Help protect the natural environment
We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside now and for future generations. So please take care by making sure you don't harm animals, birds, plants or trees and try to leave no trace of your visit. When out with your dog please make sure it is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, horses, wildlife or other people.
When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control.
This means that you:
Keep your dog on a lead, or keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it's doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command, ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access.
Special dog rules may apply in particular situations, so always look out for local signs - for example:
Dogs may be banned from certain areas that people use, or there may be restrictions, bylaws or control orders limiting where they can go. The access rights that normally apply to open country and registered common land (known as 'Open Access' land) require dogs to be kept on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to help protect ground nesting birds, and all year round near farm animals.
At the coast there may also be some local restrictions requiring you to keep dogs on a short lead during the bird breeding season and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds during other times of year. For more information please read the Bird Aware Coastal Code.
It's always good practice (and a legal requirement on 'Open Access' land) to keep your dog on a lead around farm animals and horses, for your own safety and for the welfare of the animals. A farmer may shoot a dog that is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog's owner.