Vast open spaces, low lying land and over 2,000 miles of countryside and 350 miles of coastline to explore, Essex is perfect for those with a four-legged friend.

1. Dedham Vale

Dog running in the parkEnjoy a 7.4-mile (11.4 kilometer) meander through Constable country on the Essex – Suffolk border in Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Immortalised by the famous painter, John Constable, you and your furry friend can walk through rolling green fields and follow the River Stour before stopping for refreshments at one of the villages delightful public houses.

2. Danbury Country Park

Discover Danbury Country Park. With its well-maintained hard-surface tracks, the park is a great to walk your furry friend(s). With wide open spaces which are perfect for chasing a ball or stick, you can take a rest on one of the many seats and picnic benches available.As you walk along the lakeside path, you’ll meander alongside tranquil waters where you can watch ducks, swans and carp, and past the ornamental gardens. Make sure your canine doesn’t get too close to the carp.

3. Epping Forest

With a vast expanse and enchanting woodland, Epping Forest is ideal for both walkers and dogs, young and old. Amble through ancient woodland to Ambresbury Bank, one of two of Iron Age earthworks in Epping Forest. Thought to have been built around 500BC, Ambresbury Bank occupies one of the highest points in the forest and is thought to have been a hill fort. There are also plenty of ponds so there’s plenty of opportunities for your pooch to get their paws wet.

4. Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

At almost 14 miles long the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation is ideal for you and your canine chum(s). Previously used to transport coal, corn and timber, the towpath is used by dog walkers, cyclists and ramblers. You’ll cross over plenty of locks, walk through some glorious countryside and - if you and your friend are felling parched - you can stop halfway along the route for refreshments at Paper Mill Lock.

5. Country parks, green spaces, bridleways and footpaths

Essex Country ParksEssex is full of country parks and green spaces and the county is crisscrossed with hundreds of footpaths and bridleways where you can safely walk your four-legged friend. While the park is a favorite destination for those with little legs due to the Gruffalo walk, Thorndon Country Park is also a delight for dogs due to the purpose-built dog activity trail. Inspired by dog agility courses, the trail will get both you and your pooch as ‘fit as a butchers dog’ - with 10 dog-friendly obstacles it makes a difference to the usual walk in the park.

6. Hadleigh Country Park

One of the largest green spaces in Essex, Hadleigh Country Park, with acres of countryside at your disposal for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy, it’s a great day out for man and dog alike. With the castle as a focal point – which was built in 1215 – and depending on you and your pets ability, you can take a one kilometer family trail or the longer nine kilometer loop of the park. With the trails passing the castle you’ll get spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

7. Hylands Estate and Park

With woodlands, wide open grassy spaces, trails, paths and plenty of bushes and hedgerows to explore, Hylands Estate and Park is the perfect playground for your pooch. The park has 574 acres to explore with many of it safe to let your dog(s) roam free and off the lead. With plenty of parking and easy walking routes into Chelmsford City and a café available for refreshments (dogs aren’t allowed in but they can join you in the seating area), Hylands Estate and Park makes a great dog walking day out.

8. The Saltmarsh Coast

Famous for its salt, you can enjoy beautiful walks along the sea wall and around the Saltmarsh Cost from Maldon to Burnham-on-Crouch.You can easily explore off the beaten track and enjoy some peace and solitude away from the crowds.With gravel paths, pubs and plenty of creeks there's lots of places for your pooch to have a paddle while you enjoy a local brew.

9. The Naze

Discover The Naze and immerse yourself in wildlife and history while you take your dog(s) for a walk. With the Naze Tower looming over the landscape you can walk along the coastal path and keep an eye out for all the wildfire which is in an abundance – seals, birds and butterflies can all be seen on your walk. With three different paths, with the wildlife trail being the longest which takes you on a loop, there's enough to keep you and your furry friend entertained.

10. Paglesham Sea Wall

This circular walk will certainly leave you both ‘dog tired’ as it will take two hours to complete the whole circular walk. With farmland, sea walls and a small village to meander along and through, Pagelsham, in Rochford Distirct, and its surrounding area is great for those of you who like birdlife, boats and views of Burnham-on-Crouch. Your canine friend will love you for this walk as there off-lead areas (and free parking for those who need to travel there).
When you go please remember all the usual rules of dog walking. Take your litter away, pick up after your pooch, and keep them on leads when around livestock, children, or any potential dangers. Be respectful to the countryside, and others there, so everyone can enjoy their time in the outdoors.

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