21 great dog walks to enjoy in East Anglia for National Dog Day
- Credit: Katie Kershaw
National Dog Day is coming up on bank holiday Monday, August 26. East Anglia is full of wonderful places to take your best friend for an outing. Here are 21 great spots to explore.
Snape to Iken
Suffolk's East coast has many great stretches where you can walk your dog.
Dog lover Katie Kershaw, who roams the shore with her pet Dixon, writes: "I think one of my favourite dog walks is from Snape Maltings to Iken Church, with the option to park in the picnic site at Iken if you don't want such a long walk.
"You have to watch the tides as you can't get through on the 'beach' if the tide is too high. It's great for wildlife lovers too. "
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This unspoilt area is another favourite with Katie Kershaw and Dixon. Katie writes: ""The other incredible walk is at Covehithe on the coast. Park on the side of the road and take the footpath opposite the church to the beach. Then enjoy a seemingly endless stretch of golden sand. You can walk to Benacre and then back to the car along the cliff path if you prefer a circular walk."
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The sandy beach does not have many facilities and is only accessible by foot, but is popular with dog walkers because it is so secluded and quiet. It has featured in "best beach" lists.
Still with beaches, Southwold is a favourite spot with many dog walkers. Dogs are banned from a signposted area on the main beach in Southwold during the main season, until September 30, but they are allowed at Denes Beach off Ferry Road, which is just to the north of the main Southwold beach. The main beach is also popular with dog-walkers out of season.
Laura Summers, whose minature dachshund Hector has built a big following on Instagram, said one of his favourite things to do was "going to the beach for walks, especially Southwold and Aldeburgh."
Emily Gilbert said: "Jake, our "Beaffy" (beagle-Staffy cross" loves a seaside walk, and maybe a chip or two. Southwold next!"
While there are restrictions on the main Felixstowe beach until September, there are many other areas you can enjoy with your pet, including Old Felixstowe and the Fludyers.
Bernadette Mooney said: "My dog Bailey is a Shih Tzu and is five years old. We like to walk along the Dip in Old Felixstowe."
And Shanice Pilkington's pet, Darcy, "loves a walk along Felixstowe Viewpoint and the nature reserve near the Fort." Jo Wells's dogs, Paddy and Milo, are also fans of the Grove in Felixstowe, while Holly Alderson said on Facebook: "Poppy loves to walk along the beach at Felixstowe or just run around at our local park".
Chantelle Clarke has a pug puppy called George who is also a fan of seaside walks in the area.
"George is 19 weeks old and he is an absolute bundle of joy," she said. "We never wanted a pug, but my nine-year-old son had been asking for years. And I now have to say it's the best thing we ever did.
"We love walks down to the Felixstowe Viewpoint and the Grove.
Chantelle added: "Also, we love taking George to Jimmy's Farm at Wherstead. He loves seeing all the animals, and on our recent trip he found a dummy, which is his new favourite toy! I could talk about him for hours. He's adorable."
With around 1,000 acres of park and woodland, Sheringham Park is a National Trust site that's great for both dogs and their owners. Dogs can be allowed off their lead in many areas, as long as they are kept under control, although there are some parts where they do need to be on a lead. Drinking bowls and hitching posts are supplied around the visitor centre.
Twitter user Ken Sturman chose this site as his favourite spot, saying: "Sheringham Park has lovely and varied walks."
Also on Twitter, Nicki Bramford said: "Our dog Indy loves walks at Sheringham Park, Gorleston-on-Sea beach, Whitlingham Lake,and Framlingham. Spoilt for choice."
Another popular National Trust walk is the Flatford and Constable Country trail around the Dedham Vale, You can find a map of the trail on the trust's website.
Myra Lynne Sandifer is a big fan of the National Trust, and said: "I love walking Miley at Flatford. It is such a dog-friendly place."
Still with the National Trust, the parkland in the Blickling estate near Aylsham includes hundreds of acres of woodland and countryside to explore, and there are various waymarked routes.
Dogs are also welcome in the farmyard outdoor area. However, the trust does ask for dogs to be kept under close control because livestock roam freely, and they need to be on a lead when in the when in the car park, farmyard picnic area and around the lake.
Brandon Country Park and Thetford Forest
On the Suffolk-Norfolk border, Brandon Country Park has many trails to enjoy amid its 37 acres of countryside and woodland. Dogs need to be kept on a lead in the park, but once you get into nearby Thetford Forest they can go off the lead, although they do still need to be kept under close control.
Thetford's Warren Lodge and Great Hockham near Watton, where there is a popular picnic site, are other great places for dog walks nearby.
Whitlingham Country Park
This is a very popular spot for dog walks, with a circular walk around the lake which includes a great mix of woodlands and wetlands as well as meadows. Dogs will need to be kept on leads in some areas - there is a map on the park's website. The woodlands are ideal if you are looking for a more demanding dog walk, but be aware that the paths get a bit steep at times.
Orwell Country Park and Nacton Shores, Ipswich
Covering nearly 470 acres, this wild area next to the Orwell estuary 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 dogs can paddle. If you are walking through the Pond Hall Farm area, you need to stick to the footpaths and keep your dog on a lead.
James Robinson said on Facebook: "Domino loves the fore shore around Nacton and running off into the woods."
Another dog walker, Lindsay Wright, said: "Ruby loves walks through Pond Hall Farm and along the shore."
Melanie Robinson-King said her whippet, Nutmeg, "enjoys enjoys her walks at The Dales in Ipswich or Nacton Shores."
There are also many other great walks in the Ipswich area. Wendy Quantrill said: "My dog Lola enjoys the walk over Fynn Valley, between Tuddenham Fountain and Ipswich Rugby Club."
This lesser-known beach in north Norfolk is great for dogs, who are welcome all year round with no restrictions. Waxham beach sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty, so there's lots for you to enjoy as well as your dog. Nearby Sea Palling is also popular but does have dog restrictions in a marked zone until September.
Holt Country Park
With a mix of Scots pines and native broadleaves, this park on the edge of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a great place to visit with your best friend. There are various waymarked routes and the park is ideal to let your dog off the lead for some exploring. A visitor centre, toilets and refreshments are among the facilities.
Hadleigh Railway Walk
This popular walk around the old rail line includes old railway track-bed, roads, meadows and a field-edge path. There are three stiles and it can be muddy in places.
A leaflet is available to download from Hadleigh Town Council website with details of six walks, including the railway trail.
Dog walker Dawn Smith said: "The railway walk is absolutely beautiful, and we also have the river walk in Hadleigh that is lovely."
Pin Mill and the Shotley peninsula
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. 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.
Camilla Hall said her dog, Hamish, "enjoys a rest and a drink at Pin Mill after a long walk to Freston and back!" Another favourite walk for Camilla and Hamish is around Woolverstone and Chelmondiston, on the Shotley peninsula.
Knettishall Country Park and Heath
This ancient heathland area near Thetford, which was chosen by the Dogs Trust as one of its favourite dog walking spots in Norfolk, has riverside areas, woodland and trails for the whole family to explore. Knettishall Country Park has picnic areas and toilets, and is perfect if your dog enjoys the water. It is also a starting point for several longer walking routes, including the famous Peddars Way.
This area is much quieter than the main Hunstanton beach, and with none of the restrictions. You can walk your dog on Old Hunstanton beach to your heart's content. There are also a couple of dog friendly pubs you can pop into when you and your pet are tired from all that walking.
Hardwick Heath, Bury St Edmunds
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, of varying lengths. Facilities here include a children's playground, a picnic area and toilets. There is a charge for parking.
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, with plenty of places to explore and exciting smells between the trees, although they do have to be on leads in the grassed area around the lake until September, and also in the car park all year round. Be aware that dogs are not allowed in the lake or ponds.
Wells and Holkham
These neighbouring beaches are dog-friendly, with beautiful scenery and plenty of places to explore, although there is a small, signposted area of Wells beach which is kept dog free. You also need to keep in mind that parts of the beach are within the Holkham National Nature Reserve, so be sure to follow the costal code and keep your pet under close supervision.
There are several different walking trails around the forest to choose from, with the UFO trail - around the site of the famous incident in 1980 - being especially popular. At times, walking trails do cross over cycle trails, so you will need to keep a close eye on your dog at these points. You can download maps from the Rendlesham Forest website.
Waldringfield and banks of the Deben
There are many quieter walks to through countryside to discover around the region, including this idyllic walk around the river in Suffolk. Tony Stone said on Facebook: "The circuit between Waldringfield Maybush, Newbourne Fox and Hemley village has it all. Fields, woods and shoreline, our Deacon loves it."
Southwold Sausage Walk set to return
A special walk for dachshunds, the Southwold Sausage Walk, is set to take place on Saturday, October 6,
The popular walk regularly pulls in around 500 sausage dogs and their human companions from all over East Anglia and beyond.
It was originally set up by Laura Baggott and Sarah Baggott in 2017. Laura's dog Percy, a miniature smooth Dachshund, suffered with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) which is by far the most common health problem for dachshunds in the UK.
Around one in four may be affected at some stage in their lives. So, they decided to launch the Southwold Sausage Walk, to raise awareness of the disease, but also to support as many dog charities as possible throughout the region.
The Southwold Sausage walk is fast becoming Europe's biggest sausage dog walk - celebrities Ant and Dec donated a prize last year!
For more details, search for Southwold sausage walk on Facebook.