Two ladies walk their dogs though an autumnal scene

Top 10 forest dog walks

Woods and forests are lots of fun and provide a great opportunity to enjoy adventures or simply a leisurely stroll with your dog. No matter the time of year, you never know what terrific sights await you around each twist and turn of a woodland path. To help you and your four-legged friend explore the great outdoors, we’ve put together our favourite forest locations for dog walks across Britain…

[Photos courtesy of the Forestry Commission]

Top tips for forest adventures

  • Tick check. Ticks are common in woodland areas, so always check your pet and yourself after a walk.
  • Pick up. Don’t leave dog poo lying around causing a nuisance to others (or in a bag hanging from a tree!). Bag it and bin it.
  • Take the 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.
  • Total 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.

Is there a car park? Yes, with dog poo bins. Charges apply.

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

Find out more and plan your visit here.


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.

Is there a car park? Yes, charges apply. There are no poo bins, so pick up and take home.

Facilities: Toilets, baby changing, café with picnic tables, cycle hire

Find out more and plan your visit here.

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.

Is there a car park? Yes, charges apply

Facilities: Café, picnic area, toilets

Find out more and plan your visit here.

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 the only breeding osprey in the county, 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.

Is there a car park? Yes, charges apply

Facilities: Café and information at Kielder Castle, toilets, baby changing, camp site (seasonal)

Find out more and plan your visit here.

Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

For those seeking stunning scenery, you’d be hard pushed to beat Winlatter. With unrivalled viewed 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 café.

Is there a car park? Yes, charges apply

Facilities: Toilets, visitor centre, cycle hire, viewpoint, café, BBQ area, picnic area

Find out more and plan your visit here.

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. Four waymarked trails provide routes for every ability of dog walker.

Is there a car park? Yes, charges apply

Facilities: Picnic area

Find out more and plan your visit here.

Callendar Wood, Falkirk

Take a walk through history in 500-year-old Callendar Wood. The area is brimming with fascinating findings, 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, or why not make your own adventure and see where your dog’s nose takes you!

Is there a car park? Yes

Facilities: Toilet, year-round café and refreshment kiosk in the summer

Find out more and plan your visit here.

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 do beware 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.

Is there a car park? Yes

Facilities: Picnic area

Find out more and plan your visit here.

Forest dog walks - couple with dog

Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Gwynedd

There’s so much more to Snowdonia than Mount Snowdon. Choose one or master many of the trails in 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, park at Pont Llam yr Ewig for the all ability trail.

Is there a car park? Yes, a few!

Facilities: Depending on your starting point you may enjoy a café, picnic spots and BBQ areas

Find out more and plan your visit here.

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.

Is there a car park? Yes, a few. Charges apply at the visitor centre car park

Facilities: Toilets, café and cycle hire at the visitor centre

Find out more and plan your visit here.

— Page last updated 08/04/2020

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