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Visiting Dartmoor with your dog

Walkers with dogs on Marsden Moor Estate, West Yorkshire
Help to look after the wildlife of Dartmoor when walking with your pooch. | © National Trust Images/John Millar

The National Trust manages over 6500 acres of woodland, moorland, and heathland on Dartmoor. There’s plenty of space for you and your dog to explore, however Dartmoor is a haven for wildlife and a working landscape providing grazing for cattle, sheep and ponies. Find out how to have a safe visit and make the most your day out with your four-legged friend.

Our pawprint rating system

We’ve been working on making it easier for you to find out how dog-friendly your visit will be before you and your four-legged friend arrive. To help with this, we've created a new pawprint rating system and given all the places in our care a rating. You can find this information in the National Trust members’ handbook.

Fingle Bridge, Cadover Bridge and Shaugh Bridge are one pawprint rated places.

Dogs are welcome here, but facilities are limited. They’ll be able to stretch their legs in the car park and walk in the nearby open spaces, depending on the season. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.

Where can my dog go?

Dogs are welcome everywhere. There is plenty of space to explore Dartmoor from open moorland and tors to woodland paths.

What do I need to be aware of?

Please keep dogs under close control around livestock, and on a lead from 1 March to 31 July during lambing and bird nesting season.

There are no facilities available so please bag up and take away all dog waste.

During warm weather there is a risk of adders in the undergrowth, so we advise keeping dogs on leads and sticking to footpaths.

The livestock and wild animals on Dartmoor do carry ticks and there is a chance you or your dog may pick one up when visiting. Keeping to clearly defined paths with your dog on a short lead will reduce the likelihood of a tick bite.

What to do if you see an uncontrolled dog

If you see any uncontrolled dogs whilst you are out on Dartmoor, please contact the Dartmoor National Park Authority, Livestock Protection Officer, on 07873 587561. Try to give details of the location, type of livestock (with brand or colour markings), nature of injury, description of dog and owner, and a vehicle registration.

The Canine Code

We’ve worked with our partner Forthglade to come up with this Canine Code, which helps to make sure everyone can enjoy their day:

  • Keep them close: using a short lead helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and farm animals. It's essential to use a short lead around sheep. But if cattle approach you, it's best to let your dog off the lead, and call them back when it's safe to do so.
  • Pick up the poo: please always clear up after your dog. If you can't find a bin nearby, take the poo bags home with you.
  • Watch the signs: keep an eye on local signs and notices wherever you're walking. They'll tell you if a beach has a dog ban, for instance, or if a path has been diverted, or if you're in an area where dogs can run off-lead.
  • Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. So make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.

Keeping control of your dog

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 or wildlife, or if you are asked to use one

Our partners


We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade so that you and your dog can get even more out of the special places we care for.

Visit website 

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