Protect the invisible: Take the lead

Wellies and muddy paws when exploring the White Peak

Dogs on leads are always welcome at Ilam Park and Dovedale. You'll find water bowls near the tea-room and toilets at Ilam Park. There are numerous walk routes for exercising your dog and taking in the countryside views.

There is an exciting feeling in the air as spring approaches and the wildlife at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak prepares for the busiest time of year.

From March, the amazing wildlife that makes it home in our woodlands, meadows and fields will be entering breeding season. This is a vitally important time, especially for our local wildlife such as dippers, ducks with ducklings, buzzards, the green woodpecker and many more, that all play their part in maintaining a healthy and thriving ecosystem.

Spot dippers on the river
Dipper bird on the water
Spot dippers on the river

The world of wildlife is mostly invisible to humans, with plants and animals that may spend their entire life hidden from our eyes. These secret species can be especially sensitive to being disturbed, and our canine companions with their more powerful senses are especially good at finding those treasures which are hidden to us. To protect the invisible, please keep your dog on a short 2m lead especially from 1st March to 31st July when it is the law in the countryside and wildlife is at its most sensitive.

A walk with family and friends and a chance to reconnect to nature
A walk with family and friends and a chance to reconnect to nature
A walk with family and friends and a chance to reconnect to nature

Additionally, the spring months across the countryside are accompanied by the traditional sights and sounds of young farm animals, such as bleating lambs gambling happily in the lush grass. Cows and sheep will be pregnant or suckling young across Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak. Dogs should always be on a lead around livestock, especially at this crucial time of year. If you ever feel threatened by cattle when out with your dog, then let go of the lead as the cattle are more likely to be interested in the dog. Help our countryside to be productive farmland as well as a home for wildlife by taking the lead.

By walking with your dog on the lead, you can be a guardian of the landscapes that you love. Protect our countryside for the future of people and wildlife.

family with dog enjoying a walk
family with dog enjoying a walk
family with dog enjoying a walk

Some tips to help plan your visit:

  • You'll find water bowls and dog parking points by the tea-room and the toilets at Ilam Park.
  • Please bag any dog waste and place in the main waste bins in the car park and the stableyard at Ilam Park, or take it home with you.
  • Well behaved dogs are welcome in the shop with you at Ilam Park.
  • Dogs are welcome in the 'grab and go' food outlet in the visitor centre, or you can buy food and drinks from the tearoom and eat them in here. There are also plenty of seats outside where you and your dog can enjoy the view. 
  • There is a route between Ilam Park and Dovedale that avoids stiles, making it easier for dogs and their owners. Look out for the 'alternative path' signs as you walk towards Dovedale from the village.