15 Serene dog walks in Staffordshire

Dog walks
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Right in the heart of Britain is Staffordshire. This landlocked area borders seven other counties and is home to both thriving industry and beautiful countryside. One of the area’s biggest claims to fame is Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries there, and the city stands as the ceramics capital of the world and has won global renown.

This industrial fame means the county is often overlooked as a place to visit for rural walking and countryside retreats, yet it has some of the most varied and exceptional scenery in the country. From gritstone crags and rugged grassland of the Peak District, the expansive ancient heathland of Cannock Chase, to the beginnings of the National Forest, there is a great deal of beauty to find here too.

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Taking a dog walk in Staffordshire is the perfect chance to discover more about the history of the county, or visit some of these breath-taking landscapes for yourself.

Country & country park walks

The Tolkien trail

For literature fans, the Tolkien Trail over Cannock Chase is the perfect excuse to visit the beautiful landscape that helped to inspire the world-famous author. There are many places throughout the country that Tolkien drew inspiration from, but Cannock Chase held special significance as he was posted here during the first world war, convalesced here, and lived here for a period.

Due to its importance in the Great War, these are also excellent walks for anyone interested in military history.

There are three circular walks to choose from, and the routes can be easily adapted to suit your ability and interests. You and your pooch can enjoy hours exploring expanses of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and visiting a few locations immortalised forever in Middle Earth.

Just remember to pack a picnic, as there are few facilities. Although there are toilets and a Cafe on the far side of the chase towards Rugeley. If you didn’t start your walk in Penkridge, it’s only a short drive, and you can drop by the lovely Littleton Arms with your pooch to rest and refuel after your walk.

  • Walk Length: 16km or 19.3km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Coppice Hill car park or Penkridge Library

  • Terrain: Heathland, trails, flat, slopes, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Brocton, Rugeley, WS15 2UA

More information: .Gov

Kinver edge

There are miles of trails and a variety of habitats to explore at Kinver Edge. This route, the Rock House Trail, is one of the longer waymarked paths and takes in the best that the Edge has to offer. You and your pup will explore enchanting woodland, pretty heath, ancient hill forts, as well as the rock houses that made this area famous. These houses were the last cave dwellings occupied in Britain.

Your dog can roam freely on most of the paths here, but this is a sensitive wildlife habitat. If there are signs about ground-nesting birds or grazing livestock, please pop your pooch back on the lead.

Your pup is welcome to a water bowl and to wait in the gardens as you visit inside the restored rock houses. There is also a tea room, but dogs must remain outside. For a snack with your pup, there are picnic areas, but you can also visit the nearby Plough and Harrow for good pub grub.

  • Walk Length: 4.8km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Compton Road layby

  • Terrain: Trails, heathland, woodland, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Rock Houses, Compton Road, Kinver, DY7 6DL

More information: National Trust, Wikipedia

Deep Hayes country park

This large park has a mixture of woodland and meadows that you and your pup will love to explore together, and with miles of trails to follow, you could spend hours on end following your noses through the gorgeous surroundings.

It’s the perfect spot to return to for several dog walks in Staffordshire. To make this even more exciting for your pup, there’s a lot of water around and they can have a paddle in one of the several pools.

After hours of off-lead walking, if you and your pooch fancy extending your outdoor adventure, you could take a trip along the Caldon Canal towpath. This route is a fairly long 6 miles, taking in the best the park has to offer, but can easily be broken into a pair of circular walks. If you venture by the canal you’ll find the nearby Hollybush Inn, the perfect pit stop for you and your pup.

  • Walk Length: 9.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Trails, woodland, grassland, flat, uneven

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Park Lane, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 7JS

More information: Woodland Trust, GPS Routes

Fauld Crater

This short walk will take you around the site of the largest non-nuclear explosion in the world. The huge crater was caused by a military accident, with dozens killed and many more injured. The base remains off-limits to urban explorers due to the threat of unexploded bombs.

But, walkers can venture through the woodlands and around the site that serves as a stark reminder of the catastrophic, accidental devastation that took place here. Nature is making a valiant effort to reclaim the area, which we think only makes it all the eerier.

The route will take you up to the crater, the fence still strewn with warning signs. The crater itself is a size and depth that’s difficult to imagine until you see it, and is all the more poignant as you pass the memorial further along your walk.

As you have parked at the pub, be sure to pop in as a patron before or after your walk. It makes for a convenient pit-stop to rest and refresh you and your pup.

  • Walk Length: 2.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: The Cock Inn

  • Terrain: Trails, woodland, uneven

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Cock Inn, Hanbury Hill, Hanbury, DE13 8TD

More information: Wikipedia

The Trentham estate

Whether you fancy a tranquil waterside stroll, an amble through pretty gardens, or a wilder woodland walk, you’ll find them all at the Trentham Estate for a paw-some day out. Whilst enjoying the gardens and estate, dogs must stay on their leads. But, there is now a dedicated off-lead area to the North that pups can visit for a run-around untethered.

Given the variety of walks you could take here amongst all manner of surroundings, it’s no wonder it’s so popular for dog walks in Staffordshire. The new fairy trail is an especially interesting walk, where you and your family will have to keep your eyes peeled to spot the delightful sculptures of fair folk all around the lake.

If you don’t fancy paying the entry fee for the gardens, there are free access points to the woodland. There’s a doggy wash at the shopping village to clean up any mucky pups after your walk.

Plus, Cadwalders cafe allows dogs inside and out. Otherwise, there are four other eateries with outside areas where your pooch is welcome to join you. If you feel your furry friend needs some extra spoiling, pop into Doggie Fashions. It not only has some stylish gifts for your pet but now has its own doggy bakery!

  • Walk Length: As long or short as you like

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main north entrance

  • Terrain: Paths, trails, flat, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Trentham Estate, Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 8JG

More information: Trentham

Woodland walks

Ladyhill trail (Cannock Chase)

We couldn’t resist throwing in another walking route at Cannock Chase. There’s so many of them, you could spend days roaming the AONB and still find something new. This walk stays closer to the visitor centre and the activities there.

The reason we have singled out the Ladyhill trail is that it is not only beautiful, but you’ll find a dedicated doggy activity trail along the route. Designed to test your pup’s smarts and agility, you’ll have them climbing, fetching and weaving over the short obstacle course as the exciting focal point of this walk, as well as a long off-lead stroll through the woods.

This walk is also excellent for families as it is a mile of accessible trail suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and passes points of interest like the fairy trees and The Gruffalo statue. This walk starts and ends at the visitor centre so you can take advantage of the facilities there, including the cafe.

  • Walk Length: 1.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Birches valley forest centre

  • Terrain: Flat, gravel, trails, woodland

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Birches Valley, Rugeley, WS15 2UQ

More information: Forestry England, Map

National Memorial Arboretum

Of all the places to go for a dog walk in Staffordshire, none are more memorable or moving than the National Memorial Arboretum. Dogs must keep to a designated route on this map around the site, but there are several paths and trails you can take to explore the arboretum and some of the memorials on site.

There are surfaced paths and off-road trails, so this walk can be made wheelchair and pushchair friendly by keeping to the main paths.

Dogs must stay on their leads, but there is still lots to explore on this walk. You can enjoy Watersmeet, the native British riverside wood as well as a stroll beside the river as you see and learn about the memorials here and who they are dedicated to.

Halfway through the walk, you can paw-se with your pooch to enjoy a tasty treat in the “dog-friendly” cafe, (Outside seating for you and the pooch.) Otherwise, there is a picnic area by the start/end point of your walk. After the cafe, you’ll pass through the Royal British Legion Field, which is remarkable in summer, as the thousands of poppies and other wildflowers burst into bloom.

  • Walk Length: Variable

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even, trails

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Croxall Road, Burton-on-Trent, DE13 7AR

More information: The NMA

Downs Banks

This short walk around Downs Banks is “doggy paradise”, whilst making an enjoyable and easy woodland stroll for their humans as it follows the all-abilities trail. Pups are welcome to walk the whole site off the lead, so long as they are well-behaved.

There are trees to sniff, open grassland for a run-around, and ponds and streams they can dive into. If you want to walk a little further, this route has an optional addition of another kilometre which will take you into the steeper area of the woodland.

There are plenty of picnic tables and benches dotted around the area, perfect to stop and enjoy your surroundings. However, being a countryside site, there are no facilities. The nearest public toilets are in Stone centre, as are shops and eateries. For the pup, they can get a drink in the Nimmings Wood car park, as there are water bowls available.

  • Walk Length: 2.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Woodland, trails, flat (optional section includes hills & uneven)

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Washdale Lane, Oulton Heath, Near Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8UU

More information: National Trust


Nestled in the Churnet Valley, Dimmingsdale is a very popular spot for dog walks in Staffordshire due to it’s beautiful, tranquil scenery and dog-friendly facilities. You can park for free at the Rambler’s Retreat, which is a pet-friendly restaurant where you can enjoy a drink and meal after your walk.

The surroundings for this walk are magical, and you’ll feel as though you’re wandering a fairytale forest as you and your pooch spend a few hours exploring amidst the trees, along the streams, and through the glades.

This area is a true natural haven and beauty spot, and you could spend as much time basking in the dappled sunlight through the leaves as your pup would paddling in the ponds. There are many different trails through the woods, so you can have a different walk with every visit to this tranquil paradise.

  • Walk Length: 5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Rambler’s retreat

  • Terrain: Woodland, trails, flat, slopes, uneven

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Ramblers Retreat, Red Road, near Cheadle, Alton, ST10 4BU

More information: GPS Routes

Waterside walks

Rudyard lake

A stroll around Rudyard Lake is perfect for waterside dog walks in Staffordshire. The route is divided into two sections and you can either follow the whole route for a long walk around the whole lake, or you can use the first section as an accessible there-and-back walk along the old railway trackbed.

The second half of the walk takes a gentle uphill to Cliffe Park hall, where you’ll pass through an open field where your pup has the opportunity for a ball game or run off the lead. You’ll then return through the woods to the lakeside. It means you have three very distinct sets of scenery to enjoy, and this variety, wildlife, and calming waters makes for plenty of sniffy enrichment for a pup and relaxing scenery for you.

The walk along the west shore of the lake is actually part of the Staffordshire Way long-distance footpath, letting you sample the path in a manageable amount. There are several pubs within a short drive of the lake, including the dog-friendly Royal Oak.

The Hotel Rudyard on lake road is within walking distance and serves wholesome home-cooked food. The old railway station also has a cafe which you’ll pass by on your walk.

  • Walk Length: 8km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Trails, flat, fields, slopes, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Rudyard Reservoir, Off Lake Road, Rudyard, Leek, ST13 8XB

More information: Rudyard Lake, Canal River Trust


This walk through the beautiful open countryside is the perfect chance to explore this lesser-visited patch Staffordshire. The area is often overlooked in favour of Cannock Chase, but this walk is no less stunning, and your pup will love the wide-open space and the opportunity to take a paddle in the river.

You’ll walk along the canal towpath, beside the river Sow, as well as plenty of fields. You’ll also pass by some handsome historical buildings, like the gorgeous Elizabethan gatehouse, sure to add some interest and class to the route for the humans to enjoy.

After your walk, make sure to stop by the Clifford Arms, a characterful and deeply dog-friendly pub. You can enjoy a drink and meal while your pup gets a good fuss and a few free treats from the bar.

  • Walk Length: 10.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: St Thomas

  • Terrain: Trails, fields, flat, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Ingestre, Stafford, ST18 0RF

More information: Walking Britain

Stowe pool

Stowe Pool is a beautiful spot for walking and is itself only a short walk from the city centre. This old reservoir is now purely for recreational purposes and makes the perfect relaxed setting for fishing or walking. You can take a gentle stroll around the pool before moving into the neighbouring fields to let the dog have a runaround.

Being so close to Lichfield makes it a paw-some getaway to nature that is local and easy to access for anyone living and working in Lichfield. It also makes it easy to access by public transport, as you can head to the city and walk out to the pool for a waterside dog walk. If you do drive here though, the Lombard street car park is closest and has a ramp directly from the top deck to the park.

You can also take advantage of the local dog-friendly facilities in Lichfield, such as the nearby Faro Lounge, a dog-friendly restaurant with a varied and accommodating menu full of tasty treats.

  • Walk Length: 1.1km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Lombard street car park

  • Terrain: Flat, even, trails, fields

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Cross Keys, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6DW

More information: Lichfield Historic Parks

Hill walks

Cheeks hill

You’re sure to have rosy cheeks after walking up this hill! Cheeks Hill is part of the Peaks District National Park and is the highest point in Staffordshire, forming part of the county border. You can enjoy a long walk here amongst the hills, taking in three different summits along quite a short route. Your pup is sure to enjoy this walk as there are miles of open country and ample opportunity for running off the lead.

You’ll know you’ve reached the top of the hill as you will find a charming stone-walled sheep pen. But other than that, there isn’t much up in the hills, except for miles and miles of moorland and a sea of grass. The views here are breathtaking and make the trek more than worthwhile.

You can park on the roadside to enjoy this walk, and can also stroll over the border into neighbouring Derbyshire and Cheshire and enjoy a few of our favourite dog walks there, as several are easy to reach from Cheeks Hill, such as the walk around Shutlingsloe and Shining Tor. The closest dog-friendly pub is The New Inn, two miles away across the county border and is now known as the highest “village” pub in Britain.

  • Walk Length: 8.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Roadside where you park (A54)

  • Terrain: Trails, hills, moorland, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Cheeks Hill, Buxton, SK17 0TG

More information: Mud and Routes

The Roaches

If you want to explore part of the Peak District but don’t have the stamina or time to trek all day, this short, circular walk is ideal. It explores a gritstone ridge known as The Roaches. As you follow the path along the ridge, you’ll pass Doxey Pool which is supposedly bottomless and home to the mermaid Jenny Greenteeth.

In addition, although it may sound as much fantasy as a local mermaid, you might even find wallabies on your walk. That’s because there is a breeding colony of about 50 wallabies in the area, and although sightings are rare, you could be in luck.

This area regularly ranks in polls of the nation’s favourite walks, and it’s easy to see why. The landscape is stunning, and you’re treated to views across the countryside that can stretch as far as Snowdonia.

You can also extend your walk to take in the depths of Luds Church, a phenomenal sight best appreciated as you walk through the moss-lined chasm. Strolling through it feels like you’ve wandered into another world. Add in the possible sightings of mythical creatures and marsupials, and you’ve got a magical walk you and your pup will love. If you need to refuel after your ramble around the Roaches, you can stop off at the welcoming Three Horseshoes in Leek.

  • Walk Length: 8.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Gradbrach car park

  • Terrain: Trails, hills, moorland, uneven

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Gradbach Car park, Gradbach, Buxton, SK17 0SU

More information: Visit Peak District, Wikipedia

The Cloud

Many admire this distinctive hill as they drive by, but it also makes for a fantastic dog walk along quiet bridleways and through open fields, which you and your pup are sure to enjoy. The hill itself is a very gentle climb, and easy descent, making it a good hill walk for anyone to try.

From the peak, you’ll have incredible panoramic views over Staffordshire and Cheshire, perfect to appreciate the beauty of the area, and sure to make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

Sadly, since the Knot Inn closed there aren’t many nearby facilities. The closest pit stop is probably the Coach and Horses in Congleton, which is dog-friendly. However, you could easily pack a picnic and paw-se anywhere along your walk to enjoy a lunch with some of the most awesome views in the county. It’s best to pack food and water at any rate, as this will be several hours of gorgeous walking with your canine companion.

  • Walk Length: 14.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Staffordshire Way car park

  • Terrain: Trails, fields, hills

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Rushton Spencer, Macclesfield, SK11 0QU

More information: Walking Britain

More information about Staffordshire: Visit Stoke, Forestry England

More dog walks: Banbury, Telford, Matlock