Visiting Castle Drogo with your dog
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 across the estate, including in the formal gardens, castle grounds, shop, and reception area. They are also welcome in our outdoor seating areas at the Café.
Only assistance dogs are allowed into Castle Drogo itself.
The Teign Gorge is a dog walking haven and dogs are welcome throughout. With over 1,000 acres to explore, this is the best spot for letting dogs stretch their legs. Dogs must be on a lead in the car park and in areas where we have livestock. The Teign Gorge is home to ground nesting birds and butterflies, some of which are very rare. Please respect other visitors and the wildlife of the gorge by keeping dogs on the lead between March and July and with paws on the path at all other times.
What facilities are available for my dog?
You’ll find water bowls outside the visitor centre and café. Let us know if they need topping up.
Tether points are available on picnic benches at the café so you can tuck into your coffee and cake hands free.
You’ll find dog waste bins 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.
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?
Dogs must be on a short lead with paws on the path in the castle grounds and gardens.
On the wider estate, different rules apply at different times of the year:
• From 1 March till 31 July: Birds are nesting close to the ground and sheep are lambing. Dogs must be kept on a lead to protect sensitive wildlife and livestock.
• From 1 August till 28 February: Please keep your dog (and yourself) on the main paths and under effective control. Where livestock are present, or where the dog fails to remain on the path, we recommend the use of a short lead.
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
Discover the best places for a dog walk, from coastal adventures and dramatic mountains to more leisurely walks near you. Plus find information on dog-friendly cafés and read our Canine Code.
If you’re bringing your dog to the places we care for, here’s information on the Canine Code and pawprint rating system to plan your visit.
After a good dog walk in the fresh air, find a place to sit and relax with your dog in a dog-friendly café.
We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade to create the Dogs Welcome project, helping you and your dog to get the most out of the places in our care.
Follow the winding paths below the castle into the sheltered Teign Gorge. Explore this ancient gorge teeming with wildlife on trails along the river or soak up views over Dartmoor.
The café at Castle Drogo serves hot and cold drinks, lunches, snacks and sweet treats. Afterwards, stop off at the shop for a choice of gifts and souvenirs to take home with you.
There are plenty of dog-friendly spots to keep tails wagging in Devon. Your dog can enjoy splashing with all four paws in the sea or sniffing out treasure on a woodland walk.