15 Stunning dog walks in Dorset

Dog walks
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Dorset is in the south-west of England and is one of the most popular holiday locations in Britain. This is because the county benefits from warmer-than-average weather, expanses of beautiful rural landscape, and many wonderful beaches. In fact, over half of the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it a wonderful destination to enjoy the great outdoors in all its wonder.

As half of the county’s population lives in the conurbation and there are no motorways cutting through the landscape, much of Dorset is unspoiled countryside.

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You will have no shortage of picturesque strolls to enjoy and taking any of the many dog walks in Dorset is sure to be a beautiful and memorable experience. Whether you want to wander along the Jurassic Coast or amble through arable land, there is a landscape and fitting walk to be found for you.

Be sure to clean up after yourself and your dog to ensure the lasting beauty of the countryside, allowing everyone to enjoy their visits.

Country & country park walks

The Rodwell trail (and Sandsfoot Castle)

The Rodwell Trail was created over the course of a disused railway line and offers a surfaced, accessible footpath between Weymouth and Ferrybridge that’s proven very popular for family walks, cyclists and dog walkers. The Friends of the Rodwell Trail look after the route and nearby Sandsfoot Castle and run regular events throughout the year.

Sandsfoot Castle is a short walk from the trail. Created by orders of King Henry VIII, the castle was built to watch over and protect Portland Harbour and the many ships residing there. It now stands in ruins, which you and your dog are welcome to explore together. There’s also an outdoor cafe here if you want to pause to enjoy the view with a nice hot drink.

The walk has unrivalled views over Portland, which explains why the castle was built here. You can stop for refreshments and to use facilities locally in Weymouth or Ferrybridge, so you’ve got plenty of choice when it comes for a pit-stop or tasty treat. You can easily start this walk from the train station, which is ideal for anyone holidaying here without a car.

  • Walk Length: 6.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Jubilee clock tower (Or the train station 400m away)

  • Terrain: Paths, meadows, park

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Radipole Park Drive, Weymouth, DT4 7TY

More information: Rodwell Trail, Sandsfoot Castle, Visit Dorset, Visit Dorset PDF


This is a lovely shorter walk through meadows and beside the River Frome. It’s only a short walk from the centre of Dorchester but feels very much like you’re wandering the open countryside. Just park on the end of Lubbecke way, cross the bridge, and venture into the fields beyond for a relaxing stroll and plenty of off-lead fun in beautiful surroundings.

If you’re visiting the area with your family or just fancy a quirky addition to your walk, you can venture into Dorchester and visit the Dinosaur Museum. Dogs are permitted into the museum at the museum’s discretion and must be on leads and well-behaved around the exhibits. If you do go, it’s sure to be a roarsome walk no-one will forget in a hurry.

  • Walk Length: 3.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Lubbecke Way

  • Terrain: Flat, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Lubbecke Way, Dorchester, DT1 1QL

More information: Birch Pet Services, The Dinosaur Museum

Upton country park

This beautiful country park near Poole really has something for everyone. There is a beautiful Georgian country house to visit and admire surrounding gardens, and a new adventure playground for the little ones to enjoy. There are many routes you can take around the park and you can even walk along the shoreline. If your pup has gotten muddy on the course of your walk, don’t worry, as there’s a self-service dog wash in the main car park.

Some areas are dog-free or on-lead only but there are acres and acres where your dog can roam free and the pair of you can enjoy a wonderful walk in this gorgeous country park. The park also has a safely enclosed “training area” for dogs, perfect for teaching recall or simply walking off-lead to build confidence.

  • Walk Length: Various

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Any of the car parks

  • Terrain: Paths, meadows, park

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Upton Country Park, Poole Road, Upton, Poole, BH17 7BJ

More information: Upton Country Park, Walkiees

Tout quarry

For somewhere a little different for your next dog walk, look no further than Tout Quarry. Once used for quarrying famous Portland Stone, the site was abandoned and has since been transformed into a nature reserve and sculpture trail. The remaining limestone has been crafted into over 70 different sculptures which you can try to interpret for yourself or visit the information board which gives details on each of the artworks. Dogs are more than welcome in the quarry but must be kept on a lead.

As well as the sculptures you’ll find plenty of wildlife here as well as beautiful views over Portland Harbour and Chesil Beach. You can walk to Fortuneswell from here to stop by Quiddles cafe where you and your pooch will be welcome for a hot drink and a bite to eat. You can also access the quarry from the South West Coastal Path from the quarry, making it a great place to stop and rest on a long walk along that route.

  • Walk Length: 1.6k

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Tout Quarry car park

  • Terrain: Slopes, stone tracks, flats

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Tout Quarries, Portland, Dorset, DT5 2LN

More information: Visit Dorset, West Dorset Leisure Holidays, Dorset Wildlife Trust

Cerne Abbas (and the Local Giant)

At over 60m tall, the Cerne Abbas giant may be the tallest man you’ll ever meet. This ancient figure cut into the chalk of the hill is steeped in mystery. No one knows who made it, or why, or even when. But, we do know it has been here for centuries and is the largest chalk figure in Britain. It’s probably the most famous, too. But then again, it is rather hard to forget…

The nearby and picturesque village of Cerne Abbas is the perfect place to start your walk, where you can take a gentle stroll up to the giant’s feet.

There is a picnic spot by the viewing point which gives you the best vantage point of the giant. There are also tea rooms and pubs in the village such as the New Inn and Royal Oak, where your pooch can join you for some rest and refreshment. The New Inn is a charming old coach house and also offers accommodation. (Their dog-friendly room is stunning!)

  • Walk Length: 3.5k

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Kettle Road, Dorchester, DT2 7GY

More information: National Trust, Walkiees, The New Inn

Woodland walks

Wareham forest way

This beautiful landscape is both heathland and forest, with plenty of open space for your dog to explore off-lead. It’s one of the least well-known landscapes in Dorset and certainly looks more like a section of the South East, but it is a gorgeous area and definitely worth exploring.

You can stay at the nearby Wareham Forest Tourist Park which has many facilities including a large, enclosed dog exercise arena. The cafe in the park also sells doggy ice-cream so your pup doesn’t have to be left out if you decide to tuck into a sweet treat during your stroll.

  • Walk Length: 3km or 11km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Sika Trail car park

  • Terrain: Heathland, trails, inclines

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Coldharbour, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 7EJ

More information: Visit Dorset, Forestry England, Wareham Forest

Puddletown forest & Thorncombe wood

We love the name Puddletown. It sounds like it’s straight from an old children’s book where animals are the town’s inhabitants. And truth be told, it feels that way when you visit too. There’s certainly a lot of wildlife in this beautiful forest near the charming village of Puddletown, which is full of chocolate box cottages.

Despite being a forest the walking here is easy with only gentle inclines and good paths. There’s plenty of access points to the forest with parking spaces nearby so you can start wherever you like and roam free through the woods, where your dog will love exploring and sniffing among the plants.

There are no facilities in the forest but there are some at the nearby visitor centre where you start and end the walk. There may also be seasonal toilets and cafe at Hardy’s Cottage. You can also find The Blue Vinny in Puddletown where you can stop for a good drink and meal with your pooch.

There isn't an abundance of forest walks in the county, making this woodland dog walk in Dorset all the more special, especially if paired with a stroll through the adjacent ancient forest of Thorncombe Wood and a visit to Hardy’s Birthplace.

  • Walk Length: 8km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Visitor centre

  • Terrain: Trails, woodland, even, heathland

  • Free Parking: No, (at the visitor centre), free parking at access points to Puddletown Wood

  • Address: Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre, Thorncombe Wood, Higher Bockhampton, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QH

More information: Woodland Trust, Dorsets, Ramblers, Dorset Coastal Cottages

Duncliffe woods

Duncliffe woods is one of the oldest and largest forests in north Dorset and the ideal place for a woodland dog walk. This stretch of ancient woodland is an idyllic setting for a walk that you and your pup will love. There are many trails through the forest, usually with good ground, and your dog is sure to relish exploring off-lead between the trees and following the scents of the many animals that live there.

After your walk, you can drive to Aylesbury. Here you can walk up Gold Hill, the steep cobbled street you’ll instantly recognise from the Hovis advert. The view from the hill is “one of the most romantic in England” and makes the trudge uphill more than worthwhile. Luckily, walking with a dog is a bit easier than pushing a bike laden with bread. Usually.

  • Walk Length: 7.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Duncliffe car park

  • Terrain: Trails, woodland, hills, flat

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Hawkers Lane, Stour Row, SP7 0QJ

More information: Dorset Life, Woodland Trust, Visit Dorset, Gold Hill, Classic

Waterside walks

Durdle Door

It’s impossible to write a list of human or dog walks in Dorset and not include Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Not only is the cove home to the famous stone arch, but dogs are welcome on the beach year-round making it the ideal place for a picturesque seaside stroll.

Taking the walk from the car park gives you a perfect view of Durdle Door and the sea. The water is typically very blue and clear and perfect for paddling in whether you’ve got two legs or four.

Lulworth is itself a very dog-friendly place to visit and a popular holiday spot for people and pooches. There’s plenty of pet-friendly accommodation as well as shops and places to eat that let your pooch come inside too. You’ll even find the ice-cream shop stocks a dog-friendly ice-cream, so you and your pup can enjoy a cooling sweet treat together by the beach. If you’re here a few days you can also visit Lulworth Castle, where your pup can explore the large park.

  • Walk Length: As long or short as you fancy

  • Difficulty: Easy - but steep.

  • Starting Point: Lulworth Cove car park

  • Terrain: Beach

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: (via) Durdle Door Holiday Park, West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5PU

More information: Dorset Coastal Cottages, Lulworth, Dorset Magazine

Tyneham and Worbarrow bay

This is the town that time forgot. Evacuated by the army in 1943, the villagers of Tyneham were never allowed to return and the village remains as it was when the last inhabitants left during the Second World War.

The church and school buildings have had restoration work, and now house exhibitions about the village and the people who once lived there.

From the village, you can walk to Worbarrow Bay, a beautiful and secluded beach. Because the bay is only accessible from the village it remains very quiet. In fact, the whole area remains silent and secluded most of the time as it is owned and managed by the MOD and only open to the public on some weekends and bank holidays. Check when you are allowed to visit the village and be sure to take the trip while you can.

As the village is uninhabited, you must walk to the nearby Tyneham farm for toilets, while a picnic area is by the car park.

  • Walk Length: 4km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Tyneham village car park

  • Terrain: Village, tracks, beach

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: MOD Ranges, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QF

More information: Visit Dorset, Tyneham OPC, Dorset Life

Eype beach

This beautiful stretch of beach is often overlooked in favour of nearby Lyme Regis. Eype Beach, therefore, is much quieter than its neighbouring beaches but with all the beauty of the Jurassic Coast. Another bonus is that dogs are allowed on this beach year-round, making it one of the most tranquil beach dog walks in Dorset.

With plenty of room to run around on the pebbles, the op-paw-tunity to paddle in the waves, and a chance you’ll have the whole beach to yourself - It’s no wonder Eype Beach is one of our top picks for a dog walk.

There are local pubs, shops and tea rooms nearby in Eype or West Bay should you fancy refreshments, and you are only a short drive away from Bridport and Lyme Regis. In fact, you could try walking to or from Bridport to this stunning, secluded beach.

  • Walk Length: 6.1km (to Bridport)

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Eype’s Mouth car park

  • Terrain: Beach, shingle, tracks

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: South West Coast Path, Eype, Bridport, DT6 6AL

More information: Visit Dorset, Southwest Coast Path, Dorset Life


This circular waterside dog walk will take you past two rivers, the Frome and the Piddle. (Isn’t that one of the best names you’ve ever heard!) There are two routes - 2 miles and 4 - but both give you the opportunity to stroll alongside both rivers and explore the wetlands and the abundance of wildlife there. If you’re lucky, you may even see an otter. Given the terrain, make sure you have shoes you’re happy to get wet and muddy.

This is a great walk to stretch your legs and blow off the cobwebs as a pit-stop if you are driving down to Corfe Castle or Swanage. Both walks start in Wareham, where you can find several wonderful pubs like the Kings Arms and the Old Granary. Both are happy for your dogs to join you and offer great food, ideal for a quick meal before the next leg of your adventure.

  • Walk Length: 3.2km or 6.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Wareham Quay

  • Terrain: Paths, wetlands

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Wareham Town, Wareham, BH20 4LP

More information: Visit Dorset, Walk and Cycle, Dorset Council, Dog-Friendly Eating Out

Gundimore beach

Gundimore beach is another beautiful coastal spot where dogs are allowed year-round. Whether your pup loves to dig in the sand, race up and down the beach, or paddle in the water they’re sure to love a trip to this seaside. Meanwhile, you can soak up some sun and admire the views across the water to the Mudeford sandbank or even glimpse the Isle of Wight to the East.

There are plenty of places nearby for refreshments, including a mobile outlet on the promenade. The Haven House Inn by the car park is dog-friendly and given the location, the perfect opportunity to sit and relax with a drink. If you’re interested in history or the supernatural, this pub may interest you due to its alleged hauntings.

  • Walk Length: As long or short as you like

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Mudeford Quay car park

  • Terrain: Paths, beach, sand

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Christchurch, BH23 4AB

More information: Visit Dorset, Dog-Friendly Beaches

Hill walks

Golden Cap

Why not climb the highest point on the south coast for your next dog walk in Dorset? Golden Cap is so tall you can see it for miles and it provides a beautiful and challenging walk. You’ll have unparalleled views of the surrounding fields and miles of the Jurassic coast which you can stop to admire on the flat top of this hill. You might even see a few kayakers on the water or anglers on the beach directly below as the area is very popular for both activities.

There are plenty of local amenities you can visit before and after you climb Golden Cap. The nearby towns of Seatown and Charmouth have pubs, cafes, toilets and shops. There are also many picnic sites dotted around the towns and hills. There is also a National Trust shop and toilets at Stonebarrow.

Although the route starts at the holiday park, you can start this walk from Eype’s Mouth, shortening the walk a little and giving you the chance to visit the beach with your pup, which is another of our favourite places for dog walks in Dorset.

  • Walk Length: 7.2km

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Starting Point: Eype’s Mouth car park

  • Terrain: Hills, fields, heathland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: South West Coast Path, Eype, Bridport, DT6 6AL

More information: Southwest Coast Path, Visit Dorset, National Trust

Eggardon hill

For beautiful views of the countryside, you’d be hard-pressed to find a walk that offers better than Eggardon Hill. You and your dog will enjoy the exercise on this climbing walk, as well as expanses of open country your dog can run through and you can admire. It’s probably one of the most beautiful picnic spots too, so be sure to pack a lunch. You might need it after all your walking as otherwise, you’ll need to venture to nearby Askerwell or Bridport for refreshments.

You start and finish in Askerwell where you can visit the Spyway Inn, a smuggler’s inn where you and your pooch will receive a hearty welcome.

The views from the top of the hill are truly spectacular, as is the history. You’ll not only find the site of an Iron Age fort but plenty of stories about smugglers. For a start, Isaac Gulliver “the gentle smuggler” planted a circle of trees atop the adjoining hill to act as a landmark for smugglers. You can find out about the local history and wildlife on the National Trust board you pass on your walk.

  • Walk Length: 10km

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Starting Point: Church of St Michael and All Angels, Askerwell

  • Terrain: Hills, fields, Uneven

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Nallers Lane, Askerswell, Bridport, DT2 9EJ

More information: Dorset Magazine, National Trust, Visit Dorset, West Bay

More information about Dorset: Sykes Cottages, The Tourist Trail, Wikipedia, Bournemouth Echo

More dog walks: Lincoln, Derbyshire, Somerset