Seven great places to walk your dog in Suffolk and North Essex
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Are you looking for somewhere different to take your dog for a walk? Here’s a selection of seven great places to explore with your four-legged friend in Suffolk and north Essex.
Dunwich Heath: This lovely wild area, owned by the National Trust, is close to the Minsmere Bird Reserve. The whole site is dog-friendly, but pets do need to be on a lead at certain times of year to protect rare ground-nesting birds, so look out for signs. They can always go off the lead on the “Woof Walk” and also on the beach. There are water bowls and taps near all the buildings, and dog bins in several places. The tearoom also has a dog-friendly area with dog treats available. You do need to check your pet for ticks after a walk on the heath, and tick remover kits are available on site. Download the Woof guide to Dunwich Heath for more details.
Orwell Country Park, Nacton, Ipswich: There are many parks around Ipswich which are great places to take dogs, but if you are looking for a wilder area, this park covering nearly 470 acres next to the Orwell estuary is ideal. It includes Bridge Wood and Braziers Wood as well the Piper’s Vale nature reserve. There are several trails to follow, including one down to the Nacton shores where your pet can paddle. There are lot of dog bins provided. If you are walking through the Pond Hall Farm area, this is a working farm, so you need to stick to the footpaths and keep your dog on a lead. You can download a leaflet about the park, including a map, here.
Pin Mill, near Ipswich: One of the most beautiful areas of countryside near Ipswich is at Pin Mill, on the banks of the Orwell. You can walk through woodland and heathland, and your dog can also enjoy a dip. The Butt and Oyster pub welcomes dogs, so you can have a meal with your pet. You can download details of a dog-friendly Autumn Harvest Walk (also good at other times of year) from the National Trust. There is also a Suffolk Coast and Heaths leaflet with details of a long and short walk, which are both suitable for dogs although they do need to be kept under close control.
Hardwick Heath, Bury St Edmunds: Covering 55 acres, this open space is popular with dog walkers because you can let your pet off the lead here. There are many different routes you can follow, both long and short. Facilities here include a children’s playground, a picnic area and toilets.
Rendlesham Forest: This forest close to Woodbridge is an extremely popular place to take dogs for a walk, with a number of signposted walking trails. The UFO trail where the famous sighting was reported in 1980 is a good walk to do with your dog. There are also many activities and trails for families here, as well as picnic tables and a playground.
Lavenham: The beautiful historic village of Lavenham is a great place to go walking. Suffolk County Council manages the Lavenham Walk, which follows a section of the old railway line between Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds. This route goes through a fantastic wildlife haven, so dogs need to be kept under close control along the way. For more details, download a walk leaflet.
High Woods Country Park, Colchester: This Essex beauty spot includes a lake, woodland and wild flower meadows. It is a great place to walk your dog, offering open access, although dogs do have to be on leads in the grassed area around the lake between June and September. Dogs also need to be on leads in the car parks. There are a number of dog bins around the park, and waste bags are available at the visitor centre. For more details on dog walking in the country park, see the park’s website.
Remember to take water and a bowl with you and never to leave your dog in the car, as they can quickly become dangerously overheated even if you don’t think the weather is very hot. Also, following any woodland walk in autumn, you need to be aware of the risk of Seasonal Canine Illness, and contact your vet immediately if you suspect signs of the disease.