Doggie do's and don'ts at Hatfield Forest

Couple walking a dog on woodland path

Whether you're a local dog walker who comes for a wander every day or visiting from further a field, we welcome dogs and seek to make yours and their day out as easy and relaxing as possible.

Doggie do's and don'ts

To help us ensure our visitors, dogs and wildlife get along together, please can you:
  • Keep your dogs on leads at all times in the lake area and also where sheep are grazing.
  • Dogs are allowed off lead elsewhere as long as you have a good recall and you keep your dog in sight at all times.
  • Dogs must not chase wildlife. We have both fallow and muntjac deer in the Forest.   If your dog has a strong chase instinct, keep him or her on the lead.
  • Pick up your dog's mess and place it in a dog bin. (Dog mess bins are located in all car parks and along the internal road).
  • Dogs are welcome to sit beside the picnic tables but not on top of chairs and tables, including in the Fisherman's Shelter.
  • There is a dog free zone in the lake area, clearly signed.

Our Dog Warden

We have a dog warden, Simon Moore.  He is an expert dog handler and will be walking through the forest, chatting to dog owners about some of the challenges of managing the forest, why it is important to keep your dogs under safe supervision and helping ensure the forest is a welcoming place for all.

Simon has a wealth of practical tips and will be handing out route maps and information on the Country Code, as well as keeping a handy supply of dog waste bags. 

" While you're out and about in the forest, please come and say "hello" and, whether you have a dog or not, feel free to ask any questions about the Countryside Code and how best to keep your dog and livestock safe"
- Simon Moore, Dog Warden

Fatal Dog Attacks on Sheep

We have had an unfortunate recent spate of fatal dog attacks on the conservation grazing flock of Wiltshire horns, Manx and Hebridean sheep kept in the forest.  

" We want everyone to be able to come and enjoy the forest. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our sheep safe because of a lack of awareness amongst a few dog owners."
- Ian Pease, Ranger

Hatfield Forest is a working medieval environment which goes hand-in-hand with grazing.  If we were to lose the ability to graze livestock, we risk losing 1000 years of history and all the wildlife which has evolved with it.