14 of the Best Dog Walks in Essex

Essex is a county that goes unnoticed or even misunderstood much of the time! It’s a crying shame, as this end of the country is absolutely packed with cracking country walks, riverside trails and more besides. The best dog-friendly walks in Essex are just around the corner.

Find Good Places to Walk Dogs in Astounding Essex

In this guide, we’ll take you through our top picks for Essex dog walking, from forests and woods to wide-open spaces. If you’re looking for more to do with pets in the region, check out our complete guide to pet friendly days out in Essex that you can rely on. See what other dog walkers have to say, too!

The Best Essex Walks For Dogs

1. The Wivenhoe Trail, Colchester

The Wivenhoe Trail is certainly one of the best-known country walks in the local Essex area, and while it may not be as massive as some of the bigger walks such as those through Epping Forest, there are still lots to explore out here. There are some wonderful riverside walks!

2. Dedham Vale, Dedham

The Dedham Vale is a country park location unlike any other, offering up to 12km of spectacular walks across the Suffolk border. The green open spaces and river trails here are likely to appeal to most dog lovers. It was, of course, the subject of a John Constable painting!

3. Hatfield Forest, Bishop’s Stortford

Hatfield Forest is likely to be one of the most-celebrated dog walking areas in Essex, offering nearly 6km of blissful woodland walking trails for you and your pets to discover. There are facilities on-site, too, and the fact that this forest is backed by the National Trust is a plus.

4. Danbury Lakes

In the heart of Danbury Park, the Danbury Lakes offer nearly 2km of lovely Grade II listed Lakeland for you to trail around, with flat walking and meadowland discoveries just waiting for you to enjoy. There’s also plenty of wildlife to discover here, too. Plenty of dog friendly Essex cottages are located within the woodland, meaning there a great base for birdwatchers!

5. Jury Hill, Brentwood

Jury Hill offers some of the best vantage points and panoramas across the whole of Essex, making this site an absolute must-see for dog lovers. This is an 8km walk, but it is a fairly moderate stretch across flat land, meaning it should appeal to most walkers.

Wild and Woolly Woodland Walks in Essex with Dogs

1. Garnetts Wood

Garnetts Wood offers you access to some of the best ancient woodland in the region, great for anyone who may be looking for wooded trails that offer a little bit more than just the same old trees. This lovely amble clocks in at just over 3km, too, at a nice pace.

2. Epping Forest

Epping Forest is likely to be one of the first green areas that people think of when they consider walks around Essex. The dog walks here are likely to stretch all the way up to 11km, allowing you to take your pup on a flat trail up across glades and ponds.

3. Hylands Park 

Much of the Hylands Parks woodland is dog friendly, meaning that providing you stick to the land around the Grade II estate, you and your pup will be free to explore the massive grounds. There are 574 acres of the park here – that’s an awful lot of ground to cover!

Our Top Three Coastal Walks for Dogs in Essex

1. The Naze

The Naze sits right at Essex’s eastern edge, offering you the chance to explore the land around the eponymous tower. You’ll be able to take a tour or two of the lovely wildlife scenery here, with plenty of aquatic life to spy offshore, too. This walk is really easy!

2. Mersea Island

Not to be confused with the River Mersey, Mersea Island serves up coastal strolls that are dog friendly for up to 6km, and again, this beach site takes you right up to the very easternmost point of Essex – so that really is all the way east.

3. Cudmore Grove 

Cudmore Grove serves as part of the Cudmore Country Park, which happens to be where Mersea Island backs onto. There are lovely green walks here inland, but you’re likely going to want to take your pup to explore the nearby salt marshes as well as the beach scene and fresh sea air.

Country Park Walks

1. Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon

The Wat Tyler Park serves up more than 125 acres of countryside strolling, and what’s more, this area doubles as a great family-friendly adventure zone. This ancient site is well worth visiting if you’re keen to get into ancient Essex, but beyond that, it’s just a lovely walk all around. 

2. The Wick Country Park, Basildon

Basildon really does position itself as the leading name in country parks in the region, offering fantastic strolls across The Wick. The Wick is one of the youngest country park sites at this end of the country, offering more than 2km of great walking trails. It’s a must-see.

3. Belhus Woods, Aveley

Belhus Woods is a hidden gem that many people new to Essex might not know about! The Belhus area hosts a golf course as well as a stately home, and the grassland and flower meadows really do seal the deal when it comes to pet-friendly walkabouts. Take a look! 

Last Word

Dog walking in Essex doesn’t have to start and end with Epping Forest, but it’s still a great port of call! That said, there are still plenty of beautiful dog walks and vistas across the county that you’ll want to take advantage of when the weather’s nice. Essex is known for its brimming country park scenes as well as its lovely coast, such as through the seaside town of Southend, a popular holiday destination.

Why not take some time out with your pets, too, while you trail the local reaches of Essex? We’ve produced a full guide to the best pet friendly pubs Essex has to offer, meaning if you do fancy taking time away for a pint occasionally on the route, you can. Make sure to plan ahead, however, as the pubs tend to be extremely popular.

Otherwise, the best dog walks that Essex has to offer are waiting for you to explore in your own time. Why not give them a try? Those we list here really do offer the tip of the iceberg, meaning that if you’d love to see more of the county, why stop here?

Essex is a county that can get forgotten about, but we’re thrilled to see that it’s gaining a firm reputation as a brilliant dog friendly paradise. The top dog friendly beaches in Essex aren’t hard to spot!