This is a definitive list of the best dog walks in Sussex. You and your dog are going to want to come back to them again and again.
Maybe you’re in the mood for a hike over the South Downs, then a refreshing pint in a hilltop beer garden to round it off.
No? Then perhaps a brisk walk along the beach while the tide is out in the early morning, stopping for a cuppa at a beachside cafe.
In the list below you’ll find muddy forest trails, dog-friendly flower gardens meticulously pruned by the National Trust, and everything in between.
Walk through the 400-year old wood at Nymans and your dog can wear themself out exploring long winding trails that criss cross through the trees.
Nymans is beautiful all year round, but spring is when the magic happens — the wood explodes into bloom with violets, primroses and bluebells springing up along the edges of streams and under the old beech trees.
Bear in mind that in the wetter months, paths can get muddy, so wear proper shoes.
And here’s some recent good news if muddy trails aren’t your thing — normally, dogs are only allowed to walk in the woods. But now Nymans are letting you bring your dog into the gardens themselves.
Pro tip: if your dog gets thirsty, you can find water bowls near the Welcome Cafe. Check out their website for up-to-date guidance.
When you’re walking your dog up there, you might not notice it, but Cissbury Ring is the ruin of an absolutely massive 2500-year-old hill fort.
But you don’t go there for that — you go there for the mind-blowing views out over the South Coast. On a clear day, you'll see out over Brighton all the way to the Seven Sisters. And in the other direction, the Isle of Wight. Considering Cissbury ring is in Worthing, that’s impressive.
The walk itself is lovely. You’ll see ponies freely grazing on the hillside, and if you visit in the spring you can go on the Butterfly Walk. It takes around three hours at a steady pace, but it’s entirely worth it — you’ll see all manner of different species flitting from flower to flower. You’ll feel like you’ve walked into a David Attenborough documentary.
If you and your dog are a bit more adventurous, take the rougher (but altogether more interesting) tracks through the surrounding woodland.
The Fulking Circle from the Shepherd and Dog
This is one of the best dog walks in Sussex, and not just because it involves a pub. Though that does help, somewhat.
The Shepherd and Dog is a cozy pub that is about as dog friendly as a pub gets. But then it would be rather strange if it wasn’t, given its name. They serve local ales, and lay on a cracking roast on Sundays.
The walk itself, the Fulking Circle, starts and ends in the pub garden. You head along dirt tracks, over stiles and past troughs — proper countryside stuff — and up into the hills.
When you reach the top, you get some of the most beautiful views out across the South Downs. People say that the Downs in East Sussex are better looking than the ones in the West, and from up here it’s hard to argue with them.
This walk makes up a tiny part of the South Downs Way. And if you don’t know what that is, it’s a 100-mile walk that starts in Winchester and ends in Eastbourne. So don’t take the wrong turn or you might miss your roast.
West Wittering Beach
This wouldn't be a proper list of the best dog walks in Sussex without a trip to the beach, would it?
And the beach at West Wittering is very possibly the best beach in the UK.
It has a sort of surfer-ey vibe to it, so in summer the place is buzzing. It has a trendy beach cafe, colourful beach huts, and a long stretch of sand perfect for wearing out dogs that run on Duracell batteries.
But it also happens to be in one of Chichester’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. if you visit in winter — and we recommend that you do — you’ll see why.
Regardless of the time of year, try to time it so you’re there when the tide is out. It gives you and your dog more space to make use of, and it’s when the beach is at its most beautiful.
There are public loos and taps with fresh water all along the beach for when you need to spray off the sand before the drive home,
And on that point, make sure you book your parking space via the website. Showing up on the day is a no go, unless you’re feeling lucky.
Duke of Cumberland
Yes, the Duke of Cumberland is another pub. But pubs and dog walking just seem to go together, don’t they?
And as with the Fulking Circle walk above, you start and finish at the pub itself.
It’s a 2-mile walk and it takes you through and under the towering Douglas fir trees that constitute Verdley Wood.
The wood is about a square mile. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s so densely packed with nature you’d swear it was at least double that size.
And speaking of nature, it’s said that the last bear living in England was killed here and that it's ghost haunts the woods… Spooky.
Ghost bears aside, the walk is lovely.
But let’s talk more about the pub.
Perched on the side of a hill, the Duke of Cumberland is a 16th century country affair. It’s small, but therein lies it’s charm. There’s even a log fire for you to warm your cockles after a bracing winter walk.
When the weather is warmer you can sit outside and enjoy views that stretch all the way to distant Leith Hill.
Weatherproof and Washable-Leads and Collars for Every Walk!
If your dog needs a new lead or you’ve been meaning to replace a worn-out collar, pop into the Holler online shop and find something special.
Many of our leads and collars are weatherproof and machine washable — perfect if you’re tackling any of the walks above.