15 Heavenly dog walks in Hertfordshire

Dog walks
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Hertfordshire’s name derives from “Hart” (stag) and “ford”, which explains the county flag of a deer and waves. This medieval agricultural county remains largely undeveloped and rural to this day, meaning it is an area abundant with wonderful countryside walks and plenty of opportunities for you and your pup to enjoy the great outdoors together.

Being another of the home counties, Hertfordshire benefits from good transport links and is a popular nearby country escape for anyone living in London.

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The beautiful surroundings here are a paradise for people and pets alike, and we’ve found 15 of the best dog walks in Hertfordshire for you and your pup to enjoy.

Country & country park walks

Bishop’s Stortford

This country park really does have something for all the family, and despite being flat parkland, will certainly prove one of your more entertaining dog walks in Hertfordshire. Not only is there a children’s play area with great play equipment, but there’s also a lake (for fishing or admiring), picnic space, maze, and even doggy play equipment.

You could easily spend all your time just leading your pooch through the agility exercises and tiring them out, or simply use it to burn off extra energy before a relaxing walk around the park.

There are plenty of wildlife-friendly spaces - grassland, wetland and woods - to enjoy a stroll through and admire the many plants and animals that call this huge park home. The habitats include streams, perfect for your pup to splash around in to cool off after their race around the agility course. There are various paths you can take, including the green “parks and beyond” route, which takes you around the park and surrounding countryside.

  • Walk Length: <5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Park entrance

  • Terrain: Flat, parkland, fields, grassland, wetland, woods

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Southern Country Park, Thorley Lane East, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 4BH

More information: Walkiees, Hertfordshire Life, East Herts


This circular walk will take you and your pooch through the best of the Herts countryside, and over the Buckinghamshire border before returning to where you began in Sarratt.

Part of this walk is inside the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so you can be sure that you will be surrounded by beautiful landscapes and open country, which your dog will probably enjoy running through rather than admiring. They might also take a paddle in the chalk stream or river along this route, which would be a welcome cool dip on a warm day.

Walking through the tranquil Chess Valley, you’ll be struck by the beauty and peace of the area. In spring and summer, there’s an abundance of flowers and butterflies, and you’ll hear grasshoppers all around you and you will be truly transported on this country retreat.

At the end of your walk, you can pay a visit to The Boot, a traditional English country pub where you and your furry friend will be warmly welcomed. You will pass both pubs in Starratt and another at Church End on your walk.

  • Walk Length: 6.4km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Sarratt village green

  • Terrain: Paths, slopes, fields, trails

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Green, Sarratt, Rickmansworth, WD3 6AS

More information: Hertfordshire Life, Sarratt Village

Radwell Meadows

One of the most popular places to venture for dog walks in Herts is Radwell Meadows. The country park offers both open fields and charming woodland for you to walk in, whilst the flat ground and surfaced paths make this an accessible walk for everyone to be able to enjoy with their pup.

The park offers lush expanses of green meadows, rich woodland, and ornamental planting. Grazing is important to maintain the natural beauty of the land, so keep an eye out for livestock in some of the adjacent fields, but there shouldn’t be any problems having any close encounters.

You’re near the village of Norton, where you can stop for local facilities should you need them. We recommend a trip to the Three Horseshoes, a delightful pub with good food and a lovely atmosphere.

  • Walk Length: 8km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Radwell Meadows Country Park car park

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, fields, woodland

  • Free Parking: Restrictions vary - Check signs

  • Address: Norton Bury Lane, Letchworth Garden City, Baldock, SG6 1AN

More information: Ramblers, Walkiees

Therfield Heath

Therfield Heath is a haven for walkers and nature lovers or anyone who wants to venture into the great outdoors. The open fields here are particularly popular with horse riders and dog walkers, who enjoy visiting the area with their animal companions for exercising together in the gorgeous countryside. When you think of British countryside, you probably imagine something like Therfield Heath.

The heath is made up of chalk escarpment, making the landscape quite rare, and means there’s plenty of beautiful wildflowers in the spring and summer. You could pass the several bronze age and neolithic barrows on your stroll through the countryside here, or give yourself a bit of a climb by venturing up Therfield Hill. The height of the heath means you have amazing panoramic views of the fields and hills which are a huge draw for walkers.

There’s a cafe on the heath, as well as a golf course. You can find a good meal in The Bull Inn in Royston, where your pup can join you to rest and refuel after your walk.

  • Walk Length: 10.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Sports centre car park

  • Terrain: Even, Flat, Hills, Fields, Heathland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Baldock Road, Letchworth, SG6 2ER

More information: Walking Britain, Wikipedia

Hemel Hempstead circular

You don’t need to drive to enjoy this popular circular walk starting from Hemel Hempstead station. Despite starting in the town, this walk is very rural and a pleasant stroll through the open countryside of Herts.

The landscape is gentle, making for easy walking, and you can enjoy exploring the Chilterns as well as a brief stretch along the canal, and a walk through the woods. If you’re lucky, you may even glimpse some of the rare breed cattle and sheep used to graze the land in this area. (As always, keep your dog under control near livestock.)

This is a great choice of dog walk in Hertfordshire not only due to its accessibility and ease of walk, but you will also never stray too far from civilisation, facilities and refreshments with plenty of opportunities along the route to rest. At the start, you can visit The Red Lion or The White Lion in Hemel Hempstead. At the halfway point in Bovingdon, we suggest stopping by The Bell Inn and letting your pup have a treat from the bar.

  • Walk Length: 10.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Hemel Hempstead station or Bovingdon Church

  • Terrain: Even, flat, paths, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes (in Bovingdon)

  • Address: London Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9QD

More information: Walking Britain

Cassiobury park

This green flag awarded park has been voted one of the best in the UK, and it’s easy to see why with the amount there is to do here. Not only is it a green haven, but a hub of activity. If you have kids, this is definitely a destination for you as they can enjoy the play parks, paddling pools, splash pools, miniature railway and more.

Meanwhile, for those seeking a quieter stroll, there are many splendid walks to be found here over fields, beside the canal, and through the areas of the nature reserve that can be found in the park. The amount of open green space can seem surprising since the park begins in the town centre, but your pup certainly won’t complain. Should you fancy a longer walk with your pup, you can walk straight into the adjacent Whippendell Woods.

Being such a large park, there’s no shortage of amenities, including two delightful cafes. Otherwise, as mentioned, you’re only a stone’s throw from Watford.

  • Walk Length: As long or short as you like

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Even, flat, paths, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Cassiobury car park, Gade Avenue, Watford, WD18 7LG

More information: Cassiobury Park

Ashridge estate

The stunning stately home is worth visiting to see, but it also happens to be a great op-paw-tunity for a grand day out with your pooch.

Set in the Chilterns AONB, the landscape here is exceptionally beautiful and varied. You can explore the chalk downland or ancient forest, or simply stay in the parkland near the house. If you and your pup have strong legs and feel adventurous, you can even cross the county border to climb Ivinghoe Beacon in Bedfordshire.

There are miles of footpaths to explore, picnic spots, and even an area where you can BBQ. The Brownlow cafe on site is outdoor seating only, but it does mean even your pup can join you for a cooked breakfast before your dog walk in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside.

  • Walk Length: Various

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Even, flat, paths, bridleways, fields, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1LT

More information: National Trust

Woodland walks

Heartwood forest

Heartwood Forest is as exquisite to visit as it’s charming name would suggest. The patch of ancient woodland here has since been expanded as volunteers planted half a million trees in the surrounding area to create England’s largest uninterrupted woodland.

With so much space there’s no shortage of places to walk and explore between the ancient woodland, young woods, and wildflower meadows. The grassland and meadows are peppered with flowers in spring and summer and beautiful to admire while your pup races around the open space. Meanwhile, in the woods, wildlife is thriving, and your pooch will be entertained with following their scents and trails amidst the trees.

There are picnic spots in the forest, but for toilets and refreshments, you will need to travel into the nearby village of Sandridge. You could buy some provisions from the village store for a picnic in the woods, or else stop back here after your walk for a trip to the local pubs.

  • Walk Length: 2.4km to 4.3km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Paths, tracks, flat, even, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, St Albans, AL4 9DQ

More information: Woodland Trust

Broxbourne woods

In the heart of this forest lies a sculpture trail, an easy access walk that takes a leisurely 1km circuit with delightful sculptures, mostly carved from oak, that line the route and tell the story of the history and wildlife of the area. For example, if you find the right spot on the bridge, you might glimpse the magnificent metal stag amidst the trees. Or as you pass close to Ermine Street, the Roman road between London and York, you’ll find a life-size Roman soldier keeping a close eye on the area.

The sculpture trail is far from the only waymarked path through these woods, and you and your pup can return several times over to investigate the several walks here. The seasons also shape the woods, making visits varied throughout the year.

If you’re feeling especially lively, you can head onto the long NNR trail for a 17.5km trek around the reserve and forest. The nearest place for refreshments where your dog can join you is at the Coach and Horses pub.

  • Walk Length: 1km to 17.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: East or west car park

  • Terrain: Paths, tracks, flat, even, slopes, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: 239 Tendring Road, Harlow, CM18 6XU

More information: Hertfordshire Life, Hertfordshire

Carpenters wood

Actually made up of three different woods, Carpenters Wood is an expanse of ancient woodland that can be found within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the border with Berkshire. With these sorts of credentials, you can be sure it will make a truly enchanting dog walk in the Hertfordshire woods. Should you visit in spring, you’ll be treated to a mesmerising carpet of bluebells.

This beautiful beech woodland is especially memorable in summer when the vibrant green canopy closes overhead to create a tranquil natural cavern where you and your pooch can walk between the trees in the gorgeous dappled sunlight.

The trees are well-spaced too, so you can be sure your pup will enjoy a long off-lead adventure with plenty of space to run. The trees thin even more to reveal several old quarries and glades. This is very much the picturesque forest walk you’d envision in the English countryside.

The woods are unspoiled and save a few oak benches, you won’t find much in the way of facilities. You are only a short walk from Chorleywood, where you can find local shops and several dog-friendly pubs. The Rose and Crown is regularly frequented by dog walkers for lunch after a stroll in the woods. You’re also close to the train station, so you can explore this enchanting woodland without having to drive.

  • Walk Length: 5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Whitelands Avenue entrance

  • Terrain: Flat, uneven, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Whitelands Avenue, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, WD3 5RH

More information: Carpenters Wood

Mardley Heath

Mardley Heath is a firm favourite for dog walks in Hertfordshire, and it’s easy to see why once you visit. It’s a splendid area of woodland, and walks are typically quiet off-lead affairs where your pup can run around and sniff everything at their leisure while you stroll along with them by old gravel workings and majestic hornbeams.

If you can find it, there’s a wonderful old tree with exposed roots that forms a small cavern, it’s a great place to stop for a picture and it's frequently used by children as a natural climbing frame.

The beauty of this walk is its simplicity. It’s simply a delightful walk through an area of rich woodland. The paths are often slightly hidden, or you can ignore them altogether, and roam freely between the trees. If you would like a longer walk, you can start the Welwyn North East Loop from here.

  • Walk Length: km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Slopes, uneven, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: 11 Heath Road, Welwyn, AL6 0TP

More information: Woodland Trust, Hertfordshire

Waterside walks

Grand Union canal

Running all the way from London to Birmingham is the Grand Union Canal and it's many miles of towpath. You could take a walk anywhere along its route, but we suggest this circular route that starts and ends in Rickmansworth.

There is an alternative start to this route from the train station, making this an accessible walk for those who can’t drive. There’s a mix of activity and settings here, from tranquil towpaths with narrowboats, to beautiful riversides overlooked by trees, calm lakes, or the busier area near the aquadrome where people will be out enjoying watersports. You and your pup are sure to enjoy this varied waterside dog walk in Herts.

If you need to refuel, there is a cafe in the aquadrome. Or, close by in the edge of town, and on the way back to the station, you’ll find The White Bear. This handsome timber-fronted pub is “and always will be a dog-friendly pub”, making it the perfect pit-stop after a walk with your pooch.

  • Walk Length: 5.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Rickmansworth aquadrome

  • Terrain: Flat, paths, trails

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Three Rivers House, Northway, Rickmansworth, WD3 1RL

More information: Canal River Trust, All Trails

River Ver

There are several rivers running through the county, meaning there is no shortage of picturesque riverside dog walks in Hertfordshire, and a good place to start is this route along the lovely Ver. It’s not a long or strenuous walk, so you could easily turn around and use it as a there-and-back walk.

Otherwise, you simply hop on the train to return to the start. There are several other circular walks that begin from this route, so you could combine one of those with this to extend your riverside stroll with your pup.

At the end of this walk, you can take a short detour to see the magnificent St Albans cathedral. Otherwise, we recommend a visit to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, Britain’s oldest pub. You and your pup can sit for a deep drink after your waterside walk.

  • Walk Length: 4.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Park Street station

  • Terrain: Flat, paths, trails

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Park Street, St Albans, AL2 2PA

More information: Hertfordshire

River Lea

This little loop of a walk gives your pup the opportunity to run through open fields before you both take a relaxing stroll alongside the River Lea where it passes near Hatfield. This short walk gives you and your pup more than enough time and distance to sufficiently stretch your legs while taking in a hidden gem of a dog walk in Herts.

You start and end this circular walk at The Candlesticks, a wonderful country pub where you and your pooch will be more than welcome. If you visit them, you’re welcome to park there while you walk, otherwise, you can find somewhere to park further down the lane.

It also means you’re never too far from facilities and good food, and we suggest stopping here for a hearty lunch and local ale before you and your canine companion venture on.

  • Walk Length: 5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: The Candlesticks Pub

  • Terrain: Flat, bridleways, paths

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Candlestick, West End Lane, Essendon, AL9 6BA

Hill walks

Hexton & Lilley Hoo

This area in the North of the Chilterns is less visited than other sections but no less beautiful. This walk takes you over some of the hills here, including the wonderfully named Lilley Hoo. You and your dog are sure to love the wide-open spaces, expanses of countryside, and fresh air on a bracing walk over the hillsides.

None of the hills are strenuously high, but still offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside. With lots of off-lead time and plenty of exercise, this is one of the more bracing dog walks in Hertfordshire that your pup is sure to love as much as you. Just be aware it is a very long walk, so have all your gear and be sure you and your dog both have the stamina.

As you pass through Lilley you can stop to refuel at the Lilley Arms, a welcoming and friendly pub that welcomes dogs as much as people. They’re walker-friendly and you can park and start the walk here instead if you’d prefer.

  • Walk Length: 21km

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Starting Point: Hexton

  • Terrain: Hills, trails, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Higham Gobion Road, Hexton, Bedfordshire, SG5 3JB

More information: Walking Britain

More information about Hertfordshire: Wikipedia, Visit Herts

More dog walks: Suffolk, Wiltshire, Bedfordshire