Visiting Hinton Ampner with your dog

Dog walking in winter at Ashridge Herts

Hinton Ampner is a large estate, set within the heart of the South Downs with miles of beautiful walking routes to follow. Dogs are very welcome at Hinton Ampner, however we would encourage you to read this article before your visit to ensure everyone enjoys their time with us.

With 200 hectares of woodland to explore on our beautiful walking routes, Hinton Ampner is the perfect place to bring your dog during any season. As the parkland and estate is a fully functioning commercial farm, we ask that you abide by the following rules to ensure the safety of you and your dog, other visitors to Hinton Ampner and the livestock and wildlife on the estate.

  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times around the gardens and livestock, and under close control on the wider estate
  • Pick up your dog's mess and place it in the bins provided
  • Respect the fact that not everyone loves dogs. Please only allow them to approach other visitors and dogs with their consent
  • Be mindful of the countryside code and keep an eye out for warning and information signs around the estate during your walk

What do we mean by close control?

Our definition of close or effective control is:

  • Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call.
  • Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible.
  • Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent.
  • Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock, wildlife or other dogs

Why is it important to keep my dog on a lead?

At Hinton Ampner we work with tenant farmers who use the estate to graze their livestock all year round. This is the farmers livelihood and an important part of the land management of the estate.

Even if you know your dog well, there is a risk they could become excited by unusual smells, sounds of movement of the livestock and react unpredictably, creating stressful and avoidable situations which could result in prosecutions and a fine for the owner, stress to the animals and loss of income to the farmer.

Even if your dog does not bite livestock, chasing or barking at them can cause pregnant animals to lose their young through stress.

Between 1 March and 31 July, you must have your dog on a lead no more than 2 metres long on Open Access land, even if there is no livestock on the land. These are legal requirements, which if broken could result in a fine of up to £1000. Farmers can also shoot dogs they believe are worrying livestock.

In the spring, many ground nesting birds can be spotted on the estate. It is important to keep your dog under close control to avoid disturbing these birds and other wildlife.

Where can my dog go?

We welcome dogs in most parts of the gardens on short leads, however dogs are not allowed in the kitchen garden as the produce grown there is used in the food sold in our café.

Dogs are not allowed in the house, café or shop, unless they are assistant dogs.

Dogs are allowed on all of our estate walks.

Water bowls are provided outside the café