Dog Akira and foster carer walking in a shady forest

Top 10 forest dog walks

Whatever the weather, a forest walk is a fantastic place for your dog to explore new sights and smells.

Reach sweeping viewpoints across lush woodlands, or go splashing in rivers and shallows. No matter your preferred pace, you and your dog will love these top 10 forest walks across Britain. 

Taking your dog on a forest walk is reinvigorating for both of you. As well as breathing in plenty of fresh air and enjoying beautiful surroundings, your dog will love exploring new smells and sights. During warmer weather, forest walks are also a great way to exercise under the cool cover of shade.


Always check local guidance before visiting.

Top tips for forest adventures

  • Tick checkticks are common in woodland areas, so always check your pet and yourself after a walk
  • Poisonous plants awareness – forests are dense with flora and fauna, including some common poisonous plants. Keep your dog on a lead if you think they may be tempted.
  • Pick up – do not leave dog poo lying around causing a nuisance to others (or in a bag hanging from a tree!). Bag it and bin it.
  • Use a lead – sometimes the responsible thing to do is pop your dog on lead for part of your walk to keep all forest users safe and happy
  • Reliable recall – scents of forest dwelling creatures can be very enticing for dogs to follow. Training a solid recall will prevent your dog chasing wildlife and horses.

Alice Holt, Hampshire

There’s so much to do at Alice Holt, particularly if you have little ones. Spot the Gruffalo and friends on the special themed trail, or enjoy a wander through the wider forest tracks with lots of exciting smells for your dog to sniff. The Lodge Pond trail does get muddy but is a beautiful route. Dogs should be kept on lead near the visitor centre, in the car park, and by the play area.

Facilities: Car park, cafe (with water bowl for dogs), visitor centre, cycle hire, easy access discover trail suitable for wheelchair users, play trail for children

Address: Bucks Horn Oak, Farnham, GU10 4LS

Find out more by visiting the Forestry England website.

Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire

Sherwood Pines is a great place for dogs to scamper about and explore. It’s a top location for wild running too, so why not add this to the list of places to visit if you enjoy Canicross or simply running with your dog. There are lots of different routes to take and walks are well signposted. You may even find Robin Hood’s whetstone.

Facilities: Car park, toilets, accessible toilets, baby changing, cafe with picnic tables, cycle hire. There are no dog poo bins, so pick up and take home

Address: Edwinstowe, Mansfield, NG21 9JL

Find out more by visiting Forestry England - Sherwood Pines.

Forest dog walks - family

Delamere Forest, Cheshire

Easy waymarked walks make Delamere Forest a brilliant day out for families with children or those who are less able to enjoy the great outdoors. One route even has a surfaced path. Top landmark Old Pale provides great views of Liverpool’s skyline while your dog is enjoying a sniff. The lake also makes this a top location for bird enthusiasts.

Facilities: Car park, visitor centre, cafe, picnic area, toilets, accessible toilets

Address: Delamere Forest, Delamere, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW8 2JD

Find out more by visiting Forestry England - Delamere Forest.

Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland

Not only is Kielder England’s largest forest, but it boasts the biggest remaining red squirrel population in the country. It’s a dream for wildlife lovers, as the forest is also home to numerous pairs of breeding osprey, as well as goshawks, buzzards and otters. If you like, you could try the 26-mile long Lakeside Way, but there are many shorter routes too. Due to the sheer size of the forest, you’ll always find a quiet spot to walk your dog.

Facilities: Car park, cafe and visitor centre at Tower Knowe , toilets, baby changing, camp site (seasonal)

Address: Kielder, Hexham, NE48 1ER

Find out more about Kielder Water and Forest Park on the Visit Kielder website. 

Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

For those seeking stunning scenery, you’d be hard pushed to beat Whinlatter Forest. With unrivalled views across the Lake District, wonderful wildlife including red squirrels and osprey to spot, this mountain forest makes for a fantastic dog walk. Dogs are even welcome in the cafe.

Facilities: Car park, toilets, visitor centre, cycle hire, viewpoint, cafe, BBQ area, picnic area, play area

Address: Whinlatter Pass, Keswick, CA12 5TW

Find out more about Whinlatter Forest on the Forestry England website.

Forest dog walks - man with mobility scooter and dog

Bellever Forest, Devon

Dogs will enjoy a great runabout in the woods and a swim or paddle in the East Dart river. Climb all the way up to Bellever Tor if you’re feeling energetic, or enjoy a picnic by the banks of the river if it’s a relaxing day out you’re after. Multiple waymarked trails provide routes for dog walkers of all abilities.

Facilities: Car park, picnic area, toilets

Address: Bellever Forest, Yelverton, Dartmoor, PL20 6TP

Find out more at Forestry England - Bellever Forest

Callendar Wood, Falkirk

Take a walk through history in 500-year-old Callendar Wood. The area is brimming with fascinating finds, including historic paths, a mausoleum and an Iron Age hill fort. In spring, look out for carpets of bluebells, and spot wildlife year round. Well-trodden paths are marked out, with an easy, accessible option taking you on a tour of the park and woods.

Facilities: Car park, toilet, year-round cafe and refreshment kiosk in the summer, play area

Address: Falkirk, FK1 1YR

Find out more by visiting the Forestry and Land Scotland website.

Boden Boo, Renfrewshire

Although not a vast woodland, Boden Boo feels epic, nestled on the banks of the River Clyde. Dogs will love a paddle in the shallows – but be aware of quicksand during wet weather periods. The network of paths makes for a great stroll, but if you’re feeling adventurous you could walk far along the Clyde Walkway – a 40-mile route from start to finish.

Facilities: Car park, picnic area, food and drink available in nearby Erskine

Address: Boden Boo, Erskine, PA8 6AX

Find out more about Boden Boo at Forestry and Land Scotland.

Forest dog walks - couple with dog

Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Gwynedd

There’s so much more to Snowdonia than Mount Snowdon. Coed y Brenin Forest Park routes will take you across rugged mountain terrain, past stunning waterfalls or along rushing rivers, with beautiful views no matter which way you choose. For a challenge try the Volcano Trail, or for a more relaxing day out that is wheelchair-accessible, follow the blue waymarkers on the Afon Eden Trail.

Facilities: Car park, visitor centre, depending on your starting point you may enjoy a cafe, picnic spots and BBQ areas

Address: Coed Y Brenin Visitor Centre Dolgefeiliau, Ganllwyd, Dolgellau, LL40 2HZ

Find out more by visiting the Natural Resources Wales website.

Afan Forest Park, Neath Port Talbot

With 14 waymarked circular walks, there’s a route for everyone to enjoy as you stroll or hike through this beautiful valley. Make your way along disused railway line, enjoy panoramic views or explore the ruins of 18th century Gyfylchi Chapel. Movie buffs will love the Richard Burton trail, taking you through his childhood haunts and past the celebrated actor’s birthplace.

Facilities: Car parks, toilets, cafe and cycle hire at the visitor centre, picnic area

Address: Afan Forest Park, Port Talbot, SA13 3HG

Find out more about Afan Forest Park on the Natural Resources Wales website.

— Page last updated 24/04/2023