15 Super dog walks in East Sussex

Dog walks
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The county of East Sussex was once its own kingdom in Anglo-Saxon times. Now, it is a diverse county with both beautiful countryside and bustling towns and cultural hubs, including the famous Brighton Festival.

Meanwhile, a significant proportion of the county is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with most of the High Weald within its borders as well as a patch of the South Downs.

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In addition to dozens of wonderful local walks you can take, East Sussex has plenty of long-distance footpaths cutting through the county. These include the 1066 Country Walk, the South Down’s Way, Monarch’s Way, and Saxon Shore Way to name just a handful.

There are still more, and you have the opportunity to explore short sections of some of them on a few of these dog walks in East Sussex.

Country & country park walks

Hastings battleground & abbey

This a memorable day out full of history and activity that your whole family can enjoy, the dog included! Four-legged friends can enjoy all the outside areas provided they are on a lead, meaning they can accompany you on a walk around the landscape that hosted the infamous battle of 1066.

The fields are full of flowers, and it can be hard to imagine what it was like centuries ago. Luckily, the audio-guide will explain everything that happened, and there’s a kid’s version too.

There is now a wooden sculpture trail that follows the battle, so you can try to hunt down each of the figures as you and your pooch explore this pocket of historic and beautiful countryside. A visit here is sure to make a great day out, and one of the most memorable and historical dog walks in Sussex you’ll find.

There are plenty of facilities onsite, such as toilets, cafe, and picnic area. (Just remember, dogs aren’t allowed inside.) Otherwise, the nearby Bull Inn and Chequers Inn will welcome you and your pooch for refreshments.

  • Walk Length: 7km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Battle & Abbey car park

  • Terrain: Fields, flat, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: High Street, Battle, East Sussex, TN33 0AE

More information: English Heritage

Danehill walk

This short, circular walk has a lot of variety for its length. The area is characterised by many miniature valleys making for short but steep climbs, sure to make you and your pooch work a little harder.

You’ll stroll through fields and woodland, and pass a few rust-coloured streams on your walk, which your pup will no doubt dive in for a paddle.

The walk starts and ends at The Coach and Horses pub, so be sure to pop in for a drink or bite to eat before or after your walk. Your pooch will be welcome inside too, but on a sunny day the pretty garden makes a great spot to bask in the sun while you enjoy a drink.

  • Walk Length: 4.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Coach and Horses pub

  • Terrain: Fields, woodland, uneven, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Coach and Horses, Coach and Horses Lane, RH17 7JF

More information: Sussex Life, East Sussex.gov

The Cuckoo trail

You could walk the length of the Cuckoo Trail in a day, but at 11 miles long, you might not make it back again before dark. This surfaced path follows the old trackbed of the Cuckoo line between Heathfield and Shinewater park.

It’s very popular with families, walkers, and cyclists alike. And given the flat land and good path, it’s an accessible walk too. Your dog is sure to love this long off-lead walk, with pauses to sniff through the undergrowth and listen to the birds.

Walking through this green corridor is a delight whether you tackle it in its entirety, or sample a smaller section of it. There are plenty of benches and rest points along the route, sculptures to find, and exquisite views over the surrounding countryside.

You can pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the many rest stops, or you can take a small diversion from the path to find local facilities along the way. For example, the May Garland Inn in Horam will welcome you and your pooch for refreshments or an overnight stay. There is also The King’s Head in Cacklebury.

  • Walk Length: 20km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Heathfield

  • Terrain: Surfaced trail, flat, even

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Newnham Way, Heathfield, TN21 8DA

More information: East Sussex.gov

The Bluebell railway

A trip on a steam train isn’t a walk, no. But it can easily make the focal point of your trip and turn a dog walk in East Sussex into a delightful day out with your pup. Dogs can ride the train, provided you purchase a special doggy ticket, and then the pair of you can enjoy a step back in time and ride the famous steam train through the beautiful Sussex countryside.

Combining a long walk with this day out is quite easy. You could stroll beside the River Ouse for a stretch as it passes Sheffield Park Station. Or you could take the train to Horsted Keynes and then walk a little over 2 miles to Danehill, where you can stop by the Coach and Horses or enjoy our Danehill walk, one of the dog walks in East Sussex we listed earlier.

Otherwise, you can walk six miles from Horsted Keynes, through rolling fields, and back to where you caught the train at Sheffield Park.

  • Walk Length: Various

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: The station

  • Terrain: Fields, woodland, uneven, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Sheffield Park Station, TN22 3QL

More information: Bluebell Railway

Wellingham loop

This short walk provides easy walking through fields and farmland, giving you and your pup plenty of space to stretch your legs and open sky to bask under. You could extend your walk a little further North West so that you can take in a stretch of the River Ouse as well as the rich countryside of this circuit route.

Your walk will start and end at The Cock Inn, (no giggling!) This 16th-century coaching inn takes its name from the old nursery rhyme, “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross”. As you have parked at the pub, be polite and stop in as a patron before or after your walk. It’s also a good chance to paw-se and rest.

You are also only a short drive from Lewes, where you can find plenty of local amenities.

  • Walk Length: 2.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: The Cock Inn

  • Terrain: Fields, trails, flat

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Old Uckfield Road, Lewes, BN8 5RX

More information: East Sussex.gov

Woodland walks

Ashdown forest

This huge forest is home to many fantastic woodland dog walks in East Sussex and Kent. The forest spans the border between these counties, and you can spend hours on end exploring the various trails. Mapped routes are available from the visitor centre or online for a small donation, or you and your pooch can follow your nose through the woods and see where you end up.

As we mentioned in dog walks in Kent, Ashdown Forest stood in for the famous Hundred Acre Wood. You can take a walk to visit the locations that inspired A.A. Milne and appear in the tales of Winnie the Pooh.

There is a fantastic walk through the clumps, where the height will give you excellent views of the surrounding heath and forest. You’ll also pass Nutley Windmill, which has stood for several centuries. It’s an easy, circular walk, but has a climb towards the end.

However given the size of the forest and number of trails, you are certain to find a walk to suit your ability and the time you want to spend exploring the area.

  • Walk Length: 2.8km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Friends Clump

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

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Crowborough Road, TN22 3HU

More information: Ashdown Forest

Brede high woods

A walk through this ancient woodland is the perfect opportunity to find rare wildlife will you and your pooch enjoy the great outdoors. Everywhere you look, you’re sure to sniff out something exciting. Weird-looking lampreys swim in the streams, along with great crested newts.

You may catch a glimpse of a Hobby on the hunt, or a rare green hellebore growing between the trees. Even mini beasts here are unusual and exciting, such as glowworms and species of beetle previously thought to be extinct in the UK.

You can try your best to spy all these and more as you stroll through the enchanting woodland, and your pup enjoys sniffing around the undergrowth on a hunt of their own. You could even stumble upon the remains of charcoal burning, as charcoal has been produced here since Roman times.

These quiet woods are the ideal place for a tranquil woodland dog walk. The seclusion means there are no facilities, but it’s a great place to get in touch with nature. Otherwise, you can take a short drive to Cripps Corner or Broad Oak and visit one of the village pubs there.

  • Walk Length: 5.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

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

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Broad Oak, Rye, TN31 6EX

More information: Woodland Trust, Country File

The Forest way

This country park spans the border from East Sussex into Kent. It runs for 16km and follows an old railway bed and makes an important green corridor for wildlife. The park features a patchwork of habitats, including woodland, grassland, and ponds. The variety of surroundings are sure to keep you and your pooch engaged throughout your walk.

This circular walk through the park is the perfect chance to sample some of the High Weald AONB. The surfaced path and variety of walk lengths make this a fantastic, accessible walk for all ages and abilities to enjoy.

Plus, as you can see from the route map, you’re never far from a village or pub, so you can easily find local facilities and landmarks. For example, The Dorset Arms in Withyham has a warm atmosphere and you and your pup will be very welcome, or you can pop into the Anchor Inn in Hartfield.

  • Walk Length: 4.5km to 14.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Various

  • Terrain: Woodland, grassland, flat, even, trails

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Forest Way, Hartfield, TN7 4BJ

More information: East Sussex.gov, Great British Life

Waterside walks

Seaford bay

Seaford Bay is a pleasant, pebbled beach that remains more relaxed and quiet than most large southern beaches. (Perhaps it’s the lack of sand?) However, it remains a wonderful spot for a seaside dog walk in East Sussex. The beach is long and wide, almost 4 miles in fact, and dogs are allowed year-round so your pup can sniff around the shingle and play in the surf whenever they like.

If you fancy a seaside stroll with a more dramatic view, you can visit nearby Seaford Head and walk in the cove below the stark white cliffs.

There are a number of delightful cafes to visit in Seaford too, making the appeal of a stroll along the seafront even stronger. The Galley cafe is dog friendly and even has a well-stocked bar. The Cuckmere Inn outside town is full of rural charm and has fantastic views, and you can walk from there around the Seven Sisters Country Park.

  • Walk Length: However long you fancy

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Wherever you park or Seaford station

  • Terrain: Beach, shingle, flat

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Marine Parade, Seaford, BN25 2QR

More information: The Cuckmere Inn, The Beach Guide

Arlington reservoir

A dog walk beside the tranquil waters of a reservoir always goes down a treat with humans and dogs alike. A walk at Arlington is no different, and especially memorable in winter as some 10,000 birds stay here during the season.

You could take a gentle stroll around the reservoir, or lengthen your walk to complete a circuit of the waterside and some of the local countryside, where your pup will have plenty of opportunities to run around off the lead.

On the walk, you’ll have ample opportunity to watch the many species of birds that live here and can stop by the bird hide. Perhaps most memorably, you might be able to see the Long Man of Wilmington, a giant carved into the chalk of the hillside.

You’ll start your walk from Berwick station, meaning you can enjoy this walk without the need to drive. It also means you begin and end the walk near the Berwick Arms, a dog-friendly pub that serves great food.

  • Walk Length: 5.7km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Berwick station

  • Terrain: Flat, trails, even, gentle slopes

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Station Approach, Berwick, Polegate, BN26 6TB

More information: GPS Routes

Birling gap

The white cliffs at Birling Gap and Seven Sisters are sometimes regarded as more picturesque than the famous ones at Dover. Whether you agree or not, you’re certain to find the area unmistakably breath-taking. It also happens to be a brilliant place to go for a dog walk in East Sussex.

Your dog is welcome to roam freely here, but the land is often used for grazing and is home to ground-nesting birds, so do put them on a lead when requested.

Being a National Trust site means Birling gap benefits from good facilities, and your pooch is welcome to join you in the visitor centre, shop and cafe. With stunning views of the cliffs and coast, and being surrounded by lush green fields, this is one perfect walk for you and the pooch to enjoy.

  • Walk Length: 3.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Visitor centre

  • Terrain: Fields, slopes, even

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: East Dean, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 0AB

More information: National Trust, Seven Sisters Country Park

Camber sands

We think Camber Sands is one of the most beautiful beaches in Britain. Not only does the glorious sand stretch on for miles, but pups are welcome on the beach year-round. In the summer, there are restrictions as to which sections of the beach dogs can visit. However, even then there are miles of sand, sea, and dunes to explore.

Whether your pup wants to sprint across the sand, dig like it’s an Olympic sport, paddle in the waves or bound around the dunes, they will be thoroughly entertained (and exercised) after a visit to this beach. We’re certain you will love this beach just as much too. It’s no wonder Camber Sands is regularly listed as one of the best dog walks in Sussex.

You are only a short drive from the charming, historic town of Rye. It’s well worth a visit to walk through the picturesque cobbled streets. Otherwise, if you fancy staying local but need to refresh yourself, you can stay in Camber and visit The Owl pub.

  • Walk Length: However long or short you like

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Camber sands

  • Terrain: Beach, sand, flat

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Old Lydd Road, Camber, Rye, TN31 7RH

More information: Rother Council

Cuckmere river

This walk over the gentle hills and through the Cuckmere Valley is one of outstanding beauty and you are sure to appreciate the picturesque countryside. Your pooch is sure to love it too, as they can roam off-lead and run through the open spaces and perhaps take a paddle in the river.

You might see Jersey cows and Canada geese grazing in the lush water meadows, so be sure to keep your dog under control if you encounter livestock or wildlife.

On your diversion to Litlington, it is worth stopping at The Plough & Harrow pub, where you and your pup will be welcome to rest and refresh yourselves. Otherwise, we suggest you stop by Ye Olde Smugglers Inn in Alfriston.

  • Walk Length: 6.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: High and Over car park

  • Terrain: Fields, flat, trails

  • Free Parking: Yes (2 hours)

  • Address: High and Over car park, Alfriston Road, Alfriston, BN25 3AB

More information: National Trust, Country File

Hill walks

Saxonbury hill

If you and your pooch fancy a few hours of walking that will test your legs while passing through beautiful scenery, you’ll enjoy the walk around Saxonbury Hill. There is an iron age fort atop the hill, as well as a 19th-century folly, giving you a dose of history on this walk.

Your trek here is within the High Weald AONB, so the scenery is stunning, whilst the hills make this walk more challenging than the typical countryside stroll. The landscape is divided on this walk, and you will ramble through farmland and fields on your way to Saxonbury, while the walk back will be through woodland. It gives you plenty of variety to keep you and your pup interested and on your toes.

This route starts and ends in Rotherfield, so you and your pooch can rest and refresh yourselves here and make the most of the local facilities. You can stock up for your journey at the local shops, or treat yourself to a trip to one of the two pubs in town, The King’s Arms or the Catts Inn.

  • Walk Length: 11km

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Starting Point: Rotherfield

  • Terrain: Fields, woodland, trails, hills

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: High Street, Rotherfield, Crowborough, TN6 3LJ

More information: Historic England, East Sussex.gov

Ditchling beacon to Devil’s dyke

Tackling The South Downs Way long distance path is a challenge many of us wouldn’t manage, but you can explore one of the most beautiful sections of it on this walk between Ditchling and Devil’s Dyke. Or, you could take a shorter walk at either location, visiting them one at a time. But this route will give you and your pup the opportunity to explore both landmarks and the gorgeous scenery in between.

It is a long there-and-back walk, so you’re sure to feel it in your legs and it will be a whole day of rambling through the rolling countryside. Your pup will no doubt adore it, spending hours exercising in the fresh air with their best friend.

The walking is generally easy, so much so, you can forget Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in the county. If you want to shorten the walk, you can catch a bus from either end of the route to take you back to the start or home.

You can find local facilities at either end of the route, as well as the villages of Pyecombe and Saddlescombe which are in-between. The Bull in Ditchling is a charming country pub, and dog-friendly, as is the Devil’s Dyke Pub & Restaurant.

  • Walk Length: 11.2km (22.4km there-and-back)

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Starting Point: Ditchling Beacon

  • Terrain: Fields, even, flat, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Ditchling Beacon car park, Ditchling, East Sussex, BN1 8ZB

More information: National Trust, South Downs National Park

More information about East Sussex: Country File, Wikipedia

More dog walks: West Sussex, Wiltshire, Kent