\\\ Dog Walks Kent
Dog Walks – Kent – Greatstone – on – Sea – Littlestone – on – Sea – St Mary’s Bay – Dymchurch
Kent’s Sandy Dog-Friendly Beaches
Millions of us will be taking staycations in the UK, weekend breaks, or special days out this year with our dogs
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Choose the best dog-friendly UK beaches
Kent is the most south eastern county of England and just an hour or so drive from London making this a fabulous location to visit for days out, weekend breaks or staycations with your dog.
The Kent coastline including the famous ‘White Cliffs Of Dover’ look out over The Straits of Dover, part of the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel. Not all the coastline are cliffs, Kent has many beautiful, nearly flat, dog-friendly, sandy beaches waiting for you to visit.
The beaches from the Dungeness peninsula, home to Lydd airport and the partly decommissioned Dungeness Power station, across New Romney to Hythe, are some of the finest and tranquil spots you can find, a coastline stretch of around 12 miles (20 kilometres), along dog-friendly sandy beaches of Hythe Bay.
Greatstone Beach is well known for local water surfing activities, including kitesurfing and stand up paddle boarding, and is patrolled by lifeguards during the busier months. The beach like most of the 12 miles or so of Hythe Bay is shingle and sandy when the tide goes out, leaving you about a half mile walk to the sea edge. It’s great to visit this beach with your dog when the tide has turned and on its way out where the sand has had some time to start ‘drying out’.
The back shore of most of the beach are the famous Greatstone sand dunes, that are similar to the formation of many English beaches, providing separation from the land to sea, also a Site of Specific Scientific Interest. A wide variety of rare plant species grow on the dunes and the area supports a strong population of small animals and insects.
Dogs are banned on two areas of the beach from 1 May to 30 September each year, the busier areas, where there are signs indicating this. The first area is from opposite The Jolly Fisherman southwards to opposite no. 17 The Parade and the second from no. 114 The Parade southwards to no. 172 The Parade. There’s plenty of room elsewhere for you and your dog on this beach during summer months.
Littlestone-on-Sea Beach is just a couple of miles further east, a quieter, tranquil, small village with a beach, just across from the coastal road. The beach is a shelving shingle beach with sand dunes. When it’s low tide, there are expanses of sand and mud flats making a distance to walk to the sea. There are few amenities, but a pleasant day can be spent here.
Dogs are banned on the main centre area of the beach during 1 May to 30 September only. (Madeira Road to Clark Road).
St. Mary’s Bay Beach is predominantly shingle with wide shallow sand flats exposed at low water. You’ll notice old posts sticking up out of the sand and these are some of the old groyne system that the south of England beaches use as sea defences to help protect local communities from being flooded, being so low lying and flat land.
The ‘Bay’ as it is known locally does have a promenade where dogs can be walked during the restricted summer season. Dogs are restricted on the main part of the beach during summer, 1 May to 30 September, which is signed.
Dymchurch Beach has grown into a sizeable village with seasonal holiday traffic and local camping and nearby caravanning park. It also provides visitors with cafes, restaurants and gift shops.
These newly built flood defences now offer the opportunity to walk the length of the four mile promenade by the beach. There are steps down to walk onto the beach. High tide sees the sea reaching these defences, so it’s important to check tide times before journeying, especially if you want to spend a few hours on the beach, and pick times to dog walk about 2 hours after the high tide, this allows the sea to be retreating and start exposing shingle and sand which starts drying out.
Dogs are restricted usually from 1 May to 30 September on the beach, between Sycamore Gardens and The Martello Car Park.
It’s highly recommended to take a picnic with you if you intend to spend a few hours on these beaches as there are not many facilities actually located on the beaches. There are several cafes and restaurants when driving along the 12 mile Hythe Bay coastal road, and Dymchurch village.
Car parking is very accessible all the way along the Bay, being able to park at the side of the roads in many places.
You may prefer on some days to walk the Kent Coastline Walk – a walk starting at Camber Sands and snaking around the Dungeness peninsula, around the Kent beach coastlines finishing at Dartford. You can pick it up at Dungeness point, along Greatstone Beach through to Romney, and on to Hythe, being mostly flat and manageable for your dog, a walk of around 13 miles.
The Dungeness National Nature Reserve provides a fabulous haven for wild life which you can easily spot. There are areas restricting your dog walking in the RSPB Nature Reserve, signposted.
You can also feel safe as the area has a local manned RNLI lifeboat available for launch at Littlestone, and offer some useful online reminders about dog walking beach safety before you visit.
Should your dog suffer an injury there are veterinary surgeries available at Hythe and along Hythe Bay.
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway have a popular train linking the villages together, with stations at Hythe, Dymchurch, St Mary’s Bay, Romney Warren, New Romney, Romney Sands and Dungeness which allows dogs to travel on with their owners.
You may like to read more about dog walking the renowned Camber Sands, just 11 miles or so from Greatstone Beach around Dungeness, famed for its miles of golden sands and typically exposed rippled sands as the sea retreats at low tide, as the picture below illustrates.
The Kite Surf Centre has a useful local page of accommodation. B&B’s, self catering and camping opportunities and local recommended hotels.
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Beach doggie tips to remember –
- To take lots (more than usual) of fresh water and a collapsible bowl for your thirsty dog. Seawater is salty and will make your dog even more thirsty.
- Have old towels to dry your dog if they’ve been swimming. Provide them with towels to sit on, rather than the sand, and towels help to clean off the sand before going home!
- A sun canopy or umbrella shade is important, not just for you, but also for your dog who can catch sunburn as much as you can. Check out Pet Check Shop for supplies.
- You may need to use a short and/or long dog lead during restriction times, and take a dog muzzle if you prefer your dog to wear one on busier beaches. Dogs can act out character in new, unknown places often feeling anxious.
- Please remember to take your rubbish home with you. That includes dog poop which is your responsibility to clean up at all times.
To get the very best out of a special day trip, plan in advance.
- Pre-book your car park space if necessary.
- Check all local social media before setting out including if there are traffic build-ups in the area so you are not wasting time sitting in a hot car.
- Check tide times for the best times to be on the beach. We recommend two hours after high tide allows the tide to be going out, sand and shingle drying out and gives more space on the beach.
- Remember to buy sun block for you and your pet before its too hot weather, apply before leaving home.
- Ensure your dog has ventilated space in your vehicle and also sunshades protecting them from direct sunlight whilst travelling.
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The recent pandemic has bought about new changes to the ways we do things. Post lockdown restrictions may require households not to travel in certain areas of the UK. Read latest government advice. It’s advisable to check with your local council and social media websites before making special journeys. You may find that you are required to pre-book vehicle entry into popular beaches during the summer months.
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