Dog walking at Avon Heath
Avon Heath Country Park welcomes responsible dog owners and although the site is home to some rare wildlife, it is felt that through working together it is possible to ensure the heath is a good home to the wildlife as well as a good place for walking the dog.
Please follow the Dorset Dogs 'Doggy Do Code' when visiting the park.
For the welfare of all visitors, the wildlife and dogs, Avon Heath also requires dog walkers to:
- keep dogs on leads at all times if walking more than three dogs
- be in close control of their dogs at all times. Dogs must be kept on a lead in the car parks, North Park's main green and visitor area and in the Discovery Centre and café. On the trails, if the dog will not come to heel immediately when called it must be kept on a lead (long leads are an excellent option). For you and your dog’s safety please be aware that vehicles use the tracks in the park throughout the day
- keep their dog within 15 metres of them at all times
- pick up after their dog (bins are provided at park entrances) and be considerate to wheelchair users. Some of the moulds that grow on dog faeces can cause blindness, especially in children. The nutrients in dog faeces can result in enrichment of the soil leading to the loss of many of the rare heathland species that require low nutrient soils
- consider other visitors to the park. Although you know your dog may be being friendly, others do not. Please do not let it run up to other visitors, as feedback from adults and children with additional needs has shown that this can exclude them from visiting the park
The park is home to adders; if dogs are off the lead and exploring the heather they may be at risk of being bitten between April and October.
Poorly behaved dogs can have an impact on other visitors and on wildlife, from chasing deer to accidentally flushing ground nesting birds from cover (where upon eggs and chicks are vulnerable to crow, jay and magpie attack). Owners will be required to keep dogs on leads at certain times and in certain areas to reduce this impact - signs will be posted.
We regret that commercial dog walkers are not permitted at Avon Heath following a number of incidents and complaints where large groups of dogs have been out of control.