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Our top ten dog friendly activities in Devon

Dog friendly activities on-site and nearby

At Pillows and Paws were are blessed to be in one of the best spots in the country for holidaying with your dog. We’re around 25 minutes from the beaches at Bude, 20 minutes from Dartmoor and we have over 200 acres of woodland, meadows and parkland to explore on site and next door. This page just gives you a taster of what’s on offer. Check out our dog friendly guides for much, much more detail!

Top 10 activities with dogs in Devon

We’ve got loads of fun ideas for a fabulous dog friendly day out. These are our top 10:

1. Dog Walking & Trekking

The best activity with a dog has to be long walks followed with a lazy afternoon tipple at the pub. Our little farm has access to over 200 acres of Forestry Commission woodland and National Trust Dunsland parkland right on our doorstep, with a dog friendly pub (The Bickford Arms) only 1 mile from us. You’ll need your wellies and a map, but it all adds to the fun.

Within half an hour drive we also have Dartmoor, the North Cornwall & Devon cost (South West coast path), lots of woodland and some converted railway lines such as the Ruby Way & The Tarka Trail. Check out our blog articles for more of our recommended walks.

At Pillows & Paws we have lots of Ordnance Survey maps and compass for you to borrow.


Dog Walking on Dartmoor

2. Beaches

A close second to dog walking & trekking is visiting the beach with the dog. Why is it that dogs love beaches so much? There are more than 7 dog friendly beaches within 30 minutes of Pillows & Paws where dogs are accepted all year round. Nearly all beaches permit dogs outside the bathing season (April to September). Take a ball and a towel to rub down Rover after a hard day in the rock pools and making new friends to play chase with. This link lists all the beaches where there are dog restrictions.

Check out our Doggy beaches blog article for an in depth review of all our local beaches. Some are easy-peasy to access whereas some others are more ‘challenging’ but deserted. Having lived here so long we know all the best spots!

A dog runs through the water at the beach Sandymouth

3. Swimming with your dog

I’ve owned a dog for most of my life but I only tried swimming with my dogs this year! It really is brilliant fun and the dogs love it. As well as all the beaches nearby there are some extra special secret fresh water wild swimming spots we’ll tell you about. If your dog hasn’t swum in lakes or the sea before remember to take it slowly. It may be worth using a dog buoyancy aid until Rover gets the hang of it.



4. Cani-Cross (Running with Your dog)

Cani-Cross is the best way to make running more fun – period. Melanie at Pillows & Paws is mad on this and regularly goes out running with Fudge & Meg pulling to keep the speed up. It does take a while for the dogs to get the hang of it but one’s you’ve tried it you’ll be hooked. Melanie did her Cani-X training with Lara of Let’s go canicross  in Bude who is also potty about the sport.


Cani Cross running with your dog in Devon & Cornwall

5. Nature Reserves with your dog

We’re rather lucky to have quite so many nature reserves on our doorstep. Devon & Cornwall wildlife trusts have eight reserves within easy driving distance of Pillows & Paws. Nearly all of the reserves are dog friendly where dogs have to remain on a lead. One of the best is Meeth Quarry about 20 minute drive away. At Meeth Quarry there is an abundance of butterflies, wading birds and even adders! We’ll be publishing a guide to all the nature reserves on our blog soon.


Welcome sign at Meeth Quarry Nature Reserve

6. Bikejoring (Cycling with dogs)

We have to admit that we haven’t tried bikejoring yet, but while doing the research for this page we came across this brilliant sport. All that’s needed is a proper harness for the dog, the bike fixings (there’s an arm that sits out from the bike’s head stock), a bike and some bottle! There’s lots of woodland and beaches nearby to give it a go. 


Bikejor in Devon

7. Geocaching with dogs

Remember orienteering from your youth? Well it’s had a new lease of life and has been brought up to date with Geocaching. Geocaches are secret boxes of goodies hidden all over the world. Geocaching is the treasure hunt to find them, so why not take the dog along for the fun? We know of at least 3 geocaches within 1 mile of Pillows and Paws and thousands across Devon. We’ll tell you how to get started, just remember that for every treat you take you have to put in one of your own. Take a look at the official geocaching website here to find locations.


Geocaching in North Devon

8. Dog Frisbee & Fetch

‘Fetch’ must be one of the oldest games man has played with dogs since dogs were domesticated. If your dog is anything like ours, ‘Drop’ is the bit we spend the longest playing where we try to get the dog to actually drop the ball or frisbee.  You don’t need to go anywhere special, but we have a few good spots within 1/2 mile walk where we launch the ball down the hill and the dog has to retrieve it.


Dog playing fetch Cookbury

9. Picnics with the dog

On a beautiful day there can’t be a much better way of spending the afternoon than a lazy picnic in a beautiful quiet spot in Devon. Knowing the area as well as we do, we have some fabulous secret spots for a relaxing quiet picnic with the dog.


Having a picnic with the dog in Devon

10. Gardens & Grounds

We have a number of National Trust & National Heritage properties nearby. These include Castle Drogo, Lydford Gorge, Cotehele, Okehampton castle and of course National Trust Dunsland right next door. Only 20 miles away we also have the whole of the National Trust Hartland & Bideford coast – Just stunning.


Cotehele National Trust Dog Friendly

Check out our blog articles to make the most of your break