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Packing a pooch: the best local dog walks

Does your four-legged friend need a change of scene? Set the tails wagging with these Surrey walks with woodland, rivers and plenty of off-lead opportunities.

Does your four-legged friend need a change of scene? Set the tails wagging with these Surrey walks with woodland, rivers and plenty of off-lead opportunities.

St Ann’s Hill, Chertsey

St Ann's Hill, Chertsey, Surrey
Photo courtesy dogwalksnearme.co.uk

Where to start: The small car park just of St Ann’s Hill Road, Chertsey, KT16 9NW.

Distance and difficulty: This is an easy walk of about 1.5 miles, and will take about 45 minutes.

Why we love it: This is a short walk, and fairly easy, so a great one if you also have small children in tow. You’ll get great views over Surrey and the surrounding areas. The area is well wooded. St Ann’s hill reaches a high of 77 metres, which makes it the highest point in the Runnymede area of Surrey.

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Headley Heath, near Epsom

Headley Heath, near Epsom, Surrey © Amber Evans

Where to start: There’s fairly large National Trust car park on Headley Common Rd, Headley, Epsom KT18 6NN which is free to National Trust members (£1.50 per hour for first 2 hours; £4 for up to 4 hours; £6 for 5 hours and above). A smaller Brimmer car park is a little further along the road.

Distance and difficulty: There’s a colour maze of trails across the heath and you can freestyle it at your own whim. Or for a more structured walk The Lizard Trail is a goodie – at just 3km it’s a good length for families.

Why we love it: There’s a wonderful mix of heathland, woodland and chalk downland here which means plenty of off-lead walkies. And after you’re done, there’s a mobile van on site on weekends and during holiday periods where you can buy drinks and snacks.

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The Tamsin Trail, Richmond Park

Richmond Park, Surrey © Amber Evans

Where to start: There are car parks throughout Richmond Park and you can join the walk from any of these. Post code: TW10 5HS

Distance and difficulty: This is a long circular walk – just shy of 12km – that takes in the perimeter of the park. It’s moderately difficult and will probably take around 2.5 hours.

Why we love it: It’s almost entirely car free and a great one for anyone after a longer walk while also exploring pretty much every corner of the park. You’ll have to keep your dogs on a lead when there are deer nearby.

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Canal walk from The Anchor, Pyrford

Where to start: Start at The Anchor pub, Pyrford Lock, Wisley, Woking GU23 6QW.

Distance and difficulty: This is an out-and-back walk along the canal – so distance-wise it’s entirely up to you and your four-legged friend.

Why we love it: Well, it starts and ends at a pub – and what’s not to like about that. The walk is flat and there are off-lead areas for pooch to have a run. Head off in either direction – towards Guildford or Weybridge.

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West End, Esher

West End, Esher. © Amber Evans

Where to start: Park by the Prince of Wales pub at West End just a mile or so outside Esher.  End Lane, Esher KT10 8LA

Distance and difficulty: At just over 5km, it’s a fairly decent walk that takes in parts of Esher Common. It’s fairly easy with only one or two gentle slops.

Why we love it: It’s got everything – woods, rivers, ponds. Plus there’s a pub at the start and finish, which we’re always happy about. Plenty of room for off-lead running around.

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Holmwood Common, near Dorking

Holmwood Common, National Trust
Image courtesy National Trust

Where to start: Park in the Blackbrook car park, Blackbrook Road, Holmwood, RH5 4NX

Distance and difficulty: It’s about 6km, and easy walking.

Why we love it: It’s a gentle trail around Holmwood Common with a mix of dappled woodland and sunny clearings. There’s even a pond for dogs who like to splash.

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Frensham Little Pond, near Farnham

Photo credit: Kojirou Sasaki / Unsplash

Where to start: There’s a car park at just off Priory Lane, on Grange Rd, Farnham GU10 3BT. If this one is full, carry on – there is a larger one a few minutes further down.

Distance and difficulty: It’s easy walking, and as you can make it as long or little as you like – from a 30 minute quickie to a relaxed two-hour stroll. Make it what you will.

Why we love it: It’s a lovely area with large sandy footpaths which lead you into the heathland, woods or around the lake. If your dog likes a swim, there are plenty of gradual slopes into the ponds, but it gets very busy with families in summer.

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Reigate Hill

Reigate Hill, Surrey © Amber Evans

Where to start: Reigate Hill, Wray Lane, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 0HX

Distance and difficulty: Okay, so it’s a hill which means it’s a bit more effort than a gentle stroll. It can also get slippery when it’s wet – which I can personally attest to having come a cropper during a soggy walk a couple of years ago. It’s about 5km long.

Why we love it: There’s grassland, woodlands and the views are gorgeous. Plus you’ll pass by Reigate Fort, so there’s even an added drop of history. For pooch, there are plenty of wide open spaces for stretching the legs.

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Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Haslemere

Hindhead Common, National Trust
Photo courtesy of the National Trust

Where to start: There’s a National Trust car park three miles from Haslemere, London Road, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6AB.

Distance and difficulty: A moderate walk of about 5km.

Why we love it: Taking in both Gibbet Hill and The Temple of the Four Winds, each with superb views – on a clear day you’ll even glimpse the London skyline. Look out for grazing Exmoor ponies (but keep your dog on a lead if you’re near them).

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Puttenham Common, Guildford

Photo courtesy walkiees.co.uk

Where to start: There’s a car park off Suffield Lane, Guildford GU3 1BE.

Distance and difficulty: You decide the distance – there are choices just follow the trails.

Why we love it: It’s a lovely area to walk at the moment in the spring and summer – with several walking options, all with beautiful views. The fields have a gorgeous meadow feel to them which is great if your dog loves to do ‘find’ the ball in the long grass!

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