The Isle of Wight is the perfect escape for you and your four-legged pal. Here, you can explore scenic routes and pet-friendly trails and discover some beautiful dog-friendly walks, as well as cafes and restaurants that fully welcome those with paws. Be sure to be safe out and about, keeping dogs on leads in the countryside due to livestock, and also near cliff edges!

Read on for local recommendations and to plan your perfect outing with your furry friend.

Couple waling their dog on Compton beach, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight coastal dog walks

Compton to Brook

This large stretch of rugged coastline is a great place for dogs (and humans) to run free all year round when it's low tide. Search the rockpools and look for the famous dinosaur footprints as you head towards Brook. Here you can climb the wooden steps and then take the coastal path back towards Hanover, making a great circular walk, finished with a cuppa and an ice cream from the National Trust van in Compton Bay car park.

Yaverland Beach

To the left of the large car park, dogs are welcome on Yaverland beach all year round. This long stretch of golden sands is perfect for dogs (and kids) to let loose and you can combine it with a fossil hunt. There’s a beach cafe at the southern end (check if it’s open in the winter months) and be sure to watch out for cliff falls - never walk directly below the cliff line. 

Steephill Cove

For those staying at India Cottage in Ventnor, this is a great walk to make the most of the stunning coastline. This walk takes you up through Ventnor Park and through Flowersbrook before arriving at Steephill Cove, which is also dog-friendly. Coming back, you can stay on the coastal path and end up on Ventnor Promenade right by The Spyglass Inn which is a great place to stop with pooch for a tipple and watch the waves roll in. 

The Island’s beaches

Dogs are allowed on all our Island beaches during the winter months, so there are many coves and bays to explore, no matter where you are based. However, to ensure everyone is able to enjoy our coastline, there are restrictions in place (dog exclusion zones) between 1 May and 30 September. You can find out more on the Isle of Wight Council website here.

Family walking dogs on the Tapnell Trail

Family-friendly dog walks on the Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke Castle

A favourite haunt for many a dog walker, the setting of Carisbrooke Castle provides the perfect circular walk when you are after a quick route. Follow the moat around this historic setting for a quick blast, or cut through into the wild meadow fields - great for a game of ball. You can take the low roads nearby to walk through the stream before continuing back up to the castle’s car park.

Tapnell Trail 

The Tapnell Trail is a 6-mile loop in the West Wight that takes in the location of the 1970s Isle of Wight Festival at East Afton Down. Perfect for families with dogs as this is a mostly flat and level walk which can be started at any point along the route. Finish off with a legendary burger from The Cow - plus your dog won’t be left out as they are now serving doggy ice cream from Rex’s Range. 

River Yar 

This walk follows the former railway line that linked Yarmouth and Freshwater. There are many versions so it’s easy to do a shorter or longer walk depending on what you want. Starting on Afton Road, follow the path which will take you to the Causeway and over the bridge with the River Yar on your left. Simply follow this route until you arrive in Yarmouth where there are plenty of places for a pit-stop - dogs will love Off The Rails with its very own doggie menu!

St Martins Wood

Take a leisurely circular walk around this woodland near Newchurch and you will discover a variety of habitats, from floodplain meadows to grazed pasture, marshland, fen, river and woodland. Look out for wildlife including barn owls, buzzards, red squirrels and dormice.

Quarr Abbey

Set between Wootton and Ryde, this Benedictine Monastery is a great place for the whole family to visit on a dog walk. You can walk the flat two miles from Ryde Pier along the coastal path, or park at the abbey and then walk the level route that takes you to Fishbourne, a pretty little area with a small beach and dog-friendly pub too!

Dog running in field at Nettlecombe Farm

Isle of Wight countryside dog walks

Brighstone Forest

The largest woodland on the Island, Brighstone Forest is home to many trails and paths, perfect for your four-legged pal to explore. A popular walk is to park up in Jubliee car park and head west along the Tennyson Trail. At its highest point, the woodland is 214 metres above sea level, so you can expect some stunning views along the way. Be careful of grazing cattle throughout the year. 

Nettlecombe Farm

A stay at Nettlecombe Farm in Whitwell means you’ve got plenty of walks to choose from, right on your doorstep and they have some guided routes and maps for you to use. Try the loop around Week Farm which starts right on the farm and passes the fishing lakes and across Stenbury Down where the views are amazing and on a clear day, you really can see for miles!

Borthwood Copse

Managed by the National Trust, Borthwood Copse near Winford is a mix of ancient oak and beech trees and was originally part of a much larger Medieval hunting ground. You’ll spot a mix of wildlife and be sure to look out for rare beetles and insects that this area is noted for.

Parkhurst Forest

One of the oldest forests in the UK, Parkhurst is set between Cowes and Newport and is a great place for pooch to explore with the many winding tracks and trails. You’ll find a squirrel hide, forestry schools and picnic tables making this a great place to lose a couple of hours. 

Brook beach sunset

Scenic dog walks on the Isle of Wight

Headon Warren

Park up on Cliff Road and follow the footpath up towards Headon Warren where you and your dog will be treated to a beautiful heathland with stunning views across to Hurst Point Spit and towards The Needles. You can follow the coastal path for a meandering circular route and we recommend a stop at the ruins of the old Hatherwood Battery, perfect if you’ve bought a picnic and flask along too!

St Helens Duver

A great place to explore, you and your dog will enjoy the beach, rock pools, sand dunes and coastal woods all set within a compact area. Once home to the Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, it is now managed by the National Trust and is open and free to visit. Watch out for grazing livestock on the grassland, such as Hebridean sheep, so dogs are welcomed on leads. 

Fort Victoria Country Park

Here you’ll find a beautifully unspoilt country park right on the shoreline on the outskirts of Yarmouth. Follow the nature trail as it takes you across a secluded beach (not safe for anyone to swim, including the dog!) and through woodland. Take your own picnic or enjoy a pitstop at Cafe Verdi which welcomes the whole family, including pooch.

Culver Down

A walk with a breathtaking view, Culver Down gifts you with a vista out over both Bembridge and west across Sandown and Shanklin Bay. You’ll find Bembridge Fort which is great to explore and there's plenty of open space for the dog to enjoy - just be careful of cows and cliff edges. Top your walk off with a stop at The Culver Haven Inn at the summit!

Dogs running in woodland, Isle of Wight

Dog-friendly parks Isle of Wight

Country Dogs Paddock Hire

Want somewhere where your dog can go off lead without any worry at all? Why not consider hiring a paddock in Brading for them to run riot in? Fully enclosed with 1.5 acres for your dog to explore and plenty of things to sniff, you can take a breather knowing they are safe. Booking in advance is essential and wellies and a dog towel are recommended in the winter months.

Northwood Park

Originally a 19th-century landscape park with pleasure grounds, Northwood Park has been run by Cowes Town Council since 1929. Its elevated position provides sweeping views across Cowes town and out across The Solent. Dogs can run free in much of the park thanks to hedged enclosures and there is also a play park for little dog walkers.