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Visiting Badbury Rings with your dog

Visitors with a dog enjoying an autumnal walk on the estate at Wallington, Northumberland
Explore Badbury Rings with your four-legged friend | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Badbury Rings and the surrounding Kingston Lacy estate are beautiful places to explore with dogs, thanks to the network of paths through fields and open countryside. To keep Badbury Rings clean and safe for both livestock and wildlife, please be a responsible dog owner and follow the advice and canine code below.

Where can my dog go?

There are plenty of fields and paths for dogs to explore, but be aware that there are often sheep and cows grazing in and around Badbury Rings, and it is an important habitat for endangered wildlife. Please keep dogs on the lead during the bird breeding season (February-August), and when there is livestock present.

Risks to livestock

Dogs running loose can stress pregnant sheep, which can have deadly consequences, and younger animals may get separated from their mothers if chased by a dog.

Risks to wildlife

Dogs should be kept on the lead in areas like heaths, downs and wetlands between late February and August. This is because birds such as skylarks nest on or near the ground at these times. Disturbance may mean a bird abandons a nest, and dogs may chase and catch birds.

Sheep on top of a small hill
Please keep dogs on leads and pick up dog poo where livestock graze | © National Trust/Eleanor Egan

What do I need to be aware of?

Please pick up dog poo and throw it in the bins provided or take it home. This is particularly important in areas where livestock graze because dog poo can lead to diseases that cause serious damage to cattle and sheep.

Please keep dogs on leads or under close control. This includes preventing your dog from chasing flocks of birds, as chasing migrating or overwintering birds can leave them exhausted and vulnerable.

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

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 family walking their dog on a lead at the High Peak Estate on a sunny day. The valley is visible behind them, with green fields, trees and peaks visible in the distance.

Discover more at Badbury Rings

Find out how to get to Badbury Rings, where to park, 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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