ready and waiting for exploration.

The best dog walks can be quieter, flatter routes, offering the opportunity for old dogs to enjoy a gentle trip out in the fresh air of the West Country, or they can be challenging climbs and hikes ideal for playful young pups with endless energy and curiosity.  Whichever you choose, there's nothing like mixing up the dog-walking routine and discovering new places. At the end of the article, we’ve even included a map with the locations of the dog walks detailed here.

If you know that you and your canine companion want to be by the coast, then why not also take a look at our guide to Devon’s dog-friendly beaches for excellent seaside walkies; we also have a wonderful selection of dog-friendly escapes by the coast in Devon.

Discover the city of Plymouth, venture onto Dartmoor or let us introduce you to a hidden gem. Pick out your favourite walking route from our list and enjoy these top dog walks in Devon.

Plymouth dog walks

Plymouth city centre walk

City Centre Wildlife Trail

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: City canines who want to see the sights 

With doggo in tow, visit The Hoe, the Barbican and the city centre on this Plymouth wildlife trail.

It’s a short walk and a great way for old dogs to take in the sights of this port city, marvel at the architecture left over from its maritime heritage and wander the narrow, cobbled streets of the Barbican District on this route around the city. Ensure you and your canine companion do this walk on the first day of your holiday in Plymouth so you can get to know the best dog-friendly places to go, or explore this walk during a day trip from your country holiday cottage into the big city.

The Plym Valley Walk

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: 🐕🐕

Ideal for: Adventure-seekers who are only happy when on long walks 

Well-trodden by many paws, this Plym Valley circular route begins and ends at scenic Plym Bridge.

Let the pup explore a range of terrains on this trail that leads past a river, alongside a small disused canal and the old railway bed now a cycling track. Keep an eye out for wildlife while you wander, the pup may follow their nose and find old burrows hidden amongst the banks or sticks perfect for an impromptu game of fetch.

National Trust Buckland Abbey

Distance: Three footpaths vary in length from 1 to 3 miles

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Lazy dogs happy dawdling along a pretty trail

Let the pup venture into the grounds of Buckland Abbey to go sniffing out trails and exploring this expansive estate.

Although dogs aren’t allowed in the house and must be kept on leads while roaming the grounds, it’s still a scenic location for walks with dogs. Wander through fields where sheep graze and into woodland where the River Tavy runs at the bottom of the valley.

Newton Abbot dog walks

Newton Abbot parkland for dogs

Stover Country Park

Distance: Two options between 2 and 2.5 miles

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Explorers who believe they are Lassie but are more Snoopy

Enjoy one of two walks that lead you through woodland - great for waggy-tailed adventurers to get exploring - and past the river of this scenic country park. There are two walks offered: the first is just over 2 miles and will take you through part of the Poetry Trail and past a 19th-century gatehouse. The second is 2.5 miles and follows part of the Templar Way to the River Teign.

Hackney Marshes Local Nature Reserve

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Most doggos will enjoy this trail; old dogs can stick to the village while adventurers can sniff about the nature reserve

This top dog walking route takes you through the old part of Newton Abbot and through the scenic nature reserve.

Fantastic for both slow canines and energetic stick-chasers, this route leads you through the quieter scenic old town of Newton Abbot then down to the marshes where lively young pups can run about ‘til their heart’s content. Look out for birdlife in this wetland wildlife haven.

Decoy Park

Distance: Less than a mile around the lake

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Those looking for a short stroll and the chance to stretch their legs in a pretty landscape

Play fetch during your walk on the parkland that surrounds Decoy Lake.

Dogs will love running about on the open parkland: take the ball or frisbee for a game of fetch and allow the pup to race across the grass. Stroll around the lake for a short but delightful dog walk and pack a picnic for you and the canine companion so on a sunny day, you can find a patch of grass to relax and eat outside.

Take a look at our range of dog-friendly holiday cottages in South Devon to stay near one of these walks.

Dog walks on Dartmoor National Park

Dog at Dartmoor National Park

Tavy Cleave and Hare Tor Walk

Distance: 4.5 miles - can be extended to 9 miles

Difficulty: 🐕🐕🐕

Ideal for: Hikers ready for an expedition into what can be difficult terrain 

A Dartmoor dog walking route that will lead you through a rugged cleave in the landscape and across beautiful moorland.

Pass by a leat before walking through the cleave - these fantastic natural landmarks are what make Dartmoor top dog-walking territory! This steep-sided valley leads up and, after scrambling over the few boulders which can make this a tricky route, you’ll arrive at breathtaking views and the large tor of Ger Tor. Just check to make sure your dog can handle the climbs before you go.

The Middle Dart Valley Walk

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Chilled canines who'll enjoy a little country and coast

This walking trail for dogs in Devon is a great choice for winter explorers and canines on their holidays at Christmastime.

Start with a stroll through historic Totnes - by following this route you’ll end up in Dartmouth down by the sea. It’s a great one if you don’t want to get paws wet as it follows tarmacked paths thereby avoiding potentially waterlogged grass and moor, and takes you past a medieval hall and 20th-century architecture.

Fernworthy Reservoir and Fernworthy Forest


Difficulty: 🐕🐕

Ideal for: History buffs and their able canine companions 

Follow this dog walking route around beautiful Fernworthy Reservoir and through woodland on Dartmoor National Park.

A waterside path makes for relatively easy and flat walking terrain whilst the forest can provide more obstacles making it trickier for less able doggos and their human companions, especially during bad weather. Look out for birdlife and Dartmoor ponies who may decide to stop by the reservoir. The Bronze Age Fernworthy Stone Circle adds historic interest to the journey and breathtaking views are offered all around.

Stay on the doorstep of these wonderful walks in our dog-friendly Dartmoor cottages.

Dog walks on Exmoor National Park

Go dog walking at Exmoor National Park

Dunkery and Horner Wood circular walk

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: 🐕🐕🐕

Ideal for: The ever-curious mutt as there are scents to sniff out and trails to follow

Discover moorland, woodland and river on this scenic dog-friendly walk.

This route begins with a steady climb and along the way there are stony, potentially muddy steep climbs to contend with. It’s a wonderful route for dogs who love to explore and are interested in everything as there will be plenty of interesting smells to sniff out and sticks to fetch, which will keep even the most playful of pups well entertained.

Heddon's Mouth circular walk

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Those doggos who are content to be beside the sea 

Follow the River Heddon all the way down to its estuary on this beautiful dog walk.

The Heddon Valley is home to a fantastic array of wildlife and this dog-friendly walking route is a great way to venture out into nature on Exmoor. Head down to the dog-friendly cove of Heddon’s Mouth Beach where pups can splash in the sea and leave pawprints on the sand.

Lynton and the Valley of Rocks

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: 🐕🐕

Ideal for: Smart pups who'll stick close to their owner and enjoy surveying expansive views

A dramatic coastal walk with breathtaking scenery leading past steep cliffs so best for dogs on leads.

An incredibly beautiful route with views of the Bristol Channel all the way, it’s a great place for dog walking and one of the most popular places to explore on Exmoor. Patches of woodland and open grassland can be found here where your pup can enjoy a little time off the leash to wander where they please. 

Sniff out all of the excellent walks Exmoor has to offer from our dog-friendly Exmoor cottages.

Dog walking the Tarka Trail

Walk the dog on the Tarka Trail

Distance: Anything up to 180 miles!

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Any and all breeds can enjoy a wander along part of this expansive trail - pick whichever stretch suits you!

The entire Tarka Trail route is great for walking and cycling, having been tarmacked for a really easy, paw-friendly walking trail. It passes through forests and nature reserves, and along the dramatic North Devon Coast.

Our favourite section of the path will take you from Fremington Quay to Barnstaple, 3 miles. Parts are relatively sheltered by trees and the surfaced path means it’s a great option when the ground's wet as you can avoid getting paws muddy!  

Browse our dog-friendly holiday cottages in North Devon and make sure you stay close to the Tarka Trail.

Scenic forest dog walks in Devon

Forest dog walks

Haldon Forest Park near Exeter, South Devon

Distance: Varies from 2.5 to 4.5 miles

Difficulty: 🐕🐕

Ideal for: Again this choice has an option for any pup - from the adventurous to the mellow 

With five different trails to choose from at Haldon Forest Park, you and your playful pup will be completely spoilt! Ranging from the moderate Butterfly Trail, which goes through a butterfly conservation area, to the difficult Trees Trail through woodland and up steep slopes.

Powler's Piece near Holsworthy, North Devon

Distance: Varies - you have up to 100 acres of woodland to roam

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Youngsters as there's miles of space to race around, just ensure you can call them back again!

The huge woodland of Powler’s Piece is a wonderful place to explore but it’s little known – we reckon it’s one of the largest hidden gems you can find in North Devon. Let your pup run free in this intriguing woodland - just don’t let them get lost as the size of this landscape means you may never find them again! Perfect for a peaceful stroll in an atmospheric landscape.

Eggesford Forest in Mid Devon

Distance: Varies

Difficulty: 🐕

Ideal for: Quiet canines will enjoy a stroll through this scenic woodland 

A short but scenic trail, Eggesford Forest is a lovely place for walking the dog with a network of different trails and a picnic area where you can enjoy a well-deserved picnic and break from exploring.

Below you'll find a map of all the trails we’ve covered in this post. Figure out where you’d like to stay and which of these wonderful dog walks is closest to your dog-friendly holiday cottage.

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Take your four-pawed friend on a country walkies or coastal stroll or let him take the lead when exploring the scenic forests throughout Devon. We have a fantastic selection of holiday homes that welcome furry explorers on a trip to the South West.

Sniff out the ideal dog-friendly cottage in Devon so you and your pup can begin walking this beautiful county. 

Return to our dog-friendly Devon guide to discover what else this charming county has to offer you and your pet. 

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.

The best dog-friendly cottages in Dorset
Ed Roberts 12 April 2024
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