Messages & Comments

For general messages & comments on the project. 

Countryside Code

 Keep dogs under close control

The countryside is a good place to exercise dogs. By law, you must control your dog so it doesn’t disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife.

Keeping your dog on a lead

You don’t have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it’s under close control. However, you should keep your dog on a short lead:

  • if you can’t rely on it obeying you
  • on most areas of open country and common land or open access land between 1 March and 31 July
  • always near farm animals
  • if there are signs asking you to do so

If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it’s safer to let your dog off the lead. Don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it.


Protecting sheep and birds from dogs

Take care your dog doesn’t scare sheep and lambs or wander where it might alarm birds nesting on the ground. Eggs and young will soon die without protection from their parents. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.

Cleaning up dog mess

Dog mess is unpleasant and can cause infections, so clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly. Making sure your dog is wormed regularly will protect it, other animals and people.


Consider other people


Should my dog be on a lead whilst using a public right of way?


Not necessarily, as a dog does not have to be on a lead unless a bylaw or order is in force, despite notices often erected by landowners. However, dogs should remain under close control and on the public right of way, and with some dogs the only way to do this in practice may indeed be to use a lead, particularly if there are sheep present. If your dog were to worry livestock and the landowner or farmer thought your dog was out of control, they would have the right to shoot it.


Back to top»




Is the fouling of public paths by dogs an offence?


This is an offence if a relevant bylaw is in force on the path in question, and in any case it may amount to a common law nuisance. It is also an offence if the local Council has designated the land under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, although a lot of land types cannot be designated. Dog fouling may also be a civil wrong against the landowner. Even where an offence is not committed it is still good practice to clear up after your dog.