Kent is England’s gateway, the green and glorious entrance to the nation. Though millions pass through, heading inland and onward, the county shouldn’t be overlooked. Tucked neatly into the corner of the country, this rural oasis has everything a dog walker could desire: epic beaches, embracing hills, castles and churches, leafy woodland, and of course, those towering white cliffs. There are some amazing dog walks in Kent.
So, dust off your boots, pull out your waterproof (though in sunny Kent you’ll hardly need it), and get the lead ready. In the season of walkies, there’s no better place to explore than Kent.
One of the most popular dog walks in Kent is Dumpton Gap. If there’s one area Kent excels, it’s in fabulous beaches. Secluded and sublime, Dumpton Gap is one of the best. The bay is open for dogs all year round, and there are no restrictions. So, when the bigger beaches are closed off, Dumpton Gap is always a welcome retreat.
The golden sands of the beach, nestled between the chalky hillside, look out across the English Channel. Out at sea, watch the boats pass by, and spot the vast wind farm in the distance. There’s even a small and friendly café to grab a quick bite to eat.
If your dog is itching for a paddle, then head on down to Dumpton Gap for a splash.
Car park available on the clifftop.
Reculver Country Park
You might not realise it, but the sea is slowly eating Kent. When the Romans arrived in Reculver and built a fort, the sea was a mile away. Today, the 26-hectare seaside retreat hosts a menagerie of plants and wildlife who make their home in the crumbling cliffs. The site has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area, so there’s plenty of natural wonder for you and your dog to explore.
At Reculver, nature meets history. Head over to St Mary’s Church, and admire the twin towers overlooking the coast, which date back to the 12th century.
There are numerous eateries, pubs and cafes in the local area, including the traditional King Ethelbert Inn.
Car park available.
Riverside Country Park
Riverside Country Park covers a vast area on the Medway estuary, with the landscape being a patchwork of mudflats, salt march, ponds and reed beds, and even grassland and scrub. This range of ecosystems has made the park a refuge for local wildlife.
At low tide, you can even access the mudflats and walk across at certain points. However, it can be extremely muddy, so keep your dog on their lead, in case they go belting off and come back caked in mud. If you’re looking for a new lead, try out the SuperNight retractable dog leash. The leash is perfect for dogs up to 50 kg and has an 8M retractable leash. Plus, it comes with a detachable LED flashlight, so you’ll never find yourself caught out as the nights draw in.
Car park available.
Pegwell Bay Country Park
Pegwell Bay is situated along the Thanet Coast, between the chocolate box houses of Sandwich to the West, and the looming cliffs of Ramsgate to the East. The bay is a nature reserve, brimming with local wildlife; wildflowers bloom in the spring, so look out for orchids and broomrapes. While the mudflats are home to vast flocks of wading birds, from dunlin to grey plover, you can even see Merlins flying high in the air.
So, head down to Pegwell Bay for a relaxing afternoon stroll with your pooch.
Car park available.
In the wide-open expanses at Kings Wood, your dog can go wild making it one of the best dog walks in Kent. Off the leash, they can explore the undergrowth and woodland of the enormous 1500-acre forest set in the Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Historically, the wood was a royal hunting ground, and herds of fallow deer still roam the woodland. Today, the forest has become an artist’s haven, full of sculptures and other kinds of artwork – some of the older ones have even been reclaimed by nature. If you head around the longer trail, allow for around 2.5 hours to complete the circuit.
In the wild expanse, practice your throwing skills with a game of fetch. The Vivifying Dog Ball on a Rope comes in a range of vibrant colours, and the ball itself is made from natural rubber – so is durable enough to survive most dogs.
Car park available
Start at the historic town of Cranbrook, with its dazzling white houses set against the meandering arms of the local windmill. From this capital of the Kentish Weald, wind your way towards the village of Sissinghurst, passing by the local orchards and hop gardens. If time allows, visit Sissinghurst Castle – the gardens are managed by the National Trust and are world-famous for their staggering beauty. Truly a must-see!
Car park available in Cranbrook
Meopham is ancient, having been inhabited since the stone age. Today, the village – known as the longest in Europe – soaks in the mesmerising views across the undulations of the Downs. The walk is a little under five miles, so it’s perfect for an afternoon gander that’ll tire out your four-legged friend.
There’s also a windmill that was recently restored to working order and is often open to the public. The mill was built in the 19th century and ran on wind power until 1927. Local legend says the brothers who built it used old timbers from Chatham Dockyard. So, take a look and decide for yourself.
Car park available in Meopham.
St Margaret’s Bay
On a crisp, clear day St Margaret’s Bay offers unforgettable views across the Channel to the continent beyond. Around the corner from Dover, the glorious white cliffs provide a stunning backdrop to a beautiful coastal amble. From the clifftop, enjoy the panorama which takes in views of South Foreland and The Leas across the Bay. You’ll be able to spot the giant ships and tankers as they trundle through the world’s busiest shipping lane.
The coast is dotted with landmarks from WWII, so there’s plenty of nooks and crannies for your dog to explore.
Car park available.
If you enjoyed this article on dog walks in Kent you might also like to read about the best dog walks in London.