Dogs at Dunwich Heath: our 'woof' guide!

A man and lady sitting on a bench bird watching, a dog is in the foreground

We know that dogs are part of the family, so they are very welcome at Dunwich Heath. However, the site is also an important nature reserve with sensitive habitats and rare heathland birds and animals. If you’re bringing your dog to Dunwich Heath, please help us protect our wildlife and maintain a safe environment for everyone to enjoy. The information below will help you make the most of your visit. Please ask our team if you have any queries!

Take the lead…

Dogs are very welcome at Dunwich Heath we just have a few simple guidelines to maintain a dignified doggy environment!

From 1st March to 31st August:

  • All dogs must be kept on a lead on the heath to protect the ground-nesting birds, and must stay on the footpaths. Please don’t ignore our signs.
  • Dogs can be off the lead on the beach, though please stop your dog chasing birds or approaching seals.
  • Dogs can also be off the lead on our Woof Walk (the purple trail on the site map, found here)

From 1st September to 28th February:

  • Dogs can be off the lead, however, must be under close and effective control. This means: 1. Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call. 2. Being able to clearly see your dog at all times, in practice this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible. 3. Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent. 4. Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock, wildlife, or are asked to use one.
  • Stick to the paths to prevent disturbance to wildlife.
  • We often have livestock on site during the winter months, so you must put your dog on a lead if you see our sheep signs.

Scoop that poop…

  • It’s vitally important that you clear up after your dog and dispose of waste in the dog poo bins provided. Locations are clearly marked on our site map, so please bag it and bin it.

Paws for thought…

  • Dogs are welcome inside the tearoom but please sit at pawprint labelled tables.
  • Dog tie up points are located outside the tearoom and the toilets, please do not leave your dog more than ten minutes.
  • Water bowls and taps are provided around the buildings.
  • Spare leads, treats and poo bags are available from the visitor information centre– we even have tennis balls so you can enjoy a game with your dog!
  • If you have an accident, we have a dog first aid kit and can direct you to local vets.
  • If you happen to lose your dog, please contact a member of our team as soon as possible.  It is a legal requirement for your dog to be microchipped and wear a collar with your contact details.
  • Ticks: as with most countryside areas, Dunwich Heath has ticks which can be picked up all year round so make sure you check when you get home.
  • Adders: These reptiles are active from spring until mid-autumn and are the UK’s only venomous snake, so in the unlikely event that your dog is bitten please contact our team straight away as it will require veterinary treatment.
  • Never leave your dog in a car on warm days, there is no adequate shade in our car park. We will take action if we see a dog in distress.

You can download a copy of our ‘Woof Guide’ here