River Exe in Exeter

Dog-friendly walks in Exeter

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Attention all four-legged adventurers and their trusty human companions! If you're sniffing around for the best dog-friendly walks in Exeter, you've reached the right place. From gentle meanders to challenging treks, Exeter's network of trails has something to get every tail wagging.  

So, get your lead ready, pack some treats, and let's explore some of the best canine-friendly walks in Exeter and its surroundings.

1. Riverside Valley Park

1. Riverside Valley Park

This picturesque 98-hectare park offers an easy jaunt for tiny paws and older legs alike. Follow the River Exe and watch your fur-baby make a splash in the plentiful ponds! There’s parking at Bromham’s Farm, or Haven Banks, if you’re willing to walk a little further. 

The hillier parts of the park offer great views from across rolling, buttercup-strewn meadows, as well as waterside trails and plenty of birdlife to observe (you might want to keep duck-chasers on the lead!) 

2. Exeter Green Circle

For those seeking a moderate challenge, this 12-mile loop offers a fine sampling of Exeter's landscapes. Woodlands, meadows, and historic surprises such as Little John’s Cross, a 15th-century route marker, and Countess Wear Mill. 

Divided into five sections, each with its own helpful guide provided by Exeter City Council, the Green Circle encapsulates the best of Exeter walks. Watch out for kingfishers and otters! 

3. Haldon Forest Park

3. Haldon Forest Park

For a wilder experience beneath the trees, drive ten miles south of Exeter to Haldon Forest Park where pine-scented woodland awaits. 

Elevate your dog-walking game, quite literally. A mosaic of hilly trails for all levels, this woodland preserve guarantees a fun-filled romp. Mountain bikers will find plenty of bike trails here too, graded by skill level, so watch out for those daredevils when you’re walking! 

4. Mincinglake Valley Park

Winding through a beautiful valley, this is among the top dog walks in Exeter. It’s remarkable to note that this was once a waste tipping area, which has since been protected, preserving its wild and natural character, and providing a haven for wildlife. 

You’ll be able to let your dog off the lead on this 47-acre site to play fetch on the meadows or dabble in the brooks. 

5. Exe Estuary Trail

5. Exe Estuary Trail

If you’re a lover of seabirds and salt spray, this could be the doggy ramble for you. The Exe Estuary Trail runs for 17 or so miles from Exmouth to Dawlish, via Exeter, as well as being part of National Cycle Route 2. Choose between the western or eastern sides of the estuary – both routes have plenty to see. 

With stunning estuary views, your dog's nose will be in overdrive and human birdwatchers might spot a Slavonian grebe, kingfisher, or heron along the way. 

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6. Ludwell Valley Park

Just three miles southeast of Exeter City Centre, Ludwell Valley Park is one of six green spaces preserved by Devon Wildlife Trust. It’s one of the most beautiful spots to walk your hound in Exeter, with miles of wooded trail, open meadows, and cherry orchards. 

Pynes Hill provides the most stunning vistas, and a wander alongside Northbrook stream trail is highly recommended. There are sniffs aplenty for your faithful, four-legged friend! 

7. Double Locks Canal Path

7. Double Locks Canal Path

A classic among the dog walks in Exeter, this well-maintained path is highly accessible, with plenty of waterside sights for human and canine alike. Start at the southern side of Exeter Quay and head south along the Exeter Ship Canal. 

Leave time to stop for a meal or a drink at the pretty Double Locks pub and watch the rowing boats and kayaks glide past as you sup and dine. It’s a traditional, dog-friendly venue with a large beer garden and indoor seating for when the rain pours down. 

8. St Thomas Pleasure Ground

For those days when a quick, refreshing walk is on the cards, this well-tended city centre park is ideal. On a hot day, one surprise that kids and dogs will love is the miniature water park with its sprays and fountains! 

Off-season, the park is perfect for post-rain frolics, ball chasing, and rustling in autumn leaves. 

9. Topsham to Turf Locks

9. Topsham to Turf Locks

Another scenic and historic stretch of the Ship Canal can be found between Topsham Quay and Turf locks, a mile or so stretch with water on both sides, and misty marshland views to enjoy. Start at the historic dock at Topsham, with its informative museum, and walk south to Turf Locks. 

Hungry walkers (on two or four legs) will find respite at the Turf Hotel, whose large beer garden is dog friendly, and whose canal and estuary views are unrivalled. 

10. Flowerpot playing fields

If you’re looking for something spacious, convenient, and great for exercising golden retrievers and skateboarders at the same time, then the playing fields are ideal. As well as miles of open green space, there’s a fantastic skate park with large bowls, hips, hubbas, and quarter pipes aplenty. 

And no, this writer doesn’t know what those words mean either, but the skater kid in your life certainly will! The park can be reached across the Millers Bridge from Bonhay Road. 

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