Dog-friendly Dorset rambles
With an abundance of seaside strolls, hilltop hikes and woodland walks all within shooting distance, Burnbake is perfectly placed for you and your pooch to head out on adventures in the fresh Dorset air. We have rounded up our favourite walks around the county, where the whole family can enjoy some of Dorset’s best locations together.
We’re starting our journey through dog-friendly Dorset very close to Burnbake, at splendid Studland Bay. Dogs are welcome all year round at this famous seaside spot and are free to roam off-lead on the beaches between from October to April.
For a route with your pooch that is as lovely as it is leisurely, park in the South Beach car park and following this wonderful circular walking route, which takes you past the dog-friendly Bankes Arms pub if you fancy a bite. Keep an eye out for the iconic Old Harry Rock formations, a group of dazzling chalk towers jutting out of the sea. You may be lucky enough to spot soaring birds of prey, such as local peregrine falcons, whilst your four-legged friend scampers through the delicate grassland flowers which pepper the clifftop.
Just a short, 10 minute drive from Burnbake, Studland Bay and its scenic coastal views are too charming to miss on your next staycation.
Highcliffe Castle Beach
This lesser-known beach is one of Dorset’s hidden gems and is perfect for wildlife lovers, as it is considered a Site of Special Scientific Interest and dogs are welcomed off lead on the beach area all year round.
Park next to Highcliffe Castle, where you’ll be able to stay for up to four hours, and explore the zigzag path that leads the way to this gorgeous, sandy haven. Whilst your pup frolics in the sand, you can enjoy the delightful views of Hengistbury Head and on a clear day you may even be able to spot the Isle of Wight in the distance. If you’ve worked up an appetite after your walk, don’t miss the delicious Paddle Café, where the pancakes are amongst the best in Dorset and canine companions are also welcome.
Lulworth Cove and the Fossil Forest
Lulworth is a world-famous beauty spot, and a visit to the beautiful cove and village will tell you why! Panoramic views and crystal-clear waters await visitors, and each season brings its own unique delights to the area. There are many different walking routes around Lulworth, where you can take in the area’s many iconic features, such as Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Lulworth Castle, White Nothe and the Fossil Forest.
One of our favourite routes follows the 2-mile route around Lulworth Cove along the South West Coast Path, venturing through the stunning Fossil Forest. The unique structures were formed 140 million years ago, when dinosaurs once roamed the cypress forest.
If you and your pooch are looking for an adventure that is a little more challenging, then be sure to visit National Trust-owned Golden Cap. As the highest point on the South coast, you’re assured of some stunning views along the Jurassic Coast and out to Lyme Bay when you reach the top!
We’d recommend parking in Seatown and taking this circular route where you’ll have the opportunity to stop for a well-deserved break at the Anchor Inn, a dog-friendly pub where you can sample many Dorset-brewed fine ales.
The writer and poet Thomas Hardy was somewhat of an ambassador for Dorset’s magnificent countryside, and it’s easy to understand why. Next to Hardy’s Birthplace, near Dorchester, you and your pooch can discover Black Heath and Rushy Pond, which form part of the Thorncombe Wood Nature Reserve.
You may even be lucky enough to encounter Black Heath’s very own four-legged residents: Dartmoor ponies. Your dog will love bounding along the many enchanting woodland pathways, along with exploring the ancient Roman road that runs through Thorncombe Wood, connecting the Badbury Rings hill fort with the nearby Puddletown Forest.