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Visiting Castle Drogo with your dog

Visitors walking their dogs in the bluebell woodland at Hatchlands Park, Surrey
Dog walking in spring | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Dogs have an adventurous time at Castle Drogo – and so do their owners. Take a gentle stroll around the grounds or head to the Teign Gorge for some energetic exercise. Discover where to walk by downloading the dog walking site map. Wherever you choose to go you’ll be sure of a friendly welcome for you and your dog.

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.

Castle Drogo is a two pawprint rated place.

These places have water bowls, dog bins and dog-friendly walks. You’ll be able to take your dog into some areas, but not everywhere. If there’s a food and beverage outlet, you can have a cup of tea with them, probably outside. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.

Where can my dog go?

Dogs are a part of the family, and we want them to be included in your visit. Dogs are welcome on a short lead within the castle grounds, including in the formal gardens, shop, and reception area. They are also welcome in our outdoor seating areas at the Café, let us know if you need a blanket.

Only assistance dogs are allowed into Castle Drogo itself.

With over 1,000 acres to explore the Teign Gorge is a great spot for letting dogs stretch their legs, it’s also the place to spot ground nesting birds, deer, and butterflies, some of which are very rare. The area is zoned so you know where there may be livestock or other hazards – look out for the seasonal signage when visiting. During bird nesting season from 1st March till 31st July please keep Paws on the Path and give wildlife the space it needs to thrive. We encourage the use of a short lead if they need a little help staying close by. Access the river safely and minimise erosion by using the dedicated Dog Splash Points.

For your dog’s safety, please keep them on a short lead in the carpark.

What facilities are available for my dog?

Dog Water Bowls: you’ll find these outside the visitor centre and café. Let us know if they need topping up.

Dog Tether Points: these are available on picnic benches at the café so you can tuck into your coffee and cake hands free.

Dog Poo Bins: these are located in the car park, at the plant centre entrance to the gardens, near the castle and throughout the Teign Gorge. If you can’t find a bin, please take your dog waste away with you.

Dog Splash Points: you’ll find these along the River Teign where it is safe and appropriate for your dog to access the river. You’ll also be playing your part in helping minimise riverbank erosion.

Forgotten a short lead or poo bag? We have spares available, please ask for these at Visitor Welcome.

What do I need to be aware of at Castle Drogo?

Within the castle grounds, dogs must remain on the lead. Only assistance dogs are permitted inside Castle Drogo itself.

During bird nesting and lambing season from 1st March till 31st July please keep Paws on the Path and give wildlife and livestock the space they need to thrive and follow the signage when out and about.

Cattle and sheep are used for conservation grazing across the Parke estate year-round, look out for seasonal signage and keep dogs on the lead when around livestock. The Countryside Code recommends you let your dog off the lead if you feel threatened by livestock so that you can both reach safety more easily.

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.
A small white dog sat at a café table
Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area at Trelissick, Cornwall | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

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

Walking near Fingle bridge

We are aware of recent reports of dogs falling ill after being exercised near or on land at Fingle Bridge on Dartmoor. Sadly, three dogs have subsequently died. We are taking matters very seriously and our team are continuing to investigate.

The North Tower and bathroom wing from the outside at Castle Drogo, Devon

Discover more at Castle Drogo

Find out when Castle Drogo is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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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