Exploring the Dark Peak with your dog

Woman walking with dog on lead in countryside

The National Trust celebrates the infectious love of dogs and welcomes responsible dog walking. Please keep your dog on a lead when exploring the Peak District National Park in spring and summer to help us protect ground nesting birds such as Curlew, Lapwing, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks and keep vulnerable sheep and lambs safe from harm.

The season for pregnant sheep and lambs extends far either side of the ground nesting bird period and is a time when sheep are most vulnerable. From 1 March to 31 July it is the law under the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000, to keep your dog on a lead of no more than 2 metres on open access land and all year round near livestock.

Don’t get caught out

It is easy to think there are no sheep or cattle on the moors and in the woods when they are hidden between rocks and in vegetation. Wildlife is often hidden too, camouflaged or laying low. Mountain Hares live in this landscape all year and for some dogs the chase is too good to miss! Please walk your dog without disturbing wildlife all year round.


Cattle are included in the term livestock and qualify for the same respect when walking your dog, by keeping your distance and your dog on a lead. However, cattle can feel threatened by dogs. If you think you may be chased, let go of the lead.

We thank you for setting an example to others, helping the countryside to be an enjoyable experience for people and for wildlife.For more inspiration for the best places to take your dog, take a look at our page for pooches here.

What's on for four-legged friends?

Our guided walks are free and dogs on leads are welcome. Have a look at our What’s On pages to find out when the next walk is on

A stonechat perches in bracken

Spring walking in the Dark Peak

Spring is a great time of year to get out on the hills. Here's some useful walking advice if you're thinking of exploring the Dark Peak.

Upcoming events

Reservoirs and Forests

Fri 26 Apr 2019
This Easter, join our guided walks leaders for a walk around the stunning Ladybower Reservoir and up onto the moors for a view across the atmospheric Kinder Scout.

Spirit of Kinder Rally - Walk

Sat 27 Apr 2019
Celebrate and share the story of countryside access by joining us on a walk into the Spirit of Kinder Rally in Winnats Pass.

Spirit of Kinder Rally

Sat 27 Apr 2019
Celebrate the story of countryside access at the Spirit of Kinder Rally in Winnats Pass.

Hollins Cross, Windy Knoll, Mam Tor

Fri 03 May 2019
Join our walk along an old coffin route, discover an ancient cave and descend the Shivering Mountain.

Moorland Meander - Derwent Dams

Fri 31 May 2019
An interesting and active walk that takes in some of the best valley and moorland walking in the Dark Peak.
Mounatin hare in its winter coat

Moorland dwelling mountain hares 

Spending a great deal of his time in these moorlands, Area Ranger Steven Lindop, has developed a love of mountain hares. Best recognised by their shock of white fur in winter and associated with moonlight mythology, the fleeting sight of a mountain hare is a treasured treat when rambling over our precious moorlands.