Yorkshire, the largest county in England, split into three history subdivisions, also known as ridings, the North Riding of Yorkshire, West Riding of Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire. Throughout this county, there’s a vast amount of unspoiled countryside (and a few beaches) perfect for walking your dog.
Exercise is a necessity for dogs, some dogs need more than others, it not only keeps them in shape but also helps massively with their mental health. Give your dog the opportunity to go out and be a dog, sniffing and exploring the world.
There are a few things to keep in mind while on one of these amazing dog walks around Yorkshire. When around livestock make sure to keep your dog on a lead and, more generally, make sure they’re kept on a lead where appropriate, for example, around hazards such as traffic, sharp or swallow-able litter and small children.
Be considerate when out on walks, always pick up your pups’ poo, pick up your litter and as a general rule of thumb, leave the walk area how you found it. And of course, make sure you bring plenty of food and water for both you and your pooch (you might be out for longer than you think).
With that being said, treat you and your pup to an incredible day of exploring and walking! Let’s go on an adventure around Yorkshire to some of these amazing places ideal for dog walks.
Robin Hood’s Bay
Part of the Heritage Coast of the North York Moors, Robin Hood’s Bay is a picturesque old fishing village that you absolutely must visit. Just south of Whitby, the village is largely untouched and is exceptionally dog-friendly.
Their sandy beach is completely dog-friendly and features a beautiful three-mile walk from the car park, with the option to go the sandy beach route or head on up to the cliff tops for a more aerial view. Or, go for a wander through its twisting, narrow, streets and alleyways that have been used for hundreds of years by sailors and fishermen alike.
Don’t worry if you’d need to stay overnight, as there’s a wide range of high-quality accommodation in and around the village alongside some quaint cafes, pubs, restaurants and small shops.
Another amazing North Yorkshire village, Runswick Bay is situated at the top of a scenic sweeping sandy bay and is known for its stunning coastal walks, fossil hunting and breathtaking sea views. It’s beach, voted one of the top 5 best beaches in the UK by the Guardian, is an incredible dog-friendly walk where you can soak up those extraordinary sea views starting as soon as you leave the car park and don’t stop until you’re back in the car!
Kettleness Point is the perfect spot to admire the view and is a great place to turn back if you or your pooch is getting a little tired if you’re feeling adventurous continue along the sand and onto the rocks.
The 1.2-mile bay provides plenty of room for your dog to run around, play fetch and even have a dip in the sea if it’s not too cold! Note, if they tend to do this take a towel with you so you don’t have a wet dog getting in the car. The red-roofed cottages and golden beach make Runswick Bay a picturesque village that is a must to visit. If you’re travelling from far away, we recommend checking out The Royal Hotel which has some beautiful sea views, lovely food and is dog-friendly.
Hard Castle Craggs
The closest dog walk to the Pure Pet Food offices, Hard Castle Craggs is a stunning wooded valley with a gorgeous 19th-century mill at its heart. The 400 acres of unspoilt woodland in the chic area of Hebden Bridge features some glorious waterfalls and tumbling streams with 15 miles of footpaths. Enough to tire out any dog!
At the centre of Hard Castle Craggs is their mill, Gibson Mill, which features a wonderful café, serving ethical and locally produced food, and has exhibitions on throughout the year. The mill is 100% self-sufficient and is a great place to take the kids.
Dogs are welcome in both the café and mill as well as throughout the site. And if you’re looking for somewhere to go after a nice walk head on down to Hebden Bridge, a beautiful town full of artists that is known locally as a cool relaxing getaway (and ranked as the 4th funkiest town in the world).
Wessenden Valley Circular
On the West Riding of Yorkshire border sits the Wessenden Valley. A circular route which takes you along a breathtaking moor landscape with picturesque views in all directions.
This Peak District walk starts near the village of Marsden, a quaint village with a rich industrial heritage and packed full of wonderful canal walks and National Trust sites. There’s plenty of dog-friendly pubs around Marsden, if you’re looking for a place to chill out after a nice long walk, we’d recommend checking out The New Inn.
As well as all the moorland and canals there are six huge reservoirs dotted around Marsden and the surrounding area; Black Moss, Blakeley, Butterley, Redbrook, Swellands and Wessenden. Perfect for taking the dog out to have a run-around. One thing you can’t miss when walking around this area is the Wessenden Waterfall, a beautiful mix of greenery with the blue of the water peeking through.
Staithes and Port Mulgrave
Staithes and Port Mulgrave is an atmospheric old fishing village with beautiful harbourside cottages, winding alleys and cobbled streets. A typically picturesque English coastal village. Take a walk along the quiet lanes, through fields and along the cliffs with your pooch. The quiet scenic village and surrounding areas have plenty of places you can let your dog off the lead and have a run-around. Make sure if you’re on the clifftop to keep your dog on a short lead as there is a steep drop.
There are plenty of dog-friendly pubs dotted around the village and there are a plethora of walks that range in length. Staithes has a rich history with James Cook (Captain Cook) working in Staithes as a grocer’s apprentice which is credited as being where he first gained his passion for the sea. As well as this the fishing village has seen a revitalisation of its fishing industry with many fishermen using the traditional cobles boats and fishing cabins along the shore.
The Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton, Knaresborough
This walk, which starts in Knaresborough, features some great places to let your pup off the lead (loads of grassy paths and cycle tracks) and even have a little swim in the quieter parts of the River Nidd. Knaresborough on its own is a gorgeous town with multiple different dog-friendly establishments that you can pop in and out of, historic castle remains and incredible views of the River Nidd valley and viaduct.
So, kill two birds with one stone, check out a stunning part of Yorkshire and go for an amazing walk in the tranquil setting of Nidd Gorge and Old Bilton. This truly is a hidden gem that is often missed when people visit Knaresborough. While you’re in the area you should check out Mother Shipton's Cave too, a hugely popular attraction in Knaresborough and is dubbed as England’s oldest tourist attraction, opening in 1630.
Graves Park Sheffield
Sheffield’s largest park is the perfect destination for a dog-friendly day out with acres (206 acres total land) of open space for dogs to run around. The park is a mix of open fields and woodland with some beautiful streams flowing through.
Graves Park also includes a beautifully quaint café, the Rose Garden Café which welcomes dog walkers and families with both outdoor and indoor seating that’s perfect for having a quick stop off at.
The historic market town of Otley in the Wharfe Valley features the Chevin, a popular dog-walking spot. The Chevin has some spectacular views with plenty of luscious woodland and heathland. The highest point of the Chevin is Surprise View which reaches 282 metres and has some incredible views of Otley and Wharfedale.
With over 180 hectares of mixed woodland, moorland, grassland and rocky craggs this is definitely a walk you need to go on. Within the town, there are a few dog-friendly places to eat including Bloomfield Square and Salami & Co, and if you’re looking to stay over the Chevin Lodge is definitely a place you should check out.
Rivelin Valley Nature Trail
One of the favourites for Sheffield based dog walkers, the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail is a flat route which includes some lovely woodland and rivers that are great for a little doggy paddle. Situated between Sheffield and the Peak District there are plenty of places to let your dog roam free and enjoy the countryside.
Take pleasure in sniffing out the hidden gems along the way with Rivelin Valley Nature Trail’s waterfalls, dams, and weirs. If you conquer the nature trail you can always extend your walk a little by heading over to the Rivelin Dams which also leads into the Wyming Brook Nature Reserve. A walk that you won’t fur-get any time soon and a must on any avid dog walkers list!
Penhill, West Witton
Penhill, one of Wensleydale’s finest hills is a stunning walk from West Witton and throughout the circular walk, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the famous Wensleydale. Take your pup across public footpaths and bridleways and summit this easily-climbable hill. Even though this hill isn’t very high, it’s position near the mouth of Wensleydale makes it visible from the North York Moors right across the Vale of York and through the dale.
Make sure to visit the cairn which marks the end of the ridge at Penhill. This hill brings a lot of history to the table too, with it being one of a string of strategic points where beacons were placed to warn of danger such as the Spanish Armada or a rabble of Scots. Somewhere to visit that is truly dog-friendly in West Witton is The Wensleydale Heifer Restaurant who’s staff absolutely love dogs.
If you’re only going to visit one of the places on this list, this is the one. Aysgarth falls include a number of small waterfalls which create beautiful dramatic scenery and are part of the River Ure. These waterfalls have been a tourist attraction for over 200 years and were featured in the Hollywood movie, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
You can easily spend a whole day getting lost in the scenery and different paths throughout the village and surrounding areas. These paths are also designed for prams and wheelchairs.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out the James Herriot Way which is an 80km trail around the surrounding villages. This is another breathtakingly good route which spoils you with stunning scenery.
Hawes is known as the birthplace for Wensleydale cheese and is a wonderful place to go for a dog walk. The charming market town is situated nearby the largest single drop waterfall in the UK, Hardrow Falls. Controlled dogs are welcome at the falls so a nice little dip in the water could be in order.
If you’re looking to go for a day trip I’d recommend going on a Tuesday when the town's market is on and you’ll be able to pick up some delicious Wensleydale cheese (keep in mind, if your dog has pancreatitis, cheese has a lot of fat in it so isn’t recommended as a treat). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous you can take a look at walks around Buttertub and Fleet Moss, Hawes’ name means a ‘pass between mountains’; Buttertub and Fleet Moss are those mountains.
For the city folk, River Ouse is a great option, set in York city centre you can walk up and down the River Ouse and take in a wonderful urban setting. Wide paths allow for easy dog walking and even the potential to be let off the lead. The river is a continuation of the River Ure and is a great way to see the historic city of York.
If you’re a while away from York it’s 100% worth the trip, the city has been voted the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, has plenty of world-class museums, a thriving cultural scene and a fascinating historical past. Take a trip around the ancient city walls and take in the medieval city of York.
Situated in the North Yorkshire Moors, this 6-mile circular route is a forest trail and have some amazing deep woodland scenery. Quiet lanes, forest tracks and paths with a couple of steep ascents and descents (not too many) are all things you’ll find on this dog walk trail. You will be able to let your dog off the lead throughout the Forestry England woods, just make sure they’re under control.
The North Yorkshire Moors railway slices through the countryside at Newtondale carving its path through the greenery and woodland, which creates an absolutely breath-taking scene. This railway is now the most popular heritage railway line in the country with steam trains once again running all the way through to Whitby. The close-by Levisham Station has been restored to look exactly like it did in 1912, a great day visit to turn back time.
Leeds and Liverpool Canal
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal links Leeds and Liverpool and is a huge 127-mile canal crossing the Pennines and includes 91 locks across the mainline. Hop on and off this amazing stretch of countryside and visit places such as Apperbly Bridge or the Five-Rise Locks in Bingley. This is the idyllic setting for a stroll with the dogs.
Have a wonderful, relaxing, wildlife-watching walk along a historic route that has a story between each lock. This stretch of canal is also the longest canal in Britain built as a single waterway with thousands of visitors every year. If you’re looking for a more built-up place to experience the canal check out Saltaire, a beautiful Victorian model village that is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
A city-centre retreat, Roundhay Park is loved by locals and visitors alike, it’s the winner of Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Best Public Park’ award. Known as one of the biggest city parks in Europe there’s 700 acres of parkland, woodland, lakes and gardens with nearly a million people visiting each year. There’s plenty of free parking and loads of space for the dogs to have a run-around, play fetch and enjoy the outdoors.
While at the park make sure to check out the Roundhay Castle which was used as a summerhouse, Barran’s Fountain a grade II listed drinking fountain and the absolutely gorgeous Upper Lake that leads down in the Waterloo Lake.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a must-visit for anyone, dog or not. It’s the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture and has been around since 1977. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park mounts a world-class, year-round temporary exhibitions programme including some of the world’s leading artists across five indoor galleries and the open air.
This dog walk is a little different to the others we’ve suggested here, this one’s more geared towards the humans rather than the dogs. This is because there are a few restrictions from the people at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. While there you must keep your dog on a short lead at all times, you can’t go into the indoor spaces with your dog and to protect livestock and wildlife dogs aren’t allowed around Upper Lake or Menagerie Wood, as well as the obvious, clean up after your dog.
Entry to the sculpture park is free however you will need to pay for parking (£12 all day or £6.50 for 1-2 hours). There is outdoor seating for the café too which will make sure you can have a nice leisurely walk around the sculpture park, see some wonderful art and then have a little sit-down and a snack afterwards.