The start of spring brings with it promises of longer evenings, warmer weather and the excitement of summer. For dog owners though and those planning to visit Cornwall with their pooch the foreboding confusion of the county’s seasonal dog bans start to linger. Today I thought I’d share with you our comprehensive guide on how to beat the ban this summer. I go into depth about the different types of dog ban (did you know there are three?!) and share some of our favourite tried and tested dog friendly beaches in Cornwall.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Cornwall:
Dog Friendly Beaches all Year Round
The first and most restrictive of dog bans in Cornwall are the full bans, whereby dogs are not allowed on the beach at all. Typically these start on either Easter Day or 1st May and run through to the end of September. Many of Cornwall’s beaches fall under this ban, however there are plenty of dog friendly alternatives scattered around the county.
I’m planning a separate post about the dog friendly beaches in Cornwall I’d like to visit this year so keep your eyes peeled for that. For now though, I thought I’d share some of our tried and tested favourite beaches that are dog friendly all year round!
Grebe Beach, Durgan
Grebe beach, near Durgan is quiet and secluded and a popular choice for dog owners! It’s a short walk from the National Trust’s Bosveal car park and the footpath is easily missed if you’re not careful! The beach itself is shingle, the kind of stones that are perfect for skimming! The water is mostly calm, as the beach is situated away from the mouth of the river. I think it’s the perfect place for a sea swim in the summer, finished off with a barbeque on the beach of course!
There are plenty of walks nearby, including the coastal paths and of course Carwinion Woods! The Ferryboat Inn is up the river in Helford Passage, serving delicious burgers and freshly caught seafood. It goes without saying that they’re dog friendly and Woody and I are fast becoming regulars!
Dollar Cove, The Lizard
Dollar Cove is shrouded in stories of shipwrecks, pirates and hidden treasure. It’s a popular spot for metal detecting and beach combing throughout the year. It’s also dog friendly too. Though the jagged rocks make swimming less than ideal, the large expanse of shingle beach is perfect for a game of fetch. Both Woody and Millie enjoy visiting Dollar Cove and the myths of washed up Portuguese Dollar Coins just adds to its charm.
Parking is nearby in a National Trust carpark, which is free for members. Dollar cove is more secluded in terms of amenities compared to other dog friendly beaches but there are toilets and an ice cream kiosk nearby. The coastal path runs either side of the beach, enabling you to explore the Lizard from the cliffs!
Loe Beach, Feock
Loe Beach was one of the first beaches I ever visited in Cornwall nestled between Truro and Falmouth. Close to the Woodland Walk at Trellissick Gardens, lies this quiet beach on the river Fal. The slipway is always busy with kayaks, dinghies and leisure craft launching throughout the day. A designated swimming area is marked with buoys, ensuring safety of all beach users. The beach is dog friendly all year round there are always plenty of pooches to meet. The owner of Loe Beach Watersports, Alastair has two dogs of his own; his chocolate Labrador and Cocker Spaniels are always out playing together.
There is a small car park at the beach, though it is shared with stowed boats and trailers so can be a bit of a squeeze. During high season there is a small charge, though it’s only a few pounds to park for the whole day. Next to the Watersports Centre is a small Café serving light lunches, hot drinks and tasty treats.
Loe Bar, Porthleven
Easily confused with Loe Beach in Feock, Loe Bar is found between Helston and Porthleven. It’s dog friendly all year round, though strong rip tides and currents make swimming treacherous. Luckily your four legged friend can take a dip in Loe Pool instead, just the other side of the sand bar.
The walk from Penrose to Loe Bar is perfect for summer. The dense woodland walk shelters you from the sun’s rays during the day and Cornwall’s largest freshwater lake provides the perfect place for a paddle. Keep an eye out for rope swings along the way! You can continue your walk along the coastal path to Porthleven, a seaside town famous for its fishing port. There are plenty of amenities here and if you’re looking for a sweet treat, I’d definitely recommend an ice-cream from Nauti but Ice!
Kennack Sands, Lizard
Hidden away in the Ruan Minor, a village on the Lizard Peninsula, lies Kennack Sands. You’ll find two beaches here, as you walk down from the carpark. The first isn’t dog friendly all year round but just a short walk away, clearly sign posted throughout and you’ll arrive at the dog friendly beach.
The beach here is a huge expanse of sand, with dunes and a nature reserve behind. It’s very secluded and a way from any roads, making it the perfect place for dogs to explore off the lead. There’s a small car park by the beach, along with kiosks and toilets. There’s a small charge to park, however further up the hill is a field where you can park for free! There are plenty of places to explore nearby too, including Lizard Point, the most southerly point in the UK.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Cornwall:
Partial Dog Bans 08:00 – 19:00
The second type of dog ban in Cornwall is the partial ban. Here dogs are not permitted during certain times of day. Typically these times lie between 08:00 and 19:00 but can vary, so be sure to double check before you go!
These partial dog bans are the best of both worlds. During the day tourists and beach goers can enjoy the seaside free of dogs. Come evening, locals can walk their four legged friends by the sea, saving them having to drive further away to exercise their pets.
Now, I’m going to put out a little disclaimer here. Despite thoroughly researching dog friendly beaches in Cornwall I am confused as to how dog friendly the beaches surrounding Gwithian actually are. From my understanding, like many beaches in Cornwall, there are sections that are not dog friendly. However Cornwall Council’s report about access to the dog friendly beach being destroyed in a landslip is less than reassuring but apparently the issue has been sorted now. I’m planning a trip in the next few weeks so will keep you updated!
Anyway, back to the beach. Gwithian is a haven for dogs with its vast sandy beach tucked behind the dunes of Gwithian Towans.Dogs enjoy chasing each other up and down the sandy shores and playing among the dunes. There are a number of carparks nearby and, according to my resources the dog bans are lifted after 19:00! A popular place for windsurfers, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen still water at Gwithian. My fondest memory of Gwithian beach to date has to be on Christmas Day when we got caught out in the storms!
Porthcurno, Lands End
The white sands of Porthcurno are enticing. Coupled with the turquoise sea, it’s like being transported to the Carribbean. With the open air Minack Theatre and Telegraph Museum nearby, the beach is a hub of activity, particularly in summer.
Dogs are banned until 19:00 between May and September, however it’s the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful sunset with your pooch. There’s a National Trust carpark nearby with local walks mapped out on giant boards. The beach is secure, with concrete steps down and cliffs sheltering the sand either side. I feel confident letting Woody run free here but he does have a tendency to pinching people’s picnics! Oh Woody…
Portreath is flooded with furry friends in the evenings. Before I adopted Woody I used to love watching all the dogs play during the summer months. I couldn’t help but smile!
Portreath is another sandy beach, with plenty of space to run at full speed. Woody enjoys playing fetch with his friends here, most notably Ollie the Collie! Tehidy Woods is nearby too, the perfect place to walk in the evenings while waiting for the dog ban to lift! I’ve never had a problem parking in the town and there are plenty of restaurants, shops and amenities nearby!
Dog Friendly Beaches in Cornwall:
Dogs Kept on Leads
The final type of restriction for dogs on Cornish beaches. Here dogs are allowed all year round but must be kept on leads during certain times of year (mostly the high season.)
Now this may suit some breeds better than others. Woody is a little bugger on the lead, always pulling me everywhere we go! For him, he needs space to run around freely and burn off that excess spaniel energy. However if you have a more relaxed dog, who copes well walking on a lead these beaches could be the perfect fit!
Carne Beach, The Roseland
The Roseland Peninsula is a beautiful place to explore by foot. Its endless coastal paths twist and turn, treating hikers to the most spectacular views! Carne Beach is a sandy beach hidden away in Veryan, close to Nare Head. Low tide uncovers a huge expanse of sand, perfect for paws to explore. The waves are also calm, making Carne a great place for swimming, whether you’re human or hound!
There are a few free parking bays directly opposite the beach, including disabled spaces. The main carpark is just round the corner, again run by the National Trust. During the summer months the Tea by the Sea are on site offering delicious treats!
A firm favourite for dog owners across the county. It was even the host to a recent Dachshund World Record attempt, which was broken by the way! I don’t think I’ve ever met a dog owner who wouldn’t recommend Perranporth beach.
Dogs have to be kept on leads between July and August from 9am to 5pm, which leaves plenty of time in the evening for off lead fun! Perranporth is a social hub in the summer months, with plenty of music festivals and events held each year. A beautiful mix of gold sand and dunes, with cafés and amenities close by! The town too is definitely one to explore, with plenty of independent shops lining the high street.
Summerleaze Beach, Bude
Fun fact, I found my first ever starfish on Summerleaze beach, a momentous occasion for any 10 year old, I’m sure you’ll agree! I first visited Bude on a year 5 school trip to Cornwall and stayed in a hostel overlooking Summerleaze beach from the cliffs. I’ve since revisited with Millie, who had a wonderful time exploring in the rock pools and sprinting by the sea.
Dogs are allowed on Summerleaze beach all year round, however they must be kept on leads between 21st May and 30th September from 10am to 6pm. There’s plenty of parking nearby and the town and its amenities are just a short walk away.
You’ve reached the end of our comprehensive guide to dog friendly beaches in Cornwall. Of course there are plenty of others I haven’t featured, if I did this post would go on forever! We’re always looking for new dog friendly beaches to explore, particularly now summer is upon us. We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!
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