Kent has for a long time been called the garden of England, and this south eastern corner of the country truly is a beautiful area, which serves as one of the gateways to England (if travelling from the continent by rail or ferry at least that is). Walking your dog is a great way to help you connect with nature, and here are 6 great places in Kent where you can do just that!
Please share your favourite places in Kent to go for a walk with your best friend in the comments section below!
To give you a little context we have a small terrier (3 quarters border terrier and 1 quarter jack russell terrier to be precise) called Baxter, who loves to go out where there are as many smells as possible!
1 – Samphire Hoe
We took Baxter along with us when we went to Samphire Hoe, which is just west of Dover, to look for fossils. He got a little bored whilst we looked through some of the rocks there, but the area is very nice for walking your dog.
The actual Samphire Hoe reserve is an open piece of land with a number of paths which you can walk along, with your dog on a lead. The main reasons for this is that they seem to have cattle there some times, but most importantly (especially for a small dog like this) there are a number of adders here on hot days.
Being right by the beach and quite open it can be a very windy place, but with the white cliffs of Dover, you’re treated to a beautiful backdrop for your stroll (which isn’t that far either).
If you head past the reserve, there is a pebble beach which Baxter struggled on. It’s a mixture of gravel and small to medium sized pebbles which were a little too difficult for his ridiculously small feet!
2 – Pegwell Bay
This is another nature reserve which your dog may walk through by your side, and are even allowed off the lead as long as they are well behaved . There are a wide range of paths which you can take, winding through fields and open grassland, whilst off the paths there is a large salt marsh (which you or your dog can’t walk through), which is home a huge number of migratory wading birds, and a very important habitat for these long distance travelers.
If you want to head out of the reserve you can walk towards Ramsgate (with most of the reserve being towards Sandwich from the car park), and if you do decide to head that way, you will be treated to seeing the beautiful life sized relic of a Viking ship. This ship has long stood proud on the cliffs above Pegwell Bay, however since the main road has been diverted away from the cliff route, it is not as often admired these days as it once was.
3 – Kearsney Abbey
I had been coming to Kearsney Abbey for years when I lived nearer Dover, and it has also stood as a favourite amongst the people of Dover, to spend a summer day with the family. It is a large open area perfect for picnics and outdoor games, whilst also being dotted with magnificent, towering trees, and punctuated with a large lake, home to a range of water fowl, fed by beautiful streams. It really is a very picturesque place to go for a walk, and taking your dog along is a real treat.
Dogs don’t need to stay on leads here although it is advised near the lake, especially for terriers, who may get themselves in trouble with all the bird life – there are some big swans which call this place home.
On the side of the park opposite the main car parks there is a very large open area which leads to some woods on a slope. This area in particular is a great place to let your dog go for a run and is full of Baxter’s most treasured toys – sticks!
Near one of the car parks there is also a small café and public toilets. Especially in the summer this is a nice place to have some lunch whilst sitting outside sharing a sandwich with your best friend.
4 – Stodmarsh Nature Reserve
Yet another place where your dog needs to stay on a lead whilst accompanying your – however this time due to the huge number of birds which call this very important habitat home! Especially during the spring there are plenty of ducks, swans and other birds with hatchlings, and it’s important not to disturb these.
It is a real pleasure to walk amongst the marshes here and many of the paths are very easy to walk along, changing from dirty paths to gravel and even sand, but generally fairly flat and smooth.
There are a lot of different paths here which can spread over many miles, however not all of them allow access with a dog (even if they are on a lead), however there are path markers, everywhere a path may take a different direction, and on some of these there will be a no dogs symbol, so it’s easy not to get yourself in trouble.
This is a mecca in the area for photographers wishing to get a photo of various birds including water fowl, marsh harriers and herons, so please remember to respect this when walking your dog, and also try to bring your camera along – you never know what you might see!
5 – Blean Nature Reserve
As you head to Blean Nature Reserve by car you can’t help but think – is the battering my car is getting from these pot holes going to be worth it?
Yes… It is a really nice place to walk the dog, but perhaps think about walking around it twice to really tire your pooch out! There are quite a few different paths which are available to the public, however there is only one which you can go along with a dog, which is the white route (this is sign posted with a white arrow along with a little diagram of a dog). This path is nice but it’s not overly long.
This forest is very pretty, especially during the spring and summer months – not only because its a lush green area (apart from a few coppicing areas where the trees have been cut back), but also because there is a decent amount of wild life about – if your dog’s a squirrel chaser, keep and eye on them!
As you walk along the path you will note quite a few dog walkers, whilst most of the cyclists and kids etc go down the other paths, so you don’t get disturbed too much here – the car park is however fairly busy, including young people in cars looking like they are most likely not meant to be doing what ever they are doing… It really doesn’t seem like the sort of place where a group of 4 lads would be hanging out in their car, to enjoy the beauty of the area.
Please be aware though that when we walked around we didn’t see a single poo bin, and had to drive our bags (yeah he poops a fair bit) down the road before we found one.
6 – Whitstable Harbour
In Whitstable, you seem to see people with dogs all over the place! Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of sea side towns and villages which may be more beautiful (although Whitstable certainly has many beautiful areas), however there’s no denying that it’s a very charming place to enjoy the sea air and sit down with your pooch to enjoy an ice cream. We had an ice cream in the main harbour area and to be honest it’s the first place in years where I have managed to find a 99 (for those who don’t know this is simply a soft serve vanilla ice cream in a cone, with a chocolate flake) which actually still cost just 99p!
It’s just one of countless places along the Kent sea side where you can enjoy winding down for a little while.