Councillor Andrew Gibson, the County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “Our Countryside Service manages a diverse range of country parks and outdoor sites, as well as over 3,000 miles of rights of way across Hampshire. It’s important that our visitors continue to enjoy our routes and sites, whilst respecting other people and protecting the natural environment.
“This is why we’re holding a series of drop in events, in partnership with colleagues within the Police’s Country Watch scheme, for countryside visitors to discuss how our green spaces can be enjoyed responsibly by a wide range of people, including walkers, horse riders, dog owners and cyclists.
“For example, one idea we’re keen to explore further is whether improved signage will help dog owners be more aware about keeping their pets under effective control, to avoid causing harm to wildlife or livestock, as well as possible injuries to the dogs themselves.
“We know dog walkers are keen supporters of our parks and open spaces and often act as our eyes and ears on the ground. We are keen to work with them further, and everyone who uses our country parks and outdoor spaces, to help keep our countryside a safe place for everyone to enjoy.”
Inspector Lou Hubble OBE, from Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch scheme, added: “We’re really pleased to be working alongside Hampshire County Council’s Countryside Service, with our shared goals of engaging with rural communities in positive ways and starting constructive conversations so that everyone remains safe.”
A team of rangers will hold drop-in sessions at:
- Lepe Country Park, New Forest - 16 and 30 August
- Danebury Hill Fort, near Stockbridge - 20 August
- Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield - 19 and 31 August
Further details on responsible dog walking can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryside/dogwalking