Dog walking

We welcome responsible dog walkers. Many of our countryside areas, including some of our fantastic Country Parks, have facilities just for you and your dog.

River Hamble County Park has an enclosed dog walking field and there is an exciting dog activity trail coming soon to Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

We also manage a network of over 3,000 miles of rights of way for you to explore Hampshire’s beautiful countryside with your dog.

To help you enjoy your visit to the countryside, and to avoid any problems, the Countryside Service supports the Dog Walking Code.

Dog Walking Code

Ensure your dog is under effective control, which means:

  • you have a short lead with you and use it when needed 
  • you do not let your dog off the lead unless you keep it in sight and close enough to come back to you on command

Prevent your dog from approaching horse riders, cyclists, or other people and their dogs uninvited.

Keep your dog with you on paths or access land and don’t let it stray into crops including fields of grass, fruit and vegetables.

Never let your dog worry or chase wildlife or livestock. 

Always bag and bin your dog’s poo wherever you are. You can use any public waste bin or your bin at home.

Never leave bags of dog poo lying around, even if you intend to pick them up later.

Ensure your details are on your dog’s collar and it is microchipped, so you can be reunited quickly if it is lost.

Keep your dog’s vaccinations and worming up to date. Ask your vet for more information.

Dog walking along the coast

Hampshire’s coastline is amazing and has a variety of habitats. This makes it the perfect place for thousands of birds to spend the winter. Some of these birds migrate here to feed and build up fat reserves before returning to their breeding sites in the summer. Some use the coast as a pit stop to grab a quick bite to eat before carrying on with their migration. However the birds use the coast it is a very important habitat.

People also love to visit the coast but the birds can see people (and their dogs) as a threat. When people get too close, the birds sense danger and stop feeding. They may walk, swim or fly away. It can take them a whole day to refuel the energy this uses. This means they lose valuable feeding time and waste precious energy. If disturbance happens often the birds may avoid the area completely. That means more competition for food elsewhere and some birds will be unable to find enough to eat. 

Follow the Bird Aware Coastal Code to help protect the birds of the Solent coast.

Dog walking and grazing animals

Some of our countryside areas have grazing animals on them. These animals are a valuable tool in conserving the wildlife of these areas. Many of the important wildlife habitats in the UK have been shaped by centuries of grazing with animals. To ensure that these are not lost we still use animals to graze these areas. 

Grazing helps prevent scrub and trees from taking over and creates a patchwork of different vegetation. This gives rare plants and invertebrates a chance to thrive. Without this management, these precious habitats would gradually revert to woodland. 

Visitors to grazed reserves are requested to observe the following and stay SAFE around grazing animals: 

  • Stop, look and listen before entering a field; be aware of any animals present
  • Always keep your dog on a short lead
  • Find the safest route around animals, giving them plenty of space and using paths or access land where possible
  • Exit the area calmly and quickly if threatened, releasing your dog to make it easier for you both to reach safety
Projects and partnerships

We have been working in partnership with The Kennel Club and others since 2005, carrying out research and producing guidance to assist public and private landowners and land mangers in minimising the impact of dogs in the countryside. 

Taking the Lead
A good practice guide that aims to provide public sector land managers with some thoughts and ideas to try on their own sites.

Dogs on your land
A guidance note for those managing private land such as farms and nature reserves with public access. It clarifies the legal situation and provides some practical information on how to reduce the impacts of walkers with dogs.

Planning for Dog Ownership in New Developments
This shows how good housing and greenspace design can support the benefits of dog ownership, while also reducing any conflicts with neighbours, wildlife and local farmers.