Dog walks in Brighton and the surrounding area

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If you are a resident or a regular visitor to the city you will be well aware of all the wonderful dog friendly places we have in Brighton. From cafes to independent pet shops, great beach walks to the windy downs, Brighton and the surrounding area have something for everybody and every pooch!


Regardless of if you have lived in Brighton all your life or are just here for a few days it is nice to be reminded of some of the wonderful walks we have in the area. Below are a few of mine and Bourbon’s favourites.

Brighton Marina to Ovingdean

Restrictions to beaches for dogs are in place from 1st May until 30th September every year. This walk includes a lovely stretch of dog friendly beaches with a stop at Ovingdean Café for a cup of tea, a slice of homemade cake and a drink of water for your pooch.

Great in September and October when the weather is still dry (most of the time), the sea is warm, if you fancy a dip, and there are less people about. Also a really lovely walk on a crisp early spring day.

 Start: Brighton Marina – Parking is free in the multi-storey and many buses run to the Marina from the town centre

Walk length: approx. 3 miles (longer for us dogs as we don’t walk in a straight line!)

Time: 60 minutes

Terrain: Flat and wheelchair/buggy friendly (with the option of a hillier walk on the way back)

Other: Dog Friendly Beaches: Between West Marina wall to Rottingdean Slope

The walk: Make your way to the West Marina wall (above Asda Superstore) and follow the cliff wall all the way to Ovingdean Gap.

Return: retrace your steps or take the steps to the cliff top and follow the edge of the cliff back to the Marina.

Stanmer Park and Woods

Stanmer Park is the perfect place to explore. With woods to offer some protection in all weathers, big open areas for running and playing ball and a dog friendly cafe to stop for a drink.

Great in the Autumn with lots of leaves to frolic around in, bright chilly days and the promise of fireside sleeps after a hard walk. Lots of shade in the summer and ice creams and water at the café too!

Start: Stanmer Park car parks – There are now only 2 car parks either at the entrance or (where I prefer) the park at the top, after you drive past the church.

Walk length: anything depending on how far afield you want to go.

Time: as long as you want

Terrain: Can be quite muddy in places with lots of tree roots to trip you up if you venture into the woods.

Other: The café in the village is dog friendly, provides drinking water, a friendly cuppa and a good selection of cakes.

The walk: Leave the car park and explore. Don’t forget to check out the church and the donkey wheel!

 Preston Park

Preston Park can trace it’s roots back to before the Norman Conquest and but was not open to the public until 1883. Spanning 63 acres it sits in the northern part of Brighton and is often overlooked by visitors as they drive into Brighton.

Start: On foot you can access the park from all sides. By bus you can stop on London Road or Surrenden Road and if travelling by car there is usually plenty of parking inside the park. Do check notices for charges though.

Walk length: anything depending on how far you want to wander.

Time: as long as you want

Terrain: Paths run through the park or you can venture onto the grassy areas. Plenty of space to throw and catch balls and walk off leads away from traffic.

Other: A choice of 2 dog friendly cafes with a great selection of drinks and snacks. The Chalet is located in the centre of the park and the Rotunda is near the south entrance by the pond and rose garden. Also check out the velodrome at the north of the park.  Don’t pass up the chance to visit St Peters Church and graveyard to sniff out the squirrels and perhaps you’ll find a lost tennis ball behind the tennis courts!

The walk: Just explore to your hearts content!


Waterhall is a good option when the weather is a bit unpredictable. It is large (38 acres) and away from the road so a great location for nervous dogs and there is a huge amount of space. On the down side there isn’t much shelter and also no Café but Patcham is a short walk away and The Coach House at 108 Old London Road allows well behaved dogs.

Start: Difficult to access on foot the best option is to travel by bus: The 5, 5A and 56 bus routes serve Patcham Village and Waterhall is a short walk from here or there is limited parking.

Walk length: anything depending on how far you want to wander.

Time: as long as you want

Terrain: Paths run through the park or you can venture onto the grassy areas. Plenty of space to throw and catch balls and walk off leads away from traffic.

Other: Waterhall is a South Downs National park, has a large dew pond and as a Conservation Area contains a mixture of species, rich grassland and scrub and as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance attracts many rare and endangered birds and mammals

The walk: Just explore to your hearts content!

 Ditchling Beacon

One of my favourite places to explore on sunny days is around Ditchling Beacon with lots of walks, plenty of things to sniff and other dogs to meet. Here is one example which you can make as long or short as you like. Just be sure to stop at the ice cream van for a reward for you and your pooch!

Great for the spring with the promise of warmer days, blue skies and spring flowers.

Start: You can park easily at the car park at Ditchling Beacon or catch the no 79. Buses run all year round but are restricted at weekends.

Walk length: If you are feeling energetic the South Downs Way runs all the way from Eastbourne to Winchester, a total of 100 miles. A shorter 7 mile walk west will take you from Ditchling Beacon to Devils Dyke (the National Trust website has this walk detailed here and the map below You can get the no 77 bus back to Brighton) or go as far as you like and retrace your steps.

Time: as long as you want

Terrain: As a well-used route for walkers the terrain is well trodden but has a few obstacles such as stiles.

Other: The South Downs way is part of the South Downs National Park was the first bridleway National Trail in England and is the only National Trail to lie entirely within a National Park. There are many things to see as you walk along the path including the banks and ditches of an Iron Age fort, dew ponds, and windmills.

The walk:  Start by taking the path leading out of the back of the car park heading west. After around 250m you'll see a trig point (a trig point is a reference point usually marked by a pillar) on the left. Continue west along the South Downs Way for as far as you want to go.

Secret Woodingdean

The following walk was recommended to me but I was told I wasn’t allowed to let anyone else know as it is a closely guarded secret!

This walk can be as long or short as you like as you return back the way you came, but go far enough you come across the hidden valley of Woodingdean and it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.

Start: You are aiming to walk the top edge of Woodingdean from the Falmer Road. If driving from the centre of Brighton drive into Woodingdean and turn left at the Downs pub. Just as you come out of Woodingdean past the Woodingdean Business Park turn right into the car park. If coming from the direction of Falmer, turn left into the car park just before Woodingdean Business Park. The number 22 bus also takes you near here

Walk length: A good hour each way but you can return before that

Time: as long as you want

Terrain: As a well-used route for walkers the terrain is well trodden

The walk:  The initial path is named Norton Drive. Continue along Norton Drive until you get to a junction.

Walk a: Choose the path to the left and after approx. 200 meters take the right hand path. This will take you to Castle Hill National Nature Reserve

Walk b: Choose the path straight ahead (rather than down to the left) and continue walking.


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