Dogs in Devon: Your top three FAQs

We’re lucky to have many great footpaths across coast and countryside, and a large proportion of these places are happy to welcome your well-behaved dog.

Due to the huge variety of places that we take care of, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule about where your dog can go.

It’s best for you to check the website of your destination before you arrive, just to be sure. 

Of course, assistance dogs are always welcome to our places. 

  •  When should I keep my dog on a lead?

We’re happy for dogs to get a good run as long as they aren’t causing a nuisance to others or wildlife, and are still under your control. So if you’re not sure whether your dog would come back when you call them, we ask that you please keep them safely on a lead.

It’s also really important that you always keep your dog on a lead around livestock. Dogs can easily frighten farm animals with unpleasant consequences. Not only could these animals cause injury to yourself or your dog when startled, but they can become incredibly stressed too – it can sadly cause livestock to lose their unborn babies or die.

Cliff tops may have spectacular views, but these areas can still be dangerous. Keeping your dog on the lead in these areas will make sure they’re safe to enjoy the walk with you.

It’s worth remembering that special rules apply if you are walking on access land. To protect ground-nesting birds like skylarks, you must keep your dog on a lead less than 2m long between 1 March and 31 July.


There is so much to see with your four-legged friend
There is so much to see with your four-legged friend
  • What should I do if livestock approach me and my dog?

Farm animals can be quite curious, and so you may find that they take an interest in you and your dog. In most cases, you can walk by safely giving them plenty of room. It’s really important that you don’t go between a mother and her offspring.

If the animals get too close, we recommend that you let go of your dog’s lead. Allow them to run away and meet you further along the path. It’s probably best to avoid picking your dog up, as the animals may continue approaching you.

If the livestock are blocking your path, whistling and talking to them as you approach lets them know you are there. Clapping as loudly as you can will also encourage them to move away.

However, if after this they are still blocking the way, then it may be best to avoid passing them.

A dog makes friends with a pony in the Sidmouth countryside
A dog makes friends with a pony in the Sidmouth countryside
  • What should I do with my dog’s waste?

Nobody likes to see dog poo, we all agree on that. Aside from being an eyesore, it can cause lots of problems like spreading nasty diseases, and causing illness to other people and children who may accidentally come in contact with it. In some instances, it can even cause blindness.

We wouldn’t want to make our areas dog-free due to mess, as we know so many of you enjoy these walks responsibly. That’s why we look to you to make sure it’s picked up and binned properly, so that it doesn’t get stepped on or give our rangers a surprise with the strimmer!

However, in some parts of the coast and countryside there may not be any bins available. If this is the case, then we ask that you take the waste home with you or find a bin off the site. It’s not nice to leave plastic bags in the trees or near the gates, so please avoid doing this.


Dog and owner walking at Combe Wood
Dog and owner walking at Combe Wood