A Dog Friendly Cornwall Guide to… the Tamar Valley

Too often many visitors are focused on the big Cornish destinations such as St Ives, Newquay and Land’s End. Whilst these are all lovely places to visit, there is no doubt that people are missing a trick by not exploring other parts of the county that are just as beautiful – and extremely dog friendly.

So allow us to present an occasional guide to some of the more undiscovered dog friendly locations that Cornwall has to offer, beginning with the Cornish side of the exquisite Tamar Valley. Straight away this has the edge for people driving into the county, in that it is the closest part to the rest of the UK and it has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whether you are planning a day trip or a full on stay, here’s just some of what is on offer.

Explore by rail

Tamar valley

If you are exploring the area in a day, perhaps the best way to do it is to park up at Plymouth railway station and buy a day return ticket on the Tamar Valley Line. Dogs are very welcome to travel and you’ll get the best view of the vista as the train takes a leisurely ride across the Calstock viaduct over the winding river below and a tapestry of green fields and picturesque hamlets and villages in the distance. Alight at Calstock station for a bite of eat and a drink at the dog friendly pubs, The Tamar Inn or The Boot Inn, both within a half mile walk, and then you are also not to far away to stroll to the dog friendly National Trust estate at Cotehele.

The Cotehele Estate

Unfortunately the Cotehele house and gardens are not dog friendly but do not allow this fact to stop you from exploring the impressive 1300 acres of woodlands, fields and industrial ruins that surround it. Grab a coffee and a cake at the Edgcumbe tea room on the Cotehele Quay (pictured). Download a map of the whole estate by clicking here.

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park

For a full feeling of freedom, this glorious estate – overlooking Cawsand Bay on one side and Whitsand Bay on the other – is akin to a doggy paradise. A variety of formal gardens sit among more open spaces, providing something of a gardening history with the Edgcumbe family’s original 16th century garden and all its subsequent additions leading up the most recent Black Bee Reserve. Stop for a bite at the very dog friendly Stables Cafe in the heart of the delightful Barrow Centre. Heck, you can even stay in one of the luxury cottages set in the parkland such as Yew Tree Cottage. Humans and dogs alike are pretty much guaranteed a great time.

Whitsand Bay

Whitsand Bay looking east from Sharrow Point cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Rob Farrow - geograph.org.uk/p/2145318
Whitsand Bay looking east from Sharrow Point
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Rob Farrow – geograph.org.uk/p/2145318

Although a little tricky to access, this three mile stretch of sand from Rame Head to Porthwrinkle is worth the effort and dogs are welcome all year round. At low tide, they can enjoy quite a run while kids can explore the many rock pools, though there can be dangerous currents at times so only swim when the lifeguards are on duty at certain times between May and September. The beach is also popular with surfers as well as being a favourite site for divers, with ex naval frigate HMS Scylla forming Europe’s first artificial reef after sinking in the bay in 2004.


A lovely fishing village which has as much to offer as the likes of Mevagissey and Mousehole further along the Cornish coast. Pubs such as The Halfway House and The Devonport Inn are dog friendly or simply enjoy a walk around the town and a quick stroll along Kingsand beach, which is by the clock tower and dog friendly all year round.

Where to stay

Stay in the heart of Kingsand at the dog friendly Westcroft Guesthouse, go 1930s style overlooking Whitsand Bay in the delightful Rockwater Cabin, while the nearby Whitsand Bay Hotel also welcomes dogs. Or, for a real Tamar Valley retreat, why not check out Tamar Orchard Barn at Sandhill House (pictured).