From lost arboretums, and towering redwood groves to bluebell covered forest floors, there are so many wonderful woodland wanders in Bristol and beyond. We love exploring in any season, whether it’s sheltering from the rain, foraging wild garlic or marvelling as the leaves turn orange and red in the autumn. These woodlands are perfect to explore with your dog and discover someplace new together.
Avon Valley Woodlands
A 31.5 hectare wooded valley encompassing Conham River Park, Hencliff Wood and Bickley Wood, with the River Avon running through. The woodland is beautiful, with a mix of ancient trees and quarried cliffs, a sign of the industrial past that used to thrive in the valley. It’s also excellently located to near the wonderful Chequers Inn dog friendly pub which has a pub garden right next to the river.
Blaise Castle Estate
A magical dense woodland in Cleeve, with three main circular routes, varying in length from 3 to 5km. The longest route will take you through mossy woodland before ascending to the peak for a great panoramic view, whereas the shortest loop takes you around the old settlements from the late Bronze Age to early Iron Age.
A small woodland with a mighty history. Once the gardens and arboretum of an old grand house, which aided in the recuperation for soldiers in the First World War. The house is now long gone and the remains of old stone walls and structures are being restored by The Woodland Trust and volunteers. It’s also next to Bennett’s Patch & White’s Paddock Nature Reserve, which houses the famous wicker whale sculptures and a four-metre-high timber relief sculpture showing the face of a woman.
A brilliant circular woodland walk not too far from the city centre, in Failand. The woodland is home to ‘Big Tree Grove’, an impressive row of redwoods that look amazing at any time of the year. It’s also a great walk for winter as the path is gravelled and does not get too muddy. In spring, the centre of the woodland is filled with bluebells.
Top of the list as one of the best dog walks in Bristol, this woodland surrounds the River Frome and is perfect for dogs that love to swim and splash around in the water. From here you can walk to Oldbury Court Estate, which has open fields, as well as a fab children’s play area and cafe.
Probably the most popular woodland in Bristol, enjoyed by dog walkers, families, cyclists, and joggers alike. With well-trodden paths, you could easily spend a few hours here, walking down to the River Avon, or visit Paradise Bottom, which has some great pools for dog swims! In part of the woodland, dogs need to be on lead, as there are cattle and deers.
Absolutely one of our favourite places for a family walk. You do have to pay for entry, so make sure you visit in the spring or autumn when the colours in the woodland are at their best. Dogs are only allowed off lead in Silk Woods. Afterwards, stop by the cafe, where they serve dog ice cream, water and biscuits, and of course food for humans!
Cared for by Forestry England, you could easily spend a few hours walking around this large, well-kept woodland. With many trails to explore, it also has a small All Ability Trail, suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Extend your walk even further by exploring Priddy Mineries, on the opposite side of the road.
East Harptree Wood & Smitham Chimney
A small but spectacular woodland, rich in history and an ode to the Mendip’s industrial past. This lovely short walk based is around the impressive industrial chimney that stands in a testament to the industry that once flourished here. With a pond for swimming in that your dog will not want to get out of!
A large hillside woodland, sitting in a cluster of great walks in the Mendips, from Black Down, Dolebury Warren, Burrington Ham and Burrington Combe, so this walk could easily be extended further. Rowberrow Warren has a small stream running along the bottom and is a peaceful woodland, shared with horse riders and mountain bikers.
Looked after by The National Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, this woodland has circular trails, amazing views and a little cafe. With many paths to explore, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular for dog walkers. There are cows in one of the fields, but this is clearly signposted.
National Trust Woodchester Park
With walking routes ranging from 2-7 miles in a 400 acre National Trust woodland, this wooded valley contains a ‘lost landscape’ with remnants of an 18th and 19th century landscape park with a chain of 3 lakes, complete with an old boathouse and an abandoned quarry. In some small areas, dogs are asked to be kept on a short lead.
A newer woodland near Pucklechurch that feels very open and peaceful and is split into two areas, one each side of the road. One side has small sloping hills, with views of Kingswood, Bristol and the Cotswold Edge, whereas the other side is flatter, with a small brook running through, perfect for dogs to test out the water!
Lower Woods Wickwar
An ancient 700 acre woodland between Wickwar and Hawkesbury Upton, with the Little Avon River running through. It’s a lovely woodland with waymarked routes ranging between 1/4 and 3 miles. In spring, the woodland floor is covered with bluebells and wild garlic. Wellies are advised!
A beautiful walk, perfect for exploring with young kids as there are shallow areas of the River Mells where kids can splash around in the summer, not to mention your pup as well! The area is rich in history, once an area of heavy industry, where you can now spot relics of the past, like old limekilns, tramways and railway sleepers.
The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail
One of the most famous walks within The Forest of Dean and most definitely worth a visit. Try to find all the sculptures, although you may be walking for a while! Our favourite is the 15ft stained glass window suspended from the tree canopy enabling visitors to walk underneath. The walk has good facilities such as toilets, cafe, picnic areas and parking.
A huge 2,223 acre woodland, just south of Marlborough, perfect for a family picnic and dog walk. You could walk for hours here and still have a huge area to explore! The highlight of the walk is discovering ancient trees, some up to 1,000 years old, we’ve included a map so you can try to find them all. The main paths are gravelled, which are suitable for little bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
A private woodland, working in conjunction with Forestry Commission, so it can be open to the public. If your dog likes to swim, this is the walk for you, with amazing pools for doggy paddles. As long as dogs stick to the paths you’re more than welcome there with your pup. We would also advise that you avoid visiting between October and January because of the hunting season.