15 Superb dog walks in Surrey

Dog walks
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A landlocked Shire county in south-east England, Surrey is home to expanses of stunning and accessible countryside, making it surprising to hear it is one of the most populated counties in the region. It also happens to be the most wooded county in England, with almost a quarter of Surrey being covered in forest.

The famous Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is probably the most popular place for walks and dog walks in Surrey. This county is also where the North Downs begins, whose hills stretch east to Dover and are a favourite for walkers.

The county is not just famous for its countryside but it’s history and culture too. From numerous bronze age burial sites to the oldest windmills in England, the chequered past of a few famous highwaymen, and an annual “swan upping” ceremony on the Thames, there’s no shortage of interesting - and slightly quirky - landmarks and events to discover.

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The popularity of the county partially comes from its location within the Metropolitan Green Belt and great travel links, making the beautiful countryside easy to reach. However you travel, you and your pup are sure to enjoy any walks you take and the variety of locations and landscapes you can find there.

We’ve sniffed out 15 fantastic dog walks in Surrey for you and your furry friend to enjoy and have the opportunity to experience for yourself all the wonders this county has to offer.

Country & country park walks

The Devil’s Punch Bowl

Legend says that this strange feature was formed when the devil scooped some dirt up in his hand to throw at Thor. Where he dug the earth up with his hand now forms the Devil’s Punchbowl.

In reality, it is a huge natural amphitheatre within Hindhead Common and one of the nation’s favourite walks. One famous fan of walking the heathland here was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and he supposedly based the haunt of the Hound of the Baskervilles on the common.

Your own hound can follow the pawprints of the most famous dog in literature and is certain to love the wide-open spaces. This walk follows the rim of the punchbowl so you can appreciate the unusual feature for yourself and have the most spectacular views over the common, sometimes seeing as far as London.

Should you or your pup need a pit-stop, there are picnic areas and a cafe on the site, and you will pass these on your walk, as well as the nearby Devil’s Punchbowl Hotel and Pub.

  • Walk Length: 7.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: NT car park

  • Terrain: Flat, Hills, woodland, heathland

  • Free Parking: Free for NT members, paid for non-members OR small free car park at GU26 6SJ

  • Address: London Road, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6AB

More information: National Trust, Walkiees, Fancy Free Walks PDF

Polesden Lacey

This stunning Edwardian manor sits within a vast 1400 acre estate, which you and your dog are welcome to explore. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the house itself or the formal gardens, but there is still a lot to explore in the other gardens and wider estate.

Polesden Lacey has a history of canine companionship within it. The last owner of the house, Margarett Greville, was definitely a dog person and owned 17 in her lifetime and even went so far as to carve a dog water bowl into the wishing well. Nowadays, it’s owned by the National Trust but the love of dogs lives on.

The site is not just dog-friendly, but they host a free dog walking club on the second Tuesday of every month. If you and your pup fancy the opportunity to make some new friends, it is well worth visiting.

Most walks around the site begin from the cafe, including the social walk, making it super easy to have a quick snack or after before your adventure.

  • Walk Length: 6.7km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Flat, parkland, woodland, slopes

  • Free Parking: Free for NT Members, paid for non-members

  • Address: Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6BD

More information: Wikipedia, National Trust, Seymours Estates, National Trust Big Walk

The Rural Life centre

This open-air museum in Farnham is the opportunity for a great day out with the whole family, including the dog! Your pups are welcome on leads throughout the museum and can enjoy many long walks in the fields and woods nearby. Bourne Wood, another walk on this list, is practically on top of the museum. So why not combine the two to turn a favourite dog walk in Surrey into an exciting day out for you and your pooch?

There is a lovely cafe onsite that offers light lunches and Sunday roasts. There are also plenty of picnic spots, so you can easily while away hours exploring this gem of living history. As well as hundreds of farming artefacts and equipment to see, there are ever-changing exhibits and events throughout the year.

If you fancy something heartier for lunch or a good dinner after your day out, The Duke of Cambridge pub is just over a mile away. This family and dog-friendly pub even offers a special doggy menu, so your pup can tuck into some tasty grub too!

  • Walk Length: Various

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Flat, meadows, woodland

  • Free Parking: Free parking, admission prices to museum

  • Address: The Rural Life Centre, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 2DL

More information: Rural Life Centre

Lightwater country park

It can seem difficult to imagine idyllic countryside so close to the M3, but Lightwater Park somehow manages it. The park is mainly made up of heathland, being a fragment of the once-vast Bagshot Heath.

The nature trail combines heath, woodland and wetland, so be sure to wear good shoes. The park is a favourite with families who enjoy the easy strolls and new play park, as well as fishermen on Hammond Pond. If your pooch is quite content to sit with you and enjoy the peace of the countryside, you could pick up a day ticket to fish there.

Otherwise, your dog will enjoy a walk around the heathland, bouncing through the heather, sniffing through woodland and wading in the bog and ponds.

There are facilities like toilets, cafe and picnic areas on-site, but if you want something more, it’s a short walk into Bagshot where you can find several dog-friendly pubs, such as the Forresters Arms.

  • Walk Length: 3km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Uneven, heathland, woodland, wetland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Avenue, Lightwater, Surrey, GU18 5RG

More information: Visit Surrey, Surrey Heath, Lightwater Village, All Trails

Chobham common

One of the finest examples of lowland heath in the world, Chobham Common is the largest nature reserve in the South East and a wonderful place to walk and enjoy the wild, open countryside.

Being a heath, gorse and heather dominate the landscape in a patchwork of gold and purple. Your pup will love racing through them, exploring the undergrowth and chasing a butterfly or two. That being said, there is also over 350 species of wildflowers to be found here, and over 100 species of birds, some of which are rare and elusive and sure to excite anyone with an interest in wildlife. The common is truly a wildlife haven and an oasis for nature where you and your pooch can enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside.

The Four Horseshoes pub is dog-friendly, and a good place to pop in for a drink. A good idea, as there are no facilities on the common itself. But there are numerous trails and car parks around the common.

  • Walk Length: 9.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Chobham Place Woods

  • Terrain: Flat, hills, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes (Paid in other car parks)

  • Address: Chobham Place woods car park, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8TL

More information: Visit Surrey, Surrey Health, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, Fancy Free Walks PDF

Woodland walks

Bourne wood

Not far from the picturesque town of Farnham lies Bourne Wood, a remarkable pine forest. The beauty of the area is unmistakable, and as with many stunning Surrey areas, has been frequently used as a filming location. Films and TV shows that have visited these woods are near endless and includes; Transformers, Wonder Woman, Gladiator, War Horse, and several instalments of the Harry Potter and Avengers franchises.

You needn’t be an action hero to walk here though. In fact, you and your dog will be very much at home strolling along the sand trails. Occasionally, the woods open out onto heathland, which will offer your dog somewhere to investigate the undergrowth while you pause to admire the view. The trails through the forest are wide and open so there is no shortage of space for off-lead wanders. There's a convenient Bourne Wood car park nearby too.

A pleasant circular walk can be taken from the Spotted Cow pub in Lower Bourne. You can park for free at the pub provided you visit it before or after your walk.

  • Walk Length: 6.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: The Spotted Cow

  • Terrain: Flat, hills, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Bourne Wood, Farnham, Bourne Wood, Farnham, GU10 2BH

More information: All Trails, Woodland Trust, Forestry England

Banstead woods

Banstead Woods has existed for centuries and is a beautiful example of ancient woodland. Once a medieval deer park, people and their faithful hounds have walked and worked there for centuries.

The forest is one of the most popular places for woodland dog walks in Surrey, which is no mean feat when there are so many fantastic forests to explore in the county.

The nature trail through the woods makes for a pleasant walk and can be started from the nearby Chipstead train station. There aren’t any toilets or picnic tables around the woods, but there are benches should you wish to stop.

There are other trails you can take through these woods and if you’re visiting with family, we suggest the Narnia trail. Over the course of this walk, the characters from the famous book series have been beautifully carved out of deadwood, giving new life into the dead trees.

  • Walk Length: 5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Holly Lane car park

  • Terrain: Woodland, meadows, flat, slopes

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Holly Lane, Banstead, Surrey, CR5 3NR

More information: Woodland Trust, All Trails, Reigate Banstead PDF

Waverley abbey

The ruins are all that remain of this ancient monastery that now lies silent and majestic watching the River Wey. This is another historic landmark located close to the town of Farnham, meaning you can combine it with other walks or points of interest in the area to create a day or weekend of activity.

As you should expect by now from this list, the ruins too have been used in films throughout the years, and it’s not surprising once you visit. The site is idyllic, with a weight of history and life that invites you in. Walking here, you and your dog can explore the abbey’s remains and surrounding meadow, lake and wood.

We suggest starting and ending the walk at The Barley Mow, a dog and walker-friendly pub in nearby Tilford. There are also public toilets on Tilford Green should you need them, and you will pass two more pubs on the walk. This route has a lot of unmade trails, so be sure to wear good footwear and remember it can get muddy. You will explore a variety of landscapes, have amazing views from Crooksbury hill, and be able to visit the abbey.

  • Walk Length: 10km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: The Barley Mow, Tilford

  • Terrain: Hills, woodland, meadows

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Barley Mow, Tilford Green, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey GU10 2BU

More information: English Heritage, All Trails, Barley Mow Tilford, Ramblers

Winkworth arboretum

Winkworth Arboretum was created in the 20th century by a local doctor, determined to preserve the beautiful woodland near his home. Now it is a National Trust site home to over 1000 species of trees and shrubs, many rare, and a beautiful backdrop for a dog walk whatever the season.

The arboretum is particularly spectacular in spring as everything comes into bloom, or autumn as the trees burst into fiery colour. Here you and your pup can enjoy a stroll around the lake and through the magnificent wood in perhaps the most picturesque forest walk you can find in the county. It’s worth noting, dogs must stay on leads throughout, but it shouldn’t bother them much when they can still sniff around end enjoy a long walk in the great outdoors.

As with most National Trust sites, there are facilities available including a tea room. The White Horse is a short drive away in Hascombe and allows dogs, otherwise, you can take the short trip into Godalming for local amenities there.

  • Walk Length: 2.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Uneven, Woodland, Hill

  • Free Parking: Yes (But paid entry fee)

  • Address: Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AD

More information: Visiting with your dog, Winkworth Arboretum, National Trust

Waterside walks

Virginia water

In the North of the county and the southern edge of Windsor Great Park lies Virginia Water. Originally a royal pleasure ground, the area is now open to the public and hugely popular with visitors, particularly families and dog-walkers.

The main attraction here is the gorgeous lake, a favourite picnic spot for Queen Victoria. You too can stop to enjoy a picnic here or simply walk the perimeter enjoying the view. Other landmarks include the beautiful cascade waterfall, a 100-foot high totem pole, the Leptis Magna ruins - which were never ruined at all - and an ornamental garden.

With its long history and fans amidst royalty, you too are sure to love exploring Virginia Water. The only downside is that parking is quite expensive.

There are plenty of facilities available on-site, allowing you to make a day of your trip. The walk around the lake begins and ends at the cafe and there is a dog-friendly pub on site where you and your pooch can enjoy a drink and hearty food. Last year, the pub even offered dog-friendly ice cream. With any luck, they’ll repeat the venture so you and your pup can sit together enjoying a cool treat in the sunshine.

  • Walk Length: 8.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Cafe

  • Terrain: Flat, parkland, woodland

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4QF

More information: Windsor Great Park, Dog Walking at Virginia Water, Visit Surrey

Guildford & the river Wey

With over 20 miles of towpath to explore, there are a number of lovely waterside walks you can take by the River Wey as it passes through Guildford. A gentle walk beside the river is perfect for a relaxing Sunday stroll with your family and pooch.

Being within the town, you can also stroll through the cobbled high street for a spot of shopping or a stop for coffee. You and your pup could even visit the medieval castle, where dogs are welcome on leads. Otherwise, you can turn away from town and follow the river through the woods.

Along the riverside is The Britannia, a beautiful red-brick pub that is perhaps one of the most dog-friendly you will ever find. There’s not just treats and water bowls for your pup to refresh themselves but there are also towels for muddy paws and even dog beds to take to your tables.

  • Walk Length: 3km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: High street (Or the train station)

  • Terrain: Flat, parkland, woodland

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: High St, Guildford GU1 3DP

More information: Guildford, Britannia Guildford

Thames Down link

Connecting the Thames Path in Kingston to the North Downs Way in Westhumble, this relatively flat walk can be tackled all at once or in smaller sections. It is accessible from several stations along the route. You’ll be glad for the train links as you can hop on to take a ride back to your starting point rather than trek back on foot!

This walk follows a green corridor and passes by several landmarks such as the Hogsmill River, Horton Country Park, Epsom Downs and Maldon Manor.

If you begin your walk at Ashstead station, you could combine a walk along part of the Thames Down Link with another of our favourite dog walks in Surrey, Box Hill. This route allows you to take in both walks for an exciting day’s adventuring outdoors with your dog.

  • Walk Length: 4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Any of the train stations

  • Terrain: Flat, woodland

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Westhumble St, Westhumble, Dorking RH5 6BT

More information: LDWA, Thames Down Link

Hill walks

Box hill

Nestled in the North Downs is Box Hill, a firm favourite for scenic family strolls and dog walks. This walk will take you and your dog over chalk downland and woodland as you explore this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The hill is much loved by families, not least because of the natural play trail. Meanwhile, nature lovers can appreciate the plethora of wildlife and flowers. With many routes available, you can take a different walk every time you visit. Just remember to check for any notices about livestock grazing or ground-nesting birds, as you’ll need to pop your dog back on the lead (or find another route.)

The tea room has outside seating meaning you and your pup can rest and enjoy some refreshments on your stroll. If you wander a little further you can find either The Tree or The Stepping Stones pubs which are dog-friendly. Denbies Vineyard is also walkable from Box Hill and is another good place for a dog walk.

  • Walk Length: 1.6km to 6.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Starting Point:

  • Terrain: Hills, woodland, meadows

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: The Old Fort, Box Hill Road, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7LB

More information: Visit Surrey, National Trust, Responsible Dog Walking, Box Hill Walks, Stepping Stones Pub

St Ann’s hill

An ancient fort once crowned the top of this hill before a chapel to St Ann was erected, giving the hill its name. You and your dog are sure to love exploring this beautiful wooded park and enjoy free roaming amidst the trees. Part of the park was a formal garden, and as such, quirks like exotic trees and a nun’s well remain.

The nature trail provides a short walk that takes you to the crest of the hill where you can visit all the historic sites and enjoy breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside. You pass through the location of the iron age fort, past the nun’s well, up to the remains of the chapel.

As the trail name suggests, this walk offers a variety of wildlife, trees, flora and fungi for you to admire and your pooch to sniff. There are also several picnic places along the route where you can stop to listen to the birds and pause to admire the surroundings.

  • Walk Length: 1.2km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Car Park

  • Terrain: Hills, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: St Anns Hill Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 9NL

More information: Woodland Trust, Visit Surrey

Leith hill

The landscape of Leith Hill sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and well-visited by Charles Darwin, who often stayed with family at nearby Leith Hill Place.

Meanwhile, Leith Hill is the highest point in both Surrey and the south of England and an ideal location for a walk to stretch your legs and enjoy the wonder of the countryside. The tower that dominates the skyline here was originally built as “a place for people to enjoy the glory of the English countryside” and it still is to this day.

As you might expect from the highest point in the south, the views from the hilltop are amazing (and even better from the tower). On a good day, you can see the coast to the south and the London skyline to the east. There is a cafe at the foot of the tower so you can rest with your pup as you sip a drink and soak in the views. Despite the height, this woodland walk is relatively easy, making it well worth taking for rewarding surroundings.

If you fancy trying this walk but don’t drive you can take another route that starts from Holmwood Station. Wherever you start, oSurrey dog walknce you reach the crest of the hill you’re sure to realise why this is one of the best dog walks in Surrey that you could possibly take.

  • Walk Length: 4km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Windy Gap car park

  • Terrain: Hills, woodland, steep steps

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Leith Hill Road, Dorking RH5 6LU

More information: Leith Hill Tower, National Trust, Leith Hill Countryside, Leith Hill Woodland Walk, Surrey Hills

Another walk that comes suggested is The Sculpture Park.

More information about Surrey: Wikipedia, Get Surrey, Surrey Attractions, Can We Take The Dog

More dog walks: Devon, Dorset, Somerset