Dogs on the Coast Path
Taking your dog on the Coast Path
The South West Coast Path is a great place to take your dog for a walk. They are permitted on the entire path, and providing that you look after them in a responsible way to avoid disturbing livestock and wildlife or causing a nuisance to other walkers, you will be welcomed.
To help you both make the most out of your walk, we asked Steve Jenkinson from the Kennel Club for his advice on how to keep your dog happy and safe and you can see his top tips on our video. We've also recommendations for particularly good dog walks (those with a dog friendly pub and beach) and you can find these using the Walkfinder tool.
Looking after your dog’s safety & well-being
The Coast Path is a great place for a dog with lots of exciting smells and things that they would love to chase. However, unfortunately every year there are incidences where dogs end up running over cliff edges (rabbits know where to stop), or chase farm animals over a cliff. So for their safety and yours, here are Stephen’s top tips for walking the Coast Path with your dog:
- Always keep your dog in sight; use a lead if you don’t have a reliable recall.
- Carry water for your dog – they can easily get dehydrated in summer. Collapsible travel bowls are available, but I use a clean poo bag!
- Keep your dog away from cliff edges – they are often loose and home to rabbits.
- Clip on a short lead around sheep, cows and horses, irrespective of how well trained your dog is. It’s safer for everyone.
- If you feel threatened by cattle, unclip the lead so you can get away separately.
- Don’t let your dog run up to other people uninvited – not everyone likes dogs. People have stepped out of the way of dogs on cliffs with fatal consequences.
- Always bag it and bin it wherever you are. Otherwise you give all dog owners a bad name and can pass on diseases to people and farm animals.
- Ensure your dog has a name tag and is micro-chipped so you can be easily reunited if your dog gets lost. If on holiday, have a temporary tag with your contact on it.
- In areas of mining heritage be aware there may be uncapped mineshafts hidden in the undergrowth near the path, so keep your dog close.
- Occasionally white, waxy lumps of palm oil is washed up on beaches, which can be harmful if eaten by dogs - see Beachwise for advice.
- Dogs die in hot cars, especially as the sea breeze makes you think it’s cooler than it really is.
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme
If you would like to learn more about how to look after and train your dog we recommend you join one of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme courses that are run throughout the UK. For details see the Kennel Club website.
Dog friendly beaches
On some beaches dogs are banned during the summer. Where the Coast Path crosses a beach with a dog ban there will be a way to cross it with your dog - normally this is along the back of the beach, above the high tide mark. Where this is the case, please keep your dog on a lead, do not linger, and keep to the line of the Coast Path or signed alternative route.
On many of the more rural and quieter beaches that can be reached from the Coast Path, dogs are welcome all year round - but even here, to avoid contaminating the bathing water, and it being a hazard to children playing, if your dog fouls on a beach, please pick it up and dispose of it in a bin.
The Good Dog Guide has a list of Devon's Dog Friendly beaches.
Visitsomerset.co.uk has some information about dogs on West Somerset beaches.
Finally Dorset's dog friendly beaches are listed at visit-dorset.com
Dog friendly accommodation
An increasing number of places now welcome both you and your dog to stay. Accomodation is listed on our site next to each sof our walk pages. Or, you could also search for somewhere to stay using our Accomodation Finder button on the right.