Walking your dog in the Cotswolds

Woods are the perfect place to take your dog for a walk

There are lots of beautiful places in the Cotswolds to walk your dog. Taking your four-legged friend along the network of paths and trails through fields and open countryside can be a wonderful way to get back to nature and enjoy the fresh air.

When you're out for a walk with your canine companion in the Cotswold countryside, you can help us by being a responsible dog walker.

The canine code

We've teamed up with Forthglade to create a canine code so you and your four-legged friend can help care for the places you love. 

Take the lead: Help reduce the chance of your pup disturbing wildlife and livestock by keeping them on a lead.

Scoop that poop: Picking up your dog's litter keeps the area clean for others, while helping cut disease risks and pollution. Bag it and bin it to keep your favourite places beautiful.

Paws for thought: Are you walking in the right area? Sometimes the rangers might ask you to walk somewhere else as you could be putting rare plants and wildlife at risk.

Be on the ball: While lots of us love dogs, some of us don't. That's why it's important to make sure you're always in control of your waggy-tailed friend when around people - especially children.

The canine code (PDF / 1.8MB) download

Walking near grazing animals

When you're exploring the countryside, you can help local farmers by keeping your dog on a short lead and under close control.

Pregnant sheep can get so stressed by dogs running loose that the farmer can lose both the unborn lamb and the ewe. They often abort their young and sadly die from the stress.

Sheep love to graze the land
Sheep love to graze the land
Sheep love to graze the land

It isn't just dogs biting or attacking grazing animals that can be a problem. If dogs chase younger animals, they can become separated from their mothers and die from starvation or explosure.

It's worth remembering that livestock worrying is a criminal offence, so please enjoy the great outdoors with your canine companion safely and responsibly. 

Diseases from dog poo

There's growing evidence to suggest that dog poo left in fields containing sheep or cattle, or in fields where hay is cut for their feed, could contribute to diseases that can cause serious harm. 

Dog poo can lead to neospora which causes cattle to abort, sarcocystosis which causes neurological disease and death in sheep, and toxocariasis can impact upon the liver, lungs, eyes and brain in people.    

Cows are crucial
Cows are crucial
Cows are crucial

Many of these diseases, including neospora, are not treatable and will often lead to the animal becoming distressed and may even result in the animal having to be destroyed. 

Please pick up your dog poo at all times and either pop it in the bin or take it home with you. 

Protect wildlife

Birds like the skylark nest on or near the ground in areas like Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons and Crickley Hill. We ask you to keep your dog on a lead between late February and August. 

Skylarks nest on the ground
Skylarks nest on the ground
Skylarks nest on the ground

Migrating or overwintering birds need all their energy reserves and can be left exhausted and vulnerable if they're chased. Keeping your dog on a lead will mean our feathered friends stay safe. Any kind of wildlife may be injured, severely stressed or lose unborn young if chased. This includes birds like the skylark, who if scared off their nest leave eggs or chicks exposed to predators and the cold.

Please help the wildlife in the places you love by keeping your dog on a lead and stick to the paths when you can.