There are many lovely places to walk with your dog in Surrey, with a variety of landscapes available from rolling hills to dense forests. Below we have listed some of our favourites, which are all away from roads, are large areas with plenty of routes to take and also feel like you are really getting away from it all.
“Sometimes I like to run as fast and as far as I can and mum gets quite worried if we are near anything dangerous (even though I can look after myself!). She likes to go to places which are pretty for her but also safe for me. I do LOVE all of these walks!!”
1. Whitmoor Common
This is a large area of heathland (183 hectares) just North of Guildford owned by Surrey Wildlife Trust (more about the wildlife on Whitmoor can be found on their website here). It has a number of free parking sites around the outside, although the one along Saltbox Lane to the south has just had pay and display machines put in. At the time of writing (June 2019), these were not yet operational. Parking is free next to the Jolly Farmer (North), near St Martha’s Church or in Worplesdon (West). You can also easily get here by public transport, by getting the train to Guildford Station and taking the ‘C’ bus to Mansel Close. Here you can walk up the public footpath, cross Saltbox Lane and enter Whitmoor Common from the south.
To the North of Whitmoor you will find the Jolly Farmer pub where dogs are allowed but only in the bar area. We have described a lovely walk from this pub which takes in most of the common on our ‘Pub Walks’ pages. You can also access this heathland from the West from the Worplesdon Place, although you will have to walk a short while along the road. This is a large pub with swings and slides outside for the children, and dogs are allowed throughout.
The common has a mixture of open heathland and wooded areas, with some streams and a small lake scattered across the heath. There is a board walk through part of the common and often water on either side of this which your dog might enjoy splashing through. We have not yet met any livestock on the common, but one part towards the Northwest asks that dogs are kept on leads during the spring and summer months due to ground nesting birds. In the east there is a trainline that cuts through the common with a bridge that goes over this. North of the bridge the fence is not very enclosed and could allow dogs to get through so take care when in this area. A bridle path also runs along the trainline and so you may encounter horses on this path and perhaps some horse poo too!
2. Blackheath Common
Lying Southeast of Guildford this common covers 250 acres and contains both heathland and woodland. There are two free car parks available, one at Blackheath Lane at GU4 8RB and the other at Littleford Lane (which also has a height barrier) at GU4 8QZ.
Another option is to park in Chilworth, where you will also find the Percy Arms. Dogs are allowed in the bar area where there is a few table and chairs, although these can get quite busy at weekends. The Percy Arms serves British cuisine with a South African twist so you may want to try the food out while you are there. To get to Blackheath, you will need to go over the level crossing and walk up the road a little bit where you will find a public footpath on your left which will take you into the common.
If you enter this way, you may also come across a war memorial with a bench near by where you can enjoy views over the surrounding countryside. There is a variety of paths which you can take, however there isn’t very many streams or places for your dog to drink from so you may wish to take water along with you.
3, Ashtead Common
Over in East Surrey, Ashtead Common covers over 200 hectares and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), home to many ancient oaks and interesting wildlife.
There are a variety of walks which you can take, most are in woodland but some paths are more open to the West of the common. There are some bridleways and cycle paths going through so just be aware of horses and bikes as you walk around.
There is pay parking at Ashtead Station at the south of the common or free parking at Stew Pond Car park (KT18 7FB) to the North. You might also be able to park on the surrounding local residential streets particularly on Sundays when often the permit parking doesn’t apply. Of course you could also get the train – Ashtead station is ideally located for getting here.
The common is also home to a site of a roman villa which was excavated in 2013. It is difficult to see much of this from the path but this website has more details on the excavation and what was found.
The common is made all the better for having a very nice pub to end in – The Woodman towards the south of the common is dog friendly throughout, has a large garden at the rear and also offers a range of food including vegan options.
4. St Martha’s Hill
To the East of Guildford you will find a beautiful place known as St Marthas Hill. This area is a bit hilly but has some lovely views over Surrey. St Martha’s church sits at the top of the hill and is the best place to head for if you want to see the sights.
There are two bridle paths going across the hill and there are often horses around so do watch out for these, however you can stick to the public footpaths which criss-cross the wider bridle paths if you prefer to keep away from these. The site is mostly woodland except for the area near the church, and you will see lovely bluebells in the Spring with many rhododendrons following shortly after which can be found in the Northwest of the woods. There isn’t anywhere for your dog to drink from, so if you’re doing a long walk or if its a hot day it could be best to take some water with you.
You have the option to continue your walk to Newlands Corner, with just a short walk along the road to access the footpath to there. You can also walk along the bridle path down the hill to Chilworth, where you will find the Percy Arms, or walk over to Chilworth Manor if you wish to.
There are free car parks on either side of St Martha’s, to the West on Halfpenny Lane (GU4 8PZ) or to the East on Guildford Lane (GU5 9BQ). You could probably catch the train to Chilworth and walk to St Martha’s from there, however this would be quite a long and steep walk to do!
5. Heather Farm
Our last recommended area in Surrey to walk your dog is in the North of Woking at Heather Farm. This spot has been specially designed to make it more friendly for dogs, with a dog training area, gently sloping river banks to help dogs easily access the water and a water hose so that you can rinse off your dog before they get into the car (or cafe). There is also a fenced off wetland area here which has been developed on the site of a former mushroom factory, however dogs are not allowed in this area.
The car parking (GU21 4XY) is free and the on site cafe is fully dog friendly and open from 8.30am to 4.30pm every day.
This is a great place to meet other dogs and their owners, every time we go here the site is very busy with lots of people out walking their dogs and visiting the cafe. At the far end of Heather Farm you can go onto Horsell Common which takes you through woodland and onto the common and again this is a lovely area to walk. It is also home to the site of the sand pit used by HG Wells to land Martian space craft in his novel “War of the Worlds”.
These are five of the areas which we believe are great places to walk your dog, but do know of others? It would be great to hear your thoughts and suggestions of other places where people might like to visit. Please do leave your comments below.