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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Friends of Avon Heath

Help support the work of the rangers in the park by becoming a Friend of Avon Heath.

Avon Heath is Dorset's largest country park and is home to internationally important heathland and rare wildlife. Being a friend of Avon Heath entitles you to a number of benefits and significantly helps to support the work of the rangers and the park's wildlife.


There are many benefits to becoming a friend of Avon Heath:

  • quarterly newsletter about the wildlife, conservation work and upcoming events at the park
  • updates on volunteering events if requested
  • 10% discount on all gifts in the Visitor Centre shop
  • an annual car parking permit for either the main car park or a 'walkers' permit for the two outlying car parks and off-peak admittance to the main car park 

Membership options and cost

Main car park permit

£40 for annual membership including a parking permit solely for the main car park. This membership does not allow access to the outlying car parks.

Walkers' car parks' permit

£30 for annual membership including a parking permit for the two outlying car parks (Birch Road and Boundary Lane) as well as access to the main car park at off peak times (8am - 10.30am and after 4pm). Car park charges apply for access to the main car park outside these times. A parking permit is essential to park at the outlying car parks. 

Additional information

Please check our additional information before purchasing a permit:

  • permits are for one car per household. There is an additional cost of £10 to add a second car from the same household (proof will be requested such as V5 car registration documents for both vehicles) 
  • membership runs for 12 months from the date you join
  • the main car park – Brocks Pine, adjacent to the Visitor Centre, café, play area and toilets, is open every day from 8am until 6.30pm or dusk, whichever is earlier
  • the walkers' car parks are Birch Road and Boundary Lane
  • becoming a member does not guarantee a parking space; the car parks are available on a first come first served basis

Become a friend

Call into the Visitor Centre between 10am and 4pm and the rangers can issue membership for immediate use providing applicants agree to adhere to park conditions (credit/debit card payment accepted). 

Applications are welcome from responsible park users including dog walkers. We have a dog walking code which we ask all dog walkers to read, agree to and sign before they become a member. 

Dog walking code

We have a code we ask that all dog owners follow:

  • dogs should be trained reliably to come to heel, or the dog should be kept on a lead

  • dogs should be within 15m of the owner/walker and in sight at all times, ensuring that they remain on paths designated as permissible for dog walking, and that you will put your dog on a lead if asked by staff

  • all dog owners/walkers must clean up after their dogs, use the dog bins on site or remove the waste from the park

  • anyone bringing more than 3 dogs to the park must always keep them all on leads.  No commercial dog walking is permitted

  • dogs must be kept on a lead in all the car parks, and around the play area and playing field on North Park

  • if the management of the park considers a dog's behaviour to not be in accordance with the points stated above, then the owner will relinquish their parking permit and forfeit their membership and fees

Extra care around cattle

At certain times of the year, dog walkers will need to take extra care.  

British white cattle are grazed across the site. Whilst they are a placid breed, if you are in any doubt as to how your dog would behave around the cattle, please take this into consideration when choosing where to walk. 

Ground nesting birds and reptiles at Avon Heath 

To protect our ground nesting birds please be aware:

  • between March and September, we see the return of Nightjars, Woodlark and other ground nesting birds. Nests and their contents are very vulnerable, and we ask visitors to adhere to notices on the park at this time, restricting dogs to paths and keeping them out of the heather until the birds have fledged
  • all 6 species of native reptile live and breed at Avon Heath and are particularly active between March and September
  • for you and your dogs safety, you are advised to keep your dog out of the heather and stick to the main paths
  • you may be asked to keep your dog on a lead during the bird nesting season

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 

Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally or recklessly: 

(a) disturbs any wild bird included in Schedule 1 while it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or 
(b) disturbs dependent young of such a bird, he shall be guilty of an offence. 

Penalties that can be imposed for criminal offences in respect of a single bird, nest or egg contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is an unlimited fine, up to six months imprisonment or both.  

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