Pawfect dog walks in and around Canterbury
It’s a dog’s life in lockdown thanks to all those extra walks and cuddles in the bid to boost your (and your best friend’s) wellbeing. With the great outdoors providing a sanctuary for escape, we are lucky to have so many across our city, coast and countryside.
The district of Canterbury, along with the rest of England, is in national lockdown. Remember to follow the latest government guidelines by staying at home, keeping it local, and acting responsibly when exercising or taking essential journeys.
We hope you find a walk or treat on your doorstep that you can safely visit within current restrictions. If you’re further afield, we can't wait to welcome you back once restrictions have been lifted.
For lots of open space, head to Herne Bay promenade to take in the sights, smells and sounds of the sea, where your dog can hop on and off the seawall or, until May, explore the vast pebble beaches. To warm up while on your winter walk, Mackari’s are offering teas or coffees to go.
With cliff top walks that dive off down to the beach, giving you a variety of routes to discover, Reculver Country Park is a very popular place for dog walking (we recommend avoiding it at peak times to be able to maintain social distancing). By Reculver carpark, you will find HatHats coffee, who are offering take-aways during lockdown.
If the tide is out, your dog will enjoy investigating the shallow rock pools at Beltinge beach. And if you want to let them off lead, there is ample space to let them have a good run around - just remember to bring your dog towel!
Much of our coast (98%) is dog friendly and dogs are welcome all year round. But there are one or two beaches they're only allowed on from 1 October to 30 April.
Image: Elsa, Aloof and Dolly at Herne Bay © photosbylizzie.co.uk
Bundles of energy?
If your dog never seems to tire – there are plenty of routes to give them a good run, and you a treat too!
Chartham to Canterbury – 3 Miles (linear)
This is a lovely flat, traffic-free route along the banks of the River Stour, passing heritage sites such as Chartham paper mill and Milton church, and finishes at the beautiful cathedral city of Canterbury. Look out for wildlife along the way, such as Kingfishers and enjoy the River Stour’s position as the gateway to the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty.
Whitstable to Herne Bay, or Herne Bay to Whitstable – 5 miles (linear)
Walk coast to coast for this easy going walk in either direction and enjoy the stunning views out to sea and the colourful beach huts. When you reach the edge of Herne Bay, check out the Hampton Inn and make a mental note to return when it’s open. They’re very dog friendly and will offer you a sumptuous meal to break up the walk if you decide to double back for a longer walk.
Crab and Winkle Way – 7.5miles (linear)
This 7.5 mile route between Canterbury and Whitstable is mostly off road and traffic free and follows the old pioneering railway route - be mindful of bikes as it's a popular cycling route too. The best place to start is from Canterbury West Station and the route is signposted. On the way to Whitstable, it goes through the Blean with a 13th century church and Blean Woods Nature Reserve. On the outskirts of Whitstable is Winding Pond, a recommended pit stop (or fantastic picnic stop after lockdown).
Old dog, new tricks?
If you’re looking for gentler walks for your dog or yourself, these might do the trick!
While the city of Canterbury is on the quieter side due to lockdown, you and pooch can enjoy a slow walk around the streets for a more mindful experience. As your dog takes his time checking out the new smells, why not let his nose dictate your trail around the city? Or, you could follow in the footsteps of Queen Bertha on this 1.5 mile walk. Starting at the cathedral, it maps the route the Queen took to pray at St Martin’s Church. It's dotted with historical stops and takes in the city’s three UNESCO sites of Canterbury Cathedral, St.Martin’s Church (the oldest English-speaking church in the world) and St Augustine’s Abbey.
Woodlands are a great location to let your dog take his time and let you know when he's had enough. The soft ground will also help older, arthritic paws. Clowes Wood is one of the lesser-known woodlands in the 11 square mile Blean Woods Nature Reserve. This little wood of mainly conifers is managed by the forestry commission with good paths and is found between Tyler Hill and Chestfield. It's said to be one of the best places in the country to hear the song of the nightjar.
Cultural trail – Herne Bay
Why not take yourself on the cultural trail to test your knowledge of Herne Bay, while allowing little paws to take their time. Follow the signs from the historical mural in William Street and take a tour of smuggling, Victorian history, aviation and even murder!
Pub lunch anyone?
When they are open again, there will be plenty of pubs to take your pooch to. Top picks in Herne Bay is the Hampton’s Inn and The Ship Inn. Both conveniently at either end of the seafront, allowing plenty of excuses for a walk and refuel.
For Whitstable, The Pearson’s Arms, Birdies Restaurants and The Neptune appear to be the favourite doggy stop-offs, and with The Neptune being right on the beach, what’s not to like?
For a city, you might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of dog-friendly pubs here too. The pick of the crop on TripAdvisor includes The Millers Arms, Oscar and Bentleys and The Two Sawyers.
Play by the rules:
- Staying safe is our biggest priority right now and keeping to social distance rules is crucial when visiting our areas with your dog.
- Keep your dog on a lead in busy places. If your dog is off-lead and comes close to another dog or person and you need to retrieve him, this will impact on social distancing safety.
- Always clear up dog mess and follow the countryside courtesy of Respect-Protect-Enjoy.
- Be vigilant of dog theft and keep your dog close and in sight at all times.
- Most of all – enjoy your walkies!
Businesses across Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay look forward to welcoming you back into our city and towns after lockdown. They continue to work hard to keep you safe and follow government’s covid guidelines. For example, adapting their spaces to allow you to maintain social distance, wearing face coverings, having hand sanitising stations, introducing one way systems and reduced capacity, taking online bookings only, offering contactless collection and delivery, and, where applicable, following the government's Track and Trace guidelines.