If there’s one place in the UK that’s more dog-friendly than any other, it’s Cornwall. It’s the most popular UK holiday destination for dog owners, up there with the Lake District. However, in Cornwall, you get to experience coastal meets countryside, unlike most spots in the north.
At any outdoor space you choose to visit, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll come across another dog walker and their pooch. It’s such a friendly place too so expect to make plenty of friends, even during a short stay in the area.
We’ve compiled a list of five of our favourite dog walks in Cornwall, ranging from a two mile walk to an 18 mile stretch between local towns. There’s plenty of woodland, parkland, and beaches to explore in Cornwall.
Mount Edgcombe and the Rame Peninsula, Cremyll, Torpoint
This 2 mile walk is perfect for dogs who love to be off their lead in the countryside. However, they will need to stay on their leads around the deer park and the formal gardens. Head to the Barrow Centre, which is considered the start/finish point of this walk.
It’s a relatively easy walk, with mostly pathways on the route but there is a gentle slope at one part of the walk. Be aware that it is a multi-use trail, with walkers sharing it with cyclists and horse-riders. It’s a fully accessible walk too with a tarmacked road and hard-surfaced tracks, perfect for wheelchair users.
When you’re done walking, head to the on-site cafe. It’s very dog-friendly, with a lovely menu of burgers, enchiladas, flatbreads and paninis on offer. They also serve a breakfast menu between 10am and 11am, ideal for early-risers, fuel for before or after your walk.
You can make this walk a full day outing as the Barrow Centre hosts independent shops, an alpaca experience, mountain bike and scooter hire, disc golf, as well as the cafe. This walk is home to Mount Edgcombe, the UK’s largest country park and also hosts plenty of festivals and events during the summer. If you’d rather go at a quieter time, it could be worth visiting on non-event days.
Harlyn Bay to Padstow
If you’re looking for a challenging walk in Cornwall, look no further than the 6.7 mile stretch between Haryln Bay and Padstow. This route mostly follows the South West Coastal Path but there are some small inclines along the way. However, for those with energetic dogs, this long walk could be perfect for you.
En route, you’ll find two beaches at Harlyn and Trevone, as well as three sheltered beaches: Hawker’s Cove, Harbour Cove, and George’s Cove. All are perfect as a pit-stop during a longer walk. Don’t forget to pack some snacks for along the way! Beaches during the summer often don’t allow dogs, even on a lead, so be sure to check before setting off.
The best way to take on this walk is to drive to Padstow to park up, take the bus to Harlyn, before making your way along the coastal path back to Padstow. The historic fishing village and harbour at Padstow are a perfect end destination, with plenty of choice of eateries here, with fish and chip shops/restaurants taking centre stage! There’s lots of dog-friendly pubs here too so take your pick of food.
Padstow is a very popular destination in Cornwall so it might be best to avoid it on summer weekend afternoons. However, if that’s the only time you can walk your dog for a long period of time, you can definitely find some quieter spots.
Idless Woods, Truro
About two miles north of Truro lies Idless Woods, where there are four different areas of woodlands for you and your dog to explore! The longest walk is six miles; however, there are lots of shorter walks. Follow the paved circular path around the outside of the woods for an easier route, perfect for those dogs (and humans) who aren’t a fan of mud.
If you choose the six mile route, be aware that there are a few small hills to climb up and down here. That’s why investing in a decent pair of walking boots is a necessity for dog walkers, especially those living in the countryside. Following the hills, there is a stream at the end of the woods too, which you can follow from the car park.
The best thing about Idless Woods is that it’s a very popular dog-walking area. Expect to see lots of other dogs and dog walkers on this walk. If your dog isn’t comfortable around other dogs, we’d suggest finding another walk.
Because it’s so dog-friendly, the communal areas are too. The newly-built cafe on-site even gives free treats out to pooches so they’ll be as happy as a clam here. There is a large car park so plenty of space to clean up before travelling home.
The Camel Trail, Padstow
If you’re looking for an all-day walk, the Camel Trail from Padstow to Bodmin is an 18 mile stretch, not for the faint-hearted! Whilst you can do the full stretch if you’re particularly active, there are plenty of entry and exit points along the route to just do a shorter walk. Because of the distance, it’s a popular route with cyclists, and you can hire bikes from all four stop-points listed below.
The three smaller routes are Padstow to Wadebridge (5.5 miles), Wadebridge to Bodmin (5.75 miles) and Bodmin to Wenfordbridge (6.25 miles). Each of these routes would be a decent dog walk on a summer’s day so don’t feel like you’d be the only person doing the shorter walks.
For all routes, you’ll walk along the disused railway line and the Camel Estuary (nothing to do with the animal, it comes from the Cornish word for elbow). It’s very popular during the summer so nip into a local pub or cafe during your walk. There are plenty to find along the way!
Trelissick Gardens, Truro
For those of you who prefer a self-contained walk inside a National Trust park, Trelissick Gardens in Truro is the perfect spot for you and your dog. Whilst dogs are allowed in the woodlands, parkland, shop and cafe, only assistance dogs are allowed in the main gardens. However, with so much green space to explore, you can still have a lovely walk!
The walk around the woodlands is around 2.5 miles, ideal for a summer morning or afternoon, but there is a longer route of 4.7 miles, that takes you to Roundwood Quay and back.
Here, it’s coastal meets countryside, with estuary views, open parkland and beaches, as well as tonnes of grassy areas for picnics. It’s also an ideal spot for wildlife watching, especially for birds, so make sure dogs are on leads around these areas.
There’s also an incredible second-hand bookshop on site, one of the largest across National Trust parks so don’t forget to pack a tote bag for any bargains you snap up! What’s even more incredible is that all proceeds made here go back into conservation projects across Trelissick Gardens.
Cornwall is a hotspot for walking for humans and dogs so if you’re looking for a UK break for the summer, get booking now! You can tell that the area is dog-friendly when so many cafes, pubs and shops allow dogs inside too. With such friendly people, beautiful views in the countryside and on the beaches, and lots of sights to explore, Cornwall is the perfect destination for a change of scenery for your dog walks.