Walking with your dog in national parks during Spring and early Summer

May 2009

Walking with your dog in national parks during Spring and early Summer
Bruno (a.k.a. 'Superdawg') descending Skelfhill Pen in Teviotdale.
Photo: Mike Knipe

Walking through the magnificent scenery of our national parks with your dog is one of the great joys of dog ownership. And Spring time and early summer must be the finest times of year to enjoy the experience.

However, these are also the most sensitive times of year for the wild life, lambs and calves that make the landscape so distinctive.

This fact has prompted the Peak District National Park Authority - in conjunction with the Kennel Club and local police - to issue a special plea to dog-owners.

Jenny Waller, from the National Park Authority, asks that dog owners keep their pets on short, 2 metre leads during the period 1 March to 31 July.

"Sheep and lambs can be badly injured by uncontrolled dogs during the lambing season.

Ground-nesting birds like curlew and lapwing, and wild creatures such as hares, are also easily disturbed.

"Legally, you do not have to use a lead on public paths as long as the dog is under close control, but we ask dog-owners to be extra-vigilant in the breeding season, and always clip on the lead if you cannot rely on your dog's obedience."

Caroline Kisko, from the Kennel Club, adds that:

"Dog owners have a responsibility under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act to keep their dogs on a lead around wildlife between March 1 and July 31 and at any time in the vicinity of livestock. The countryside is for all to enjoy but dog owners must be respectful of this issue when walking their dog."

This plea from the Peak District follows a similar initiative from the North York Moors National Park Authority.

Susan Blakemore, speaking on behalf of the North Yorkshire national park authority stressed the important contribution that dog-owners can make to conservation efforts.

"The North York Moors is a special place for wildlife, in particular birds such as lapwing, curlew and snipe which nest on the ground. Unfortunately due to several different factors, the numbers of many of these birds are declining in other parts of the country and we don't want that to happen here.

We hope therefore that people will do their bit to encourage these birds to breed in the National Park by keeping their dogs on short leads when walking on the moors."

For more information see here and here


“Fair enough. But, just to clarify, I have two well behaved non sheep chasing dogs. I take them on long walks to exercise them. Can they go offlead, as long as they don't chase stuff?”

Chris Lowry,


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