Royal Norfolk Coast dog friendly
If you and the dog want to go walking, you couldn’t have picked a better place than the Royal West Coast. There are some brilliant walks that will immerse you in nature, great coastal stretches for beach runs and a paddle, riverside rambles and hidden country lanes for a quiet stroll.
In this part of the county the beaches are vast (tide willing), sandy and just a great place for the dog to run out all that energy! The beaches at Heacham, Old Hunstanton, Thornham and Holme-next-the-Sea are happy to see dogs all year round but be aware of the birds nesting in the dunes in spring and early summer. If you are visiting the RSPB Reserves at Titchwell or Snettisham you are welcome to bring the dog on a lead and at Brancaster and Hunstanton there are summer restrictions in place on parts of the beach but by no means all.
Walk some of the Norfolk Coast Path that stretches from Hunstanton to Cromer and pass through sandy beaches with dunes, salt and fresh water marshes, quaint harbours and coastal villages, all set under immense Norfolk skies. The Coasthopper Bus service is also handy to get you where you need to be if you want to leave the car behind and will happily accept dogs on board. The route shadows the Norfolk Coast Path making it easy to access many of coastal trails in the region. Split your day with a walk in the morning and, if your dog has sea legs, a canoe outing in the afternoon! Canoes can be hired in Brancaster Staithe and will allow you to see the coast and its creeks from a quieter and more retrospective point of view. Dogs are also welcome on the sea trips to visit the seal colony at Blakeney Point a little further down the coast, doggie paddling not required!
If you prefer a quieter pace of life, many of our inland walks offer peace and tranquillity amongst woods and open farmland, set back from the coast. Try the Snettisham Woodland Walk a 2.6 mile walk through Lodge Plantation with far reaching views of the Wash from the edge of the wood. Or take a round robin walk from Snettisham to Sedgeford, this 6 mile walk will take you along rural footpaths, undulating farm tracks and quiet country roads.
The Burnhams Circular Walk is part of the Norfolk Trails series; starting in Burnham Market it takes in two of the other Burnhams – Burnham Overy Staithe and Burnham Norton via gentle undulating countryside that has the River Burn at its centre. On the way see the remains of St Mary’s Carmelite Friary and the medieval church of St Mary at Burnham Norton, a large church for a small community! After 4.5 miles finish back in Burnham Market and take some rest at The Hoste, who will happily welcome dogs in the bar area.
Another great way for the family to enjoy walking the dog is to visit the Norfolk Treasure Trails website, here you will find self-guided walks based around a Spy Mission, Treasure Trail or Murder Mystery theme. Pointing out interesting sights along the way, these are enjoyable walks for all ages and abilities, dog or human and there are over half a dozen set in West Norfolk. Of course, don’t forget the great parks of Sandringham and Houghton Hall, the National Nature Reserve at Dersingham Bog, Shouldham Warren with its woodland walks on the edge of the Fens and a short set of circular walks in locations such as Terrington St Clements, Clenchwarton, Wimbotsham, Castle Acre, Harpley, and Ringstead.
Aside from walks of course, dogs love to be sociable so if you are here at the right time of the year, why not take them to see the Dog Agility Show at the Houghton International Horse Trials or the Hunstanton Dog Show both in May, or the Sandringham Country & Game Fair in September. Dogs can take part in such events as Aqua Sport, Agility, Musical Sits, Waggiest Tail and Best Pedigree at the various shows.
When the walking is all over and it is time to curl up around a winter fire or bask in the summer sun there are plenty of pubs that will welcome your dog in to the bar area; some of our favourites are The Lord Nelson at Burnham Thorpe, The White Horse at Brancaster, The Railyway Inn at Docking, The Ancient Mariner Inn at Hunstanton, the Kings Head at Bircham and The Ostrich at Castle Acre.
They say that every dog must have its day and if you go to The Orange Tree at Thornham, it’s probably guaranteed. Your dog, with a little help, can choose from the special canine menu, pigs ears in gravy, doggie sausage roll or bone with marrow – all washed down with a fresh bowl of water!