15 AMAZING ESSEX DOG WALKS

Updated on April 16, 2023

With its extensive marshlands and estuaries, Essex County boasts the country’s greatest coastline. As majority of the county sits within the London metropolitan area’s commuter belt, Essex is naturally rather densely populated. If you venture outside the belt, though, you’ll find stunning landscapes, a vibrant history, and unique cultural practices waiting for you. The majority of the county is still rural, and its lush soil is home to some of England’s most prosperous farms.

The county’s wide open expanses and relatively flat terrain also make for a great variety of treks, suitable for dog owners of varying physical abilities. Now that you know, why not take your dog on one of these 15 dog walks in Essex?

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Please observe standard dog walking etiquette if you decide to venture out. Please dispose of trash properly, pick up after your dog, and leash your pets whenever they are around children or livestock. Make sure everyone who visits the countryside is treated with dignity and consideration.

COUNTRY & COUNTRY PARK WALKS

DEDHAM VALE

The scenery of this National Park, which straddles the county line between Essex and Suffolk, was immortalized by the artist John Constable. Sir Alfred Munnings, another painter, found the region inspiring. Dedham is an AOONB with a rich cultural history, thus any stroll around the surrounding countryside is guaranteed to be one of the most picturesque in all of Essex.

You and your animal buddy will be walking alongside a river and through lush green fields; bring a towel in case your pet decides to take a dip. The Boathouse is a wonderful riverside restaurant, but please note that dogs are only permitted on the outdoor patio.

Time Required: 11 4 km
Level of Difficulty: Middle
Parking lot along the river as the starting point
Wide-open, undulating terrain
Free Spaces Available: None
Postal Code: CO7 6DH Dedham Road, Dedham, Colchester

HADLEIGH COUNTRY PARK

Hadleigh Country Park, one of Essex’s greatest green spaces, was expanded a few years ago when it was combined with land owned by The Salvation Army to preserve the park’s world-class Olympic mountain bike course. But don’t worry, the greatest of this park can be experienced without a bike. However, you can always employ one.

Stunning expanses of open land are waiting to be explored by you and Fido. Hadleigh Castle, originally constructed in 1215 but now in ruins, serves as the main point of this walk and provides a picturesque setting for a picnic or stroll.

Choose from a variety of trails ranging from 1 kilometer (the “family path”) to 9 kilometers (the “park loop”) in length, depending on your fitness level and available time. Both of those routes go by the castle and are elevated enough to provide stunning vistas without being too strenuous. However, if it doesn’t pique your interest enough, you may also go through the site’s model roundhouse. Hadleigh offers all you need for a day in the country, so relax and take your dog for a stroll around the park.

Distances Ranging From 1Km To 9Km On Foot
Level of Difficulty: Low to Medium
Hadleigh Country Park is the starting point.
Parkland, grassland, and a few humps mixed in with mostly flat terrain.
Costly Parking: Yes
Hadleigh Country Park, Chapel Lane, Benfleet, Essex, England SS7 2PP.

DEBDEN

Timber-fronted buildings in neighboring market town Saffron Walden sometimes steal the spotlight, making it easy to ignore Debden. On the other hand, Debden is home to some excellent treks in the area. The shorter of the two well-trodden trails beginning and ending with the stunning church is kid- and dog-friendly.

This loop takes you through a variety of landscapes, including a lake, woods, and fields. Towards the end of the stroll, the path hugs the river, providing a great opportunity to paw-se and let your dog cool off in the water on a hot day. Even though it’s a short and easy hike, you’ll get the feeling that you’re in the middle of the countryside because you’ll pass by some adorable chocolate box houses.

The Plough, the village’s dog-friendly bar and site of the annual potato growing competition, would be a great way to cap off your trek. (You read that correctly!) You can park here before you go for a stroll; just be sure to stop by again later.

This path is prone to mud due to the abundance of water in the area. (As well as wet if your dog decides to take a dip.) If it has rained recently, you may want to bring a towel.

Distance Walked: 3.5 Kilometers
Level of Difficulty: Middle
Debden Church serves as the initial landmark.
Difficult, wooded, hilly terrain.
Free Carparking, that’s a go
You may find us at: Church Lane, Debden, Saffron Walden, CB11 3LD.

THORNDON COUNTRY PARK

Thorndon Country Park isn’t just acres of forest and fields, but those features are certainly appealing. By following the Gruffalo route in the northern region, you can experience the enchantment of the deep, dark wood. Families will enjoy this quick outing as they search for sculptures inspired by the classic novel.

At the same time, there is a secret treat waiting for you and your dog in the park’s southern section. A dog exercise path, designed specifically for canine use and modeled after official agility competition courses, is one of the reasons why.

The route is half a mile long and has 10 challenges along the way for dogs and their owners to complete as a team to improve fitness and bond. It’s not every day that your dog has the chance to run through an obstacle course, so it’s not like taking him for a stroll in the park.

Within a prominent country park, visitors may take in the great outdoors without ever having to go too far from the park’s clean and well-maintained restrooms, eateries, picnic sites, and bird hides. Because of the convenience of having everything right there, you can take all the time you need.

Distance Walked: Varies
No Great Struggle Needed
The Thorndon Countryside Centre will serve as the journey’s initial point.
Flat, with some woods and meadows.
Costly Parking: Yes
Location: Thorndon Park North, The Avenue, Thorndon Countryside Centre, Brentwood, CM13 3RZ

STEBBING

Extend your legs and take in the wide-open skies of Essex on this well-marked and lengthy walk. Your dog is sure to enjoy the opportunity to run free for a good portion of this stroll as you make your way across wide fields. Farmers in the area keep the path free, but if there’s been recent plowing, be prepared for some obstacles. This loop is great if you want to take in the scenery and feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

During your stroll, the town of Dunmow will come into view. Dogs and their owners are allowed in the Angel and Harp, making it the perfect place to take a break and rejuvenate before making the final trek back to Stebbing.

Duration of the Walk: 11.2 kilometers
Moderate to Challenging in Difficulty
The Scene: The High Street in Stebbing
Level ground with open fields
Parking is free, so that’s a good thing
Mailing address: High St, Stebbing, Dunmow CM6 3SQ

LANGDON HILLS COUNTRY PARK

This brief stroll demonstrates that a lengthy ramble is not necessary to appreciate the outdoors. Langdon Hills is both named for and located on a series of gentle hills, making it an ideal place for a stroll in an otherwise flat region. Both you and Fido will feel like you’re on top of the world as you look out over London and the Thames from this location.

Langdon Hills is a green flag area and a living landscape, so you know it’s gorgeous and great for the environment, making it a favorite among dog owners. There are two distinct areas to explore in the park; we recommend the Westley Heights sector for a stroll.

In the span of an hour or two, you can traverse this area’s scrubland, woodland, and wildflower meadows on foot. Your dog will love the freedom to run around without a leash, and you may even be able to spot some stunning green-winged orchids growing in the grass if you go in the early summer.

The main path around the park’s rim is flat and wide enough for strollers and wheelchairs, making it dog- and kid-friendly. Additionally, this means that the path is suitable for use at any time of year without risk of being sloppy. Picnic spaces and a natural playground are available for those traveling with children. At the park’s facilities, you’ll find restrooms for your convenience.

Distance of a 3K Walk
No Great Struggle Needed
Place to park: Gravel Wood or Hall Wood
Landscape features include hills, plains, woods, and grassland.
Parking is free, so that’s a good thing
Mailing address: High Road, Basildon, SS16 6HU

WOODLAND WALKS

EPPING FOREST

Some of the best and most frequented dog walks in all of Essex can be found at Epping Forest. It’s not hard to understand why, what with the abundance of beautiful, ancient trees and the variety of trails that run through them.

You and Fido will have the time of your lives here, whatever time of year you choose to visit. Ponds and glades hidden among the woods provide a picturesque backdrop for photographs or an exciting opportunity for your dog to get his or her paws wet.

The Oak Trail is a wonderful trip that doesn’t require driving, as it begins and concludes at the Theydon Bois train station. Moreover, the Queen Victoria pub is conveniently located nearby and provides a classic country bar where you and your dog are welcome.

How Far You Can Walk: 16.2 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Middle
Theydon Bois Station is our jumping off point.
Hilly, flat, and forested describes the landscape.
Costly Parking: Yes
Mailing address: 19 Station Approach, Theydon Bois, Epping CM16 7HR

GARNETTS WOOD

This area, which was given to a knight, is now a beautiful old coppice forest. Geffrey Garnett, the original owner, was honored with a statue that was carved and placed in the forest’s heart. Among the same trees that were here when Mr. Garnett wandered the country, you might find him hidden, arms wrapped across his chest, observing you as you walk. These woods are now open to the public as they have been acquired by Essex County Council.

You and your dog can enjoy this beautiful, unrestricted forest with a goal in mind as you make your way to the statue. Though there are trails winding through it, the openness and separation of the trees make it easy to explore at your own time. Several ponds and streams can be found in this scenic region, making it an ideal place to go for a swim or paddle a dog on a hot day.

Not far from here is The Spotted Dog, where you and your dog can relax in the yard before continuing on your journey. The Saracens Head, located in Great Dunmow, a bustling market town, is a convenient place to stay. There’s a bed and breakfast there that has everything a traveler might want, including a fitness center.

Distance of a 3.2k Walk
No Great Struggle Needed
From the Garnetts Wood Parking Lot, you’ll be walking on flat, wooded ground.
Parking is free, so that’s a good thing
The High Easter Road, Barnston, Great Dunmow, CM6 1ND

HATFIELD FOREST

Hatfield Forest is a popular destination for exciting dog walks in Essex and is often considered to be one of the best walking areas in the country. Even if you don’t bring your dog, there are still plenty of beautiful places to explore and interesting things to learn in this National Trust woodland.

One of the more extensive pathways is the Flitch Way and forest stroll. All of the trails in this forest turn muddy in the winter, so the best time to visit is when the weather is dry. In the summer, millions of buttercups bloom across the woodland floor, making for a beautiful backdrop for a stroll. Additionally, this path passes by a number of interesting landmarks, including the Doodle Oak and the Shell House. Once you reach the towering hornbeams, some of which are four centuries old, you’ll know you’ve reached the end of your stroll.

Dog owners can take their furry friends to the forest cafe for a much-deserved break. You and your dog are welcome to take a break and refuel here before continuing on your exploration.

Distance Covered on Foot: 5.6 Kilometers
No Great Struggle Needed
Place of Departure: Primary Parking Lot Entrance
Wooded, muddy, and boardwalk-dotted terrain.
Parking is free for NT members but costs money for non-members.
Hatfield Forest, Bush End Road, Takeley, Bishop’s Stortford, Essex CM22 6NE

WATERSIDE WALKS

THE NAZE

Visit Essex’s easternmost point, known as The Naze. You and your dog will enjoy exploring the rich history and abundant wildlife at this location. Because of the abundance of fossils along this coastline, your dog, if it is a digger, might unearth a long-lost bone. Even if they don’t, a run on the beach is something they’re guaranteed to enjoy.

The Naze Tower is the historical centerpiece of the area and towers over the surrounding countryside, giving the area the feel of a fantastical kingdom. The Naze is also home to a wide variety of animals, from birds and butterflies to porpoises and seals. When you and your dog take a stroll around the cliffs, the beach, or the marsh, you will both have plenty of opportunities to see and learn about intriguing things.

There are three distinct paths radiating out from the center, each with its own specialty. The longest of these trails is the wildlife route, which makes a complete circuit of the various landscapes. There are numerous tourist amenities, however please note that canines are not permitted inside any of the structures. In any case, they are more than welcome to use the patio.

3.7 kilometer walking distance
No Great Struggle Needed
The Naze Centre is where we’ll begin.
Uneven, undulating terrain
Costly Parking: Yes
You may find us at: The Naze Centre, Old Hall Lane, Walton-on-the-Naze, CO14 8LE

MERSEA

You and Fido should take a trip to Mersea Island, the most eastern inhabited island in the United Kingdom. For you and Fido, the main selling point is the year-round dog-friendliness of the beaches.

In spite of its small size (just seven square miles), the island is packed with attractions like campgrounds, bars, restaurants, and even a country park. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could walk around the entire island. A different option is to walk around the perimeter of Cudmore Country Park, which has open grassland, a sandy beach, and an oyster fishery.

Brent geese can be spotted in the winter, and Mersea has its own museum and a rich history that is well worth exploring. As it stands, dog owners in Essex have a number of fantastic options for beach walks on Mersea.

Distance Covered on Foot: 5.6 Kilometers
No Great Struggle Needed
Cudmore Country Park is the jumping off point.
Location: a level, grassy, seashore, and saltmarsh landscape
Costly Parking: Yes
Postal Address: East Mersea, Colchester, Essex CO5 8UE

WIVENHOE TRAIL

One of the most beautiful dog walks in the county is a circuit along the Wivenhoe Trail, which runs alongside a body of water. In the beginning of your trip to Wivenhoe, you will take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront, where beautiful historical buildings face the sea and fishing boats bobble on the calm water. Then, you’ll take a trip alongside the River Colne, on well-maintained paths through wooded areas and wide fields where your dog may run and sniff about. The route back to Wivenhoe features a short rise, perfect for taking in the scenery one last time.

This path is ideal if you don’t want to drive in order to enjoy a beautiful stroll, as it begins at the train station. Two of the most popular bars in town, both of which welcome dogs, are The Greyhound and The Black Bouy. The Black Bouy is a neighborhood watering hole that is locally owned and operated. No matter which one you choose to visit, you’ll be treated to delicious food, refreshing drinks, and friendly service.

Distance Covered on Foot: 5.6 Kilometers
No Great Struggle Needed
Wivenhoe Station is the Beginning Location.
Trails, grassland, a slight incline, and a flat landscape are the terrain types you can expect to encounter.
Costly Parking: Yes
You can reach us at NCP Wivenhoe Station, CO7 9DJ.

DANBURY LAKES

Danbury Lakes may be the perfect spot if you’re on the lookout for a simple and convenient dog walk in a scenic area. You can take all the time you need to enjoy the lakes and the rest of Danbury Country Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are lakes, flower gardens, open grassy areas, and a grove of ancient trees in the park.

You can get some fresh air and exercise with your dog on a pleasant stroll around the lakes in under an hour. Both lakes and the historic ice house will be covered as you make your way around the area. The waterfowl, such as ducks and swans, are more likely to captivate your dog’s attention.

When fall arrives, the trees here turn beautiful colors, making for a truly unforgettable stroll. The trees around the lakes have turned a blazing array of yellows, oranges, and even vivid reds. To put it simply, it’s like stepping into a painting.

Distance of a 1.5k Stroll
No Great Struggle Needed
Place of Origin: Primary Parking Garage
Trails, meadows, and wooded areas are interspersed with flat areas.
Costly Parking: Yes
Postal code: CM3 4AW Woodhill Road, Danbury, Essex

HILL WALKS

CHRISHALL

Although there aren’t many hills in Essex, this hike around Chrishall takes you to the county’s highest point as well as Cambridgeshire’s. Both you and Fido will get plenty of exercise on this trip’s gentle terrain, and you’ll feel great knowing that you conquered the highest points in not one but two counties. For a couple hours of talking, it’s not awful.

You’ll need a leash to keep your dog close to you when you’re not in the fields, and the route passes along peaceful country roads and footpaths.

The Red Cow is a charming country bar that serves delicious meals, welcomes dogs, and is fully conscious of its booming business catering to hikers. Put your car there and take Fido on a ride into the countryside.

Length of Walk: 12.8 Kilometers
The level of difficulty is somewhere between moderate and difficult.
Where to Begin: Hilly Red Cow Country
Free Carparking, that’s a go
Chrishall, Essex; Postal Address: 11 High Street; Postal Code: SG8 8RN

JURY HILL

It’s possible that the vista from the top of Jury Hill is the best of any dog walk in Essex. In fact, on a sunny day, you can see as far as the O2 and Canary Wharf in the east, and Kent and the Thames in the west, across the rolling hills of Essex.

This path may be ideal if you and your dog are looking for a leisurely stroll in rural surroundings. As you and your dog take a stroll up this hill, he or she can run around on the grass and investigate the hedges. Even though the hill itself isn’t particularly tall (at 63 meters), the view from the peak is spectacular.

Because it is a loop, you can start at either Thorndon Country Park or another location. We’ve already discussed the park and hikes there, so why not make a pit stop in Thorndon on your trip around and take advantage of them?

At the Greyhound bar, your dog will be treated to some water and goodies as you enjoy some delicious food and drink after your walk over the countryside. The cherry on top of this dog walk in rural Essex.

Total Distance of Walk: 8 Kilometers
Level of Difficulty: Middle
Little Warley serves as the point of departure. Parking Lot Used by Everyone
Hilly and level areas
Costly Parking: Yes
Childerditch Lane, Warley, Brentwood, CM13 is the location in question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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