Discover 10 dog walking routes in Suffolk. Coastal, country and woodlands; off lead-walks for your dog in Suffolk.
Joanne White, the founder of We Love Pets, a pet walking, sitting and doggy daycare service, shares her favourite 10 dog-friendly walks in Suffolk.
Dunwich Heath and Beach
Owned by the National Trust and close to RSPB Minsmere, this is a lovely wild area along the Dunwich coastline. Dunwich Heath is dog friendly, but between March and August dogs will need to be on-lead. However, they can go off-lead on the ‘Woof Walk’, and the beach is a year-round lead-free zone.
The tearoom serves doggie treats and has a dog-friendly area, as well as water taps and bowls being provided near all the buildings. Make sure you check your dog for ticks after a walk on the heath.
Another coastline walk, this route provides lovely sea views and you’ll be able to visit the Scallop sculpture on the beach. Dogs are allowed on the beach after you reach the bollards and beach shelter when walking north at The Wentworth Hotel. Keep walking down this path until you reach a footpath sign, which you should follow until you reach a junction. Turn left here and carry on until you reach some houses, where you should then follow the path left and follow the yellow footpath sign through the fence into the Church Farm Holiday Park.
Please make sure your dog is on a lead here. Follow the road through the centre of the holiday park, then exit either through the main gate or the staggered gap in the fence beyond, cross over and then turn left. You’ll reach another junction, and follow the sign for the town centre, back to The Wentworth Hotel.
Rendlesham Forest, Woodbridge
There are several trails within Rendlesham, but we recommend the UFO trail, which is great for all ages and dog friendly. This trail will take you through forest, heathland and wetlands and also connects to locations connected with the famous UFO incident in 1980.
Keep in mind that this trail occasionally crosses over cycling trails, so you may need to keep your dog on a lead at these sites if your dog loves to chase.
Pinned as an Area of Natural Beauty and providing plenty of space for dogs to let off some steam, this area is often called Constable Country after the famous painter.
The start of the trail begins over the bridge on Dedham Road, at the Public footpath to E. Bergholt & Flatford sign. Follow the river for around 0.2 miles before cutting across the field, reaching the Dedham Vale sign, then go through the gate and follow the tree-lined path. Then turn right and over the bridge, right again, following the river and reaching a gate to the next field. Cut through this and follow the paths – make sure to put your dog back on a lead here as there is a busy street ahead, where the trail ends.
Priestley Wood, Ipswich
A beautiful example of East Anglia’s ancient woodlands, including a diverse range of fauna and flora, such as the rare native wild pear tree. You may want to keep your dog on a lead if they are prone to chasing. Nearby is Barking and Needham Lake, both picturesque. Try out the Barking and Back Again route, a circular 5.5-mile walk beginning at Needham Market railway station.
Ickworth, Bury St Edmunds
Ickworth House is a stunning National Trust property, with a range of walks and colour coded paths to explore. Dogs must be kept on a lead here, and you may freely walk around the parkland and woods. Sheep graze here during some parts of the year, but during a small part of the walk.
Porter’s Lodge is an outdoor dog friendly café located onsite, with water bowls located here and at the West Wing.
Try the Warrener’s Walk route through the Brecks, which takes you through the forest and back in time as you learn about the history of warrening in this area all the way back to the Middle Ages. By the Warrener’s Lodge is where the earliest evidence of human activity in Britain was found. However, this walk is not just for history buffs as it also provides some lovely scenery.
The walk is clearly marked with information panels along the route. Be aware that there is wildlife in these working woods, so you may need to keep your dog on a lead and some parts may be blocked off for operational reasons or events.
Brandon Country Park
Brandon Country Park offers four different dog walking trails of varying lengths, and the park flows seamlessly into Thetford Forest. Within the park and trails dogs must be kept on leads, or under very close control. When in the forest however, dogs are allowed off-lead, as long as they are under control.
The Firecrest trail will take you past the allegedly haunted gothic mausoleum, where it is said Baron Boretto, nephew of the man who built the mausoleum, is haunting.
Knettishall Heath, owned by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, offers four trails that are best for dog walkers. Two of these trails run by the river, whereas the other two routes go through woodlands. These trails avoid areas where there are ground-nesting birds. The Pine trail allows dogs to be off-lead all year round, but dogs must be kept on a lead between March and the end of July on the other three routes. There is also the Hounds of the Heath community dog walking group, that walks in Knettishall Heath.
Framlingham Mere is a large nature reserve managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, featuring wet meadows and a lake with Framlingham’s 12th century castle providing a beautiful backdrop. The trail runs along the public footpaths, joining the footpaths together by crossing over the bridges. This is a short walk, and you can also explore the market town and medieval castle. Dogs must be kept on a lead when on the Mere.
Jo White set up We Love Pets in 2007 to provide a professional dog walking and dog boarding service for customers busy at work or away on holiday. WLP have looked after thousands of dogs, cats and other animals and moved its HQ from Wiltshire to the Norfolk/Suffolk border earlier this year.
She said: “There are so many gorgeous places around this part of the world that are stunningly beautiful and perfect for walking a dog. With the coast nearby and varied landscape elsewhere, there’s so much for you and your pet to explore – it’s no surprise that we have moved our home and business to this part of the world with all of this countryside on the doorstep.”
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