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Home | Blogs | 9 best dog walks in North Devon

9 of the best dog walks in North Devon

Dog walking in Devon

Our ‘Pawesome’ guide Hugo!

With a host of dog-friendly beaches to let your hair down, get sandy, chase balls and frolic in the waves from sunrise till sunset Woolacombe must be one of the most dog-friendly locations in the UK!

To read about the host of local dog-friendly beaches available to you in North Devon and for tips on useful pet-friendly information whilst in the area, head to our dog guide!

1 – Putsborough to Woolacombe

We have to start with this one not least because it is our closest but due to our dramatic weather and tidal changes, no two stretches of this path will ever look or feel the same.

Begin your dog walk from either end, Putsborough or Woolacombe following the path overlooking the beach.

Along the way you can enjoy views across the sea, beach, dunes and surf with views to Lundy and Morte Point, enjoying a section of the Southwest Coastal Path along the way, dogs should be kept on a lead on this section of the path.

On the way back take the same route or walk along the beach instead, let your doggy off lead and explore the small rock pools along the route and if you are feeling brave, take your shoes and socks off and join in with a game of wave chicken!

Whether you park in Woolacombe or Putsborough either end have a wonderful option for a dog-friendly café to retreat to and warm paws and toes!

Beachcomber café, The Esplanade, Woolacombe EX34 7DJ

01271871664

Putsborough Café – Croyde, Braunton EX33 1LB

01271 890327

A Devon beach
Dog lounging by the beach
Devon coastal view

2 – Wistlandpound Reservoir

Wistlandpound is often the North Devon location locals visit for easy dog walks within peaceful surroundings. Think glassy lake surrounded by pine trees, interactive play equipment dotted around for all and bird hides for wildlife spotting – this is also a great spot for a family day out. 

This flat circular walk has varying paths, with some closer to the water’s edge that are suitable for prams and wheelchairs where dogs must be kept on leads, and some more off the beaten track paths are amongst the trees where dogs can be let off the lead but under supervision due to the abundant wildlife within the reserve, part of its charm.

Parking is easy either at the discovery centre car park or further down the road at the Fisherman’s car park, simply follow the trail around the lake which is approximately 1.6 miles.

Swimming is prohibited for both furry and non-furry visitors so keen swimmers must be kept under control near the water’s edge.    

Dog walking by Wistlandpound reservoir
Path through trees in the North Devon countryside
View over Wistlandpound reservoir

3 – Valley of the Rocks

For dog walks with the WOW factor we must recommend Valley of the rocks! Walks just do not get more dramatic than this. We never tire of this walk where moorlands literally roll off fossil-filled cliff edges into billowing waves below. It is truly jaw-dropping (or cliff dropping) with views over the Bristol channel, the moorland and beyond, a memory you will not forget.

Look out for Wild goats grazing amongst the clifftop fauna and the unusual rock formations and caves, you will certainly feel like you have been transported to an ancient land here!

BUT be warned although much of the path is tarmacked and well-kept it can be steep and may be unsuitable for children or those with mobility issues in places due to the proximity to the cliff edge. Dogs must be kept on a lead for their own safety.

You can park at the cricket Pavilion or if you prefer a longer walk, walk from Lynton heading to Castle Rock and join the cliff path, there is a path you can follow down into Lynmouth is you fancy a (much) longer walk or you can simply follow the short circular route bringing you back towards Lynton whilst parking within the Pavilion.  

After the most breath-taking walk arguably in North Devon, why not take a moment to take it all in with a cup of English tea at Mother Meldrum’s café, open during holidays seasons with a selection of homemade treats and the usual café offerings.

Mother Meldrum’s Tea Garden, The Valley of the Rocks, Lee Rd, Lynton EX35 6JH,

01598 753667

Wild goats at the Valley of the Rocks in North Devon
View over cliffs
Coastal view

4 -Morte Point to Bull Point

This gorgeous dog walk through heathland along one of the many rocky fingers of North Devon’s coast is definitely one for the wildlife lovers out there!

Known locally as the seals and smugglers route, we recommend you bring binoculars with you and if you get lucky Atlantic grey seals and porpoise maybe just feet away! Gorse land and heather provide the perfect feeding ground for rare species of butterflies and moths and a variety of birds including kittiwakes and terns.

Morte point itself is responsible for many a shipwreck over the centuries due to its spiny rocks known as ‘Devil’s teeth’ protruding along its narrow point.

This is a great walk for all the family with such an abundance of wildlife to observe. Signs instruct when dogs need to be kept on the lead due to grazing animals or can be let off.

Park at the Mortehoe Village car park, walk down towards North Morte Road. Turn towards Rockham beach for a shorter walk- or carry-on following signs to Bull Point lighthouse for a longer stretch. On both walks ensure the sea is on your right. When you get to Rockham beach (a great unknown secret) why not take the time to enjoy some privacy, this is a great dog-friendly spot place to swim or dip toes and paws, explore caves and rock pools.

Enjoy views over to Morte Point and carry on back to Mortehoe where there are a host of dog-friendly pubs to reward you all for your efforts!

The Ship Aground, The Ship Aground, Mortehoe, Woolacombe EX34 7DT

01271 870856

The Smugglers Rest, North Morte Road, Mortehoe, Woolacombe EX34 7DR

01271 870856

Chichester Arms, Mortehoe, Woolacombe EX34 7DU

01271 870411

Beach view with flowers
Dog walk by coastline
Rocky beach in North Devon

5 – Lynmouth to Watersmeet

Take a dog walk through river and woodland, an enjoyable walk in all weathers and seasons with a variant of tree species providing a rich umbrella of colour across the paths following the fast-flowing river down towards Lynmouth. Butterflies, birds and fish also love this place so keep a keen eye out for those!

There are several walks to do here of varying distance and difficulty all signposted from Watersmeet. We recommend a longer walk along the gorge to Lynmouth where you can also visit the dog-friendly cliff railway (a great photo opportunity!) and take in the stunning scenery along the way but be warned coming back up can be somewhat steep in places, the path between Lynmouth and Watersmeet is around 4 miles total.

For this walk you can park on the Hill by Watersmeet Café or take this route in reverse and start in Lynmouth and walk towards Watersmeet and back!

At the junction of the two fast-flowing moorland rivers, where we suggest you park and begin, you will find the dog-friendly Watersmeet café – worth a visit for its serene setting in itself.

Here we recommend a cream tea whilst absorbing the sounds of the nearby waterfalls and birdsong, heavenly!

National Trust – Watersmeet, Watersmeet House, Watersmeet Rd, Lynmouth EX35 6NT

01598 753348

Waterfalls and river near Watersmeet
Lynmouth cliff railway
Family dog walking

6 – Baggy Point

This area is of SSI status is all about costal scenery and viewpoints, another for the binoculars as at certain times of year you could be privy to spectacle of Grey Seals, Porpoises and bird watching. You may also see keen rock climbers scaling the cliffs and small groups of coasteerers clambering over rocks to dive into the foamy waters below!

Much of this walk involves walking through land where livestock may be grazing so it is recommended dogs are to be kept on lead!

Park at Baggy point NT car park and walk through the field to the rear of the car park, head to the top of Middleborough Hill. Branch right towards the field boundary and follow signs through the fields until you hit the coast path, here take in the dramatic views across Woolacombe beach and beyond.

Turn left on the path and follow it around to Baggy point and then back towards the car park. This path is wide and stable underfoot so accessible to most.

There are a couple of great cafes based near to the car park, we recommend the cakes in Café Croyde Bay, and of course both are welcome dogs!

Cafe Croyde Bay, Baggy Lodge, Croyde ex33 1pa

01271 891200

Sandleigh Tea Room & Garden, Moor Ln, Croyde, Braunton EX33 1PA

01271 890930

Coastal track for dog walks
Dog walking route by farmland
Spectacular view over Baggy Point

7 – Crow Point Braunton Burrows

The Burrows and Crow point is a dog walk for those wishing to escape the bustle and feel the nostalgia of the nautical age with shipwrecks and distant harbour towns reflecting on the often-calmer estuary waters, there is an air of yesteryear to this place (and the smell of abundant samphire does help!)

Drive through Velator from Braunton and you’ll find car parks along the Burrows, there are no set paths or routes on this walk just open opportunity to explore and let your imagination (or paws) run free.

On the other side of the estuary, you’ll view Instow, Appledore and Westward Ho! With the waters running out towards Saunton sands and its 5 miles of sandy beaches!

Dogs are as free as you are to roam and explore so this is a great opportunity for all the family to have a detox from distraction and immerse yourselves in the scenery and nature around.

There are no toilets or shops at Crow point! But Braunton is a short drive and host to a variety of cafes and restaurants for you and your pooch to feed hungry bellies or quench thirsty mouths and take a sheltered moment within.

We recommend

Heart Break Hotel, Unit 4, West Cross, Caen Street, Braunton, Devon, EX33 1AQ – try the donuts and thank us later!

Wild Thyme Cafe, 5 Caen Shopping Centre, Caen Fld, Braunton EX33 1EE – Great options for all tastes including vegans and vegetarians.

01271 815191

Williams Arms, Wrafton, Braunton EX33 2DE – traditional thatched pub, good for a hearty roast next to a fire with plenty of parking on site.

01271 812360

Dog walking over a wooden track
Beach dog walk
Looking out over beach

8 – Lee Bay to Ilfracombe

This gorgeous stretch of the southwest coast path starts and finishes in the seaside village of Lee, this walk is all about coastal views, heathlands, distant lighthouses, and expanses of farmland. Dogs can roam free for the most part when you are free of grazing animals and when not too close to the more rugged paths by the cliff’s edge. This walk just exudes everything North Devon has to offer!

Lee itself is renowned for its fuchsia lined hedges and quaint coastal cottage gardens, it has a beautiful, secluded beach which leads tale to have been the perfect place for smugglers to land their contraband. At low tide you can walk the smuggler’s path yourself, carved through rocks to Sandy Cove Bay, an absolute dreamy bay and the perfect spot for wild swimmers to take a dip! The beach is dog friendly, and leads are not enforced on either beach.

For this route park in Lee village, start by the seafront and walk up towards the derelict old hotel, you will see a sign for the footpath taking you a steep hill, follow the track up until you meet a gate where you will find Coast Path signage to follow to Ilfracombe. This stretch of the coastal path is magnificent, opening onto ‘The Tors’ with a  mix of pasture land and moorland giving a variety of fauna and sea views to enjoy. As you near the harbour town of Ilfracombe you will see the Victorian architecture it was once famous for. We recommend grabbing an ice cream or pasty by the harbour and resting your legs on one of the many local beaches.

You can go on to explore Verity, the unmissable 66-foot sculpture art installation by Damien Hurst and mooch around the town and its many boutique shops before heading back up to The Torrs and following the coastal path to Lee.

When back at Lee we thoroughly recommend The Grampus Inn, this hidden gem is full of character and old-world charm it really is the epitome of a good English pub! Very dog friendly and well known for its vibrant music scene on a Friday night!

Fleur and Mimis, Ilfracombe EX34 9EQ – Provides ice cream for Humans and Doggys!

01271 866850

George and Dragon, Fore St, Ilfracombe EX34 9ED – This is the oldest pub in Ilfracombe dating back to 1360!

01271 863851

The Grampus, The Grampus Inn, Ilfracombe EX34 8LR

01271 862906

Verity statue by Damien Hurst
North Devon coastal village
Traditional harbour in North Devon

9 – Heddon’s Mouth

Heddon Valley is set in the West Exmoor coast between ancient woodlands, cliffs and moorland. The area is SSI and is thus home to a variety of wildlife including rare butterflies and birds and otters. The Woodland path flowing around the River Heddon leading down the valley out towards the sea leads way to some truly spectacular views.

You will need to park in the National Trust car park by the Hunters inn to begin this walk.

With the National Trust shop on your right, head towards the Hunters inn and follow a path to the right on the pub towards Heddon’s Mouth. There are several path options for your dog walk from here, one wide and accessible for most, others longer and narrower so choose a path most suitable for your party.

Dogs are required to wear lead on parts of this walk where livestock may be grazing, signage is in use where applicable.

When you get to Heddon’s Mouth the cove is full of super-sized pebbles! Which are hard underfoot at first but lead to smaller rocks and shingles nearer the water’s edge. Dogs are allowed within the cove all year with no restriction and there is a natural freshwater river leading into the sea.

Head back the way you came and make sure you head to The Hunters inn for a refreshing drink or a selection of great food, we recommend the roast dinner!

This stunning building is bursting with heritage and charm and welcomes dogs with the muddiest of paws!

Look out for the resident peacocks and explore the grounds, they are truly beautiful gardens and the National Trust have created a haven of a natural playground for children at the bottom of the garden.

The Hunters Inn Exmoor, Heddon Valley, Jose’s Ln, Barnstaple EX31 4PY

01598 763230

Heddon Valley
Heddon's Mouth
Country trail for dog walking

Now we have you reaching for the lead, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in North Devon take a look at our luxury dog friendly apartments in North Devon and book online today!

Byron dog guide

To read about the host of local dog friendly beaches available to you in North Devon and for tips on useful pet friendly information whilst in the area, head to our Dog guide.

A dog on a seat in a restaurant

Don’t forget your pooch!

Your pooch will love a holiday to Woolacombe Beach and a stay in one of our fantastic pet-friendly apartments!

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