Walking Your Dog on the South West Coast Path

With no less than 630 miles of dog-friendly trails skirting the coasts of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, the South West Coast Path is one of the UK’s most scenic places to walk your dog. Taking in diverse scenery, from shaggy moorland to Jurassic ridges, there are walks for all levels of fitness – from easy beach strolls to calf-grinding cliff climbs.

The Kennel Club’s coast path expert, Stephen Jenkinson, says: “I've always had a soft spot for the South West and its glorious coastline – it’s great for dogs, with miles of golden sands to play around on as well as woodland paths and green pasture.”

South West Coast Path  Dog walking along the South West Coast Path

Of course, traversing the territory between land and sea also means keeping a close eye on your dog for its own, and other coast path users’, safety.

As well as picking up your dog litter, this includes taking measures such as putting your dog on a lead around livestock and to keep it safe on clifftops. Keen to impart a responsible attitude to dog walkers, the South West Coast Path website offers all sorts of tips for dog walkers, including basic advice such as carrying water for your pet, keeping you dog on a short lead on cliffs and around livestock, and – though this applies more or less anywhere – not letting your dog bound up to other walkers: not everyone likes dogs!

Although dog bans are operated on some of Devon’s dog beaches during summer, where the South West Coast Path crosses such a beach (and there is no alternative path) you are permitted to walk across the back of the beach, providing you keep your dog on a lead and do not linger.

When it comes down to the best walks along the South West Coast Path, there are plenty to choose from. We’ve listed in our Top 10 Pub Walks, but our personal favourite is the Clovelly to Hartland Quay section. As well as its incredible scenery, the South West Coast Path is also littered with plenty of dog-friendly pubs and cafés where you can refuel along the way. Some of the best are highlighted in our Pubs and Restaurants section. So, whether you’re staying in a pet-friendly cottage Devon, don your walking boots and strike out along one of the South West’s star attractions.