Winter Beach Walks Dogs in Devon & Dorset Jurassic Coast
I have been bursting to tell you our news but my daughter wouldn’t let me. She wants to keep it a secret from you all (it is her secret to keep). But soon the truth will be known, there’s only so long we can hide it.
We’ve been expecting this for some time, my daughter has been saving her birthday money for all the inevitable costs. This is not something we’ve rushed into as we know that adding to the family is a life changing commitment.
So now it’s only one week to go before we can really start to enjoy our new family member and take her out in the big wide world.
You’ve guessed I’m sure – we’re now dog owners. An adorable dog to be known here as Miss M has joined us (her real name will not be revealed protect her identity)! She is a gorgeous lab cross who has now reached the toddler stage – desperate to get out, run around and generally be destructive, it’s been a long 5 weeks keeping her contained!
So now the question is where to take her for walks and dog friendly days out. We are keen to get going and beach walks with a dog in Devon and Dorset really are a great thing to do in the winter.
This post is basically my research for beaches, parking and cafes at the places that seem the best options close to where I live on the Jurassic Coast. Whether you have a dog or not this will be relevant if you enjoy this stunning coastline.
I am sure you have your favourite spots and I’m happy to hear your recomendations and top tips for all across the South West.
For this post I’m starting in Dorset at Burton Bradstock and then heading West to Lyme Regis – it’s surprising how different each beach is in terms of allowing dogs. Next time I will cross the border into Devon and find out details for those beaches. Please feel free to correct me it I’ve got anything wrong!
A lovely beach owned by the National Trust with a range of walking trails around the coast. Restrictions apply from 1 June until the end of September on the beach, but dogs are welcome on at least part of the beach all year round (see signage at the beach for more details). Dogs allowed everywhere 1 Oct – 31st May. NT also run kids activity trails at Easter and other times.
Parking: National Trust car park £1 per hour and £6 all day (free for NT members with a valid car sticker). To be confirmed but it may be free Oct – March.
Eating: try the fabulous Hive Beach Café – great for a lazy brunch as well as fabulous main meals.
Public Toilets – yes
Here at this working fishing harbour you have shops and cafes galore to browse at the location now famous for being Broadchurch. No dogs are allowed on the main beach area between 1 May and 1 October, except in the port area where they must stay on a lead. However dogs are allowed on the beaches off to the East and West where the cliffs start. Please read the signs to check areas.
Parking – there are a number of council run car parks and parking on the seafront, the cheapest is the first Long Stay at the entrance to West Bay on the left.
Eating – oh where to start, try pizza at The Watch House Café on the beach, fish and chips from one of the outdoor huts by the harbour (Rachel’s is great) or a cream tea from West Bay Tea Rooms. There’s plenty of choice whatever your budget.
Public Toilets – yes
Tucked away down a country lane, Eype Beach is accessible off the A35 near Bridport (DT6 6AL). Expect a beach, not much else!
Parking in the private car park right on the sea front cost £4 per day. Alternativlely you can park at Eype House caravan park up until mid November for £1.50 and also make use of their café.
Also for tea and cake and a great walking base try the Downhouse Farm Cafe – up the hill from the beach open from March to the end of October from 10am, with last orders at 6pm. (closed Monday’s except Bank Holiday’s). I’ve heard their cream teas and apple cake are to die for!
In the village of Eype the New Inn has been under new management since 2015 and looks very inviting, dogs welcome.
No public toilets on Eype Beach.
Chideock – Seatown
Turn off in Chidoeck for the beach at Seatown. There is a private car park oppostite the Anchor Inn, parking is £2 per day. According to the signs this beach is “dog free” but I am not sure how much this is enforced. I decided it was worth a mention anyway for non dog owners and there is also a lovely walk up along the coast path, it’s 2 1/4 miles to Eype or head up the hill to Langdon Woods and Golden Cap if you are feeling energetic enough.
For refreshments the Anchor Inn is lovely – it’s compact inside but there are plenty of outdoor tables. You can also buy food, ice creams and takeaways from the caravan park shop (until Mid November) or drive back into Chideock for pubs and cream teas.
A lovely town, with a beach famous for it’s fossil. There are no dogs allowed on West Beach from 1st May until 30th September (that’s the beach to the right of the Heritage Centre).
On the East Beach in July and August no dogs allowed between the hours of 10am to 6pm. Sadly the cliff path up to Stonebarrow has become too dangerous and the diversion is not very good. However walks along the beach are stunning especially in the morning and evening light and there are other footpaths to link up with such as the Monarch’s Way.
Parking – quite a choice. The cheapest is the West Dorset Council Car park just off Lower Sea Lane (3 minutes walk to the beach)
Just before the beach on the left it’s a private car park £3 all day or 60p after 6pm. The seafront car park is Charmouth Parish Council’s, £4 all day or £1 per hour.
For food Charmouth has a range of options from tea shops and pubs to fish and chips and a bakery as well as two convenience stores on the High Street.
Public toilets – yes, behind the Heritage Centre.
A lovely town and at the weekends the promenade is full of dogs and their owners. Dogs are not allowed on the main front beaches during the summer months (1 April and 31 October) from Cobb Gate car park to the Life Boat slipway, and must be on leads for the rest of year. Dogs are allowed all year on Monmouth Beach which is the pebble beach to the right of the harbour. On the other side of town East Cliff Beach is dog friendly. At low tide you can walk to Charmouth but make sure you check the tide times.
There is plenty of parking but for the cheapest options try Holmbush or Charmouth Road carparks (£2 all day) you will need to walk a bit further for these one. There is parking closer to the beach but expect tourist town short stay prices.
There are numerous options for eating and drinking – too many to mention to be honest so just see what takes your fancy.
Public toilets – yes plenty (but none of them are particularly pleasant)!
I am really looking forward to our walks and especially the ones at the beach. It certainly is quite confusing the different rules in each place and I’ve not even started on Devon yet! Please do let me know if I have got anything wrong.
Also do take care when walking either on top of the cliffs or along the beaches. The cliffs are very unstable at the moment and climbing cliffs or getting close the edge of you’re on the top or the base of the cliffs is potentially very dangerous. Take a serious note of any signs or warnings.
Finally thank you to Neil Bigwood, a local photographer, for letting me use 2 of his Lyme Regis photos for this post.
Post Update – here’s the link to my guide to Winter Walks on East Devon Beaches