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 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

Summer walking in the Dark Peak

Summer 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

BE KINDER walking trail

Sun 25 Aug 2019
Join us this summer for our exciting self-led BE KINDER walking trail as part of our national People's Landscape project. Discover an assortment of surprising installations along the way and learn more about how to be kind to Kinder.

Mysteries & Suprises on Bleaklow - Walking in their Shoes

Fri 30 Aug 2019
Join British Mountaineering Council member and access champion Henry Folkard, and National Trust volunteers for the second walk in the Walking in their Shoes series, as part of People’s Landscapes.

Chapel Gate, Rushup Edge and Mam Tor Walk

Fri 06 Sep 2019
Experience the dramatic and extensive views from Rushup Edge in the Peak District.

Mam Tor, Windy Knoll and Hollins Cross walk

Fri 04 Oct 2019
Explore the Bronze Age settlement and Iron Age fort, discover where many prehistoric bones have been discovered and re-live the ‘Coffin Walk’ over Hollins Cross.

Edale 'Figure of Eight' walk

Fri 01 Nov 2019
A beautiful low level walk in the Vale of Edale..
badger, sunlight

Badgers in Edale 

Deep in a hidden corner of the Edale valley, a group dedicated of experts are actively working to combat a disease which threatens the delicate balance of this special place. Read on to discover more about the important work.