Taking the lead on dog walking

Imagine your pup playing on open parkland, rustling through fallen leaves or bounding over golden sand. These are just some of the reasons you'll love walking your dog in the countryside or along the coast. We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade on the Dogs Welcome project, helping you and your dog get even more out of the special places we care for.

This three-year partnership is based on our shared love of open spaces and the special relationships between dogs and their owners.

Together we'll make sure you and your dog get the most out of the woodlands, fields, parkland and beaches we look after. And support the co-branded Forthglade range of natural meals and treats, designed to help your dog stay happy, healthy and full of energy for their outdoor adventures.

The Canine Code

We want you and your dog to have a fun and stress-free day. We also want to protect farm animals and precious wildlife habitats, as well as ensure everyone can enjoy the countryside, whether or not they have a dog. This is why we've teamed up with Forthglade to put together the Canine Code.

1) Take the lead

You can help reduce the chance of your dog disturbing ground nesting birds and livestock by keeping them on a short lead. Remember, if you’re approached by cattle, the safest thing to do is let your dog go, and call them back when safe to do so.

2) Scoop that poop

Picking up your dog’s waste keeps the area clean for everyone to enjoy. When you’re done, pop it in the bin, or if there isn’t one, take it home with you.

3) Paws for thought

Are you in the right area? Sometimes we might ask you to walk somewhere else to help us protect you, the places we look after and the wildlife that lives there. Keep an eye out for signs and be extra careful on coastal and cliff top paths.

4) Be on the ball

While lots of us love dogs, some of us don’t. That’s why it’s important to make sure your four-legged friend doesn’t run up to other people – especially children.

Visitors at Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Estate, Bedfordshire

Top tips to help walk your dog on the lead 

When dogs pull, walking them on the lead can be quite a challenging experience. However, there are times when in order to protect wildlife and allow everyone to enjoy their day, walking dogs on the lead is essential. To help make lead-training easier, our partners at Forthglade have come up with a few top tips so both you and your dog can get the most of a walk on the lead throughout the places in our care.


Introducing the Dogs Welcome Project

From improving dog-friendly trails to providing more waste bins and wash down areas, we're working with Forthglade to make sure you and your pup feel welcome. In this video, broadcaster and writer Simon Reeve explores Arlington Court in Devon to find out a bit more about the project.

Our pawprint rating system

In partnership with Forthglade, we’ve been working on making it easier for you to find out how dog-friendly your visit will be before you and your four-legged-friend arrive. To help with this, we've created a new pawprint rating system and given all the places in our care a rating, which is shown in your handbook.

Two people sitting at table with dogs

Best: Three pawprints

Three pawprints shows the very best places you can visit for a day with your dog. You’ll be able to take your dog to most areas, including indoors for a cup of tea and a treat. There’ll be clearly signed dog zones and dog-friendly experiences.

Two women walking their dog near a lake

Good: Two pawprints

These places have water bowls, dog bins and dog-friendly walks. You’ll be able to take your dog into some areas, but not everywhere. If there’s a food and beverage outlet, you can have a cup of tea with them, probably outside.

Dog on lead

Standard: One pawprint

Dogs are welcome here, but facilities are limited. They’ll be able to stretch their legs in the car park and walk in the nearby open spaces, depending on the season.

Food for thought
We've launched a co-branded dog food range, which includes natural ingredients

A dog's dinner we're proud of 

The range, which is available on Forthglade's website and is sold in National Trust shops and online, is expected to contribute a minimum of £50,000 to our cause.

The funds will go towards ensuring that dogs and their owners can get even more joy from the countryside we care for. Any measures we take will balance the needs of the landscape and surrounding wildlife with those of other walkers and visitors. 

The dog food range, which includes natural ingredients such as duck, venison and green beans, will be accompanied by a variety of hand-baked grain-free natural dog treats and a natural dried dog food product. We'll also be handing out free treats for your dog to try at some National Trust places and dog-friendly holiday cottages. 

" We’re so pleased to be supporting the wonderful work achieved by the National Trust and thrilled to have the Trust associated with our range of natural meals and treats for dogs. We look forward to further bringing to life the National Trust’s Dogs Welcome activity."
- Gerard Lovell, a managing director at Forthglade