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Visiting Spyway with your dog

Two dogs on their leads stood on top a rock next to their owners
Dogs at Spyway | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

Explore this world-famous coastline, Site of Special Scientific Interest and it's huge variety of rare flora and fauna with your four-legged friend. Cattle graze here and ground-nesting birds lay their eggs in the heath from March to July, but well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome at Spyway all year round.

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.

Spyway is a one pawprint rated place.

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.

Keep dogs on leads and under close control

Please be aware of the sheer cliff edges, grazing cattle, ground-nesting birds and rare flora and fauna that live in this protected landscape. Dogs must be kept on a lead and under close control at all times around livestock, and at all times during ground nesting bird season (1 March – 31 July).

Where can my dog go at Spyway?

Spyway acts as a gateway to a stretch of world-famous coastline and its surrounding countryside. Well-behaved dogs on leads and kept under close control are welcome all year round on your visit to Spyway.

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
Waves crashing against the Dancing Ledge on the Spyway Farm Estate in Purbeck, Dorset.

Discover Spyway

Find out how to get to Spyway, 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 

Visitor walking the 'green corridor' at Bathampton Meadows, Somerset

Dog-friendly places to visit 

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.

View of coastline in Purbeck, Dorset

South Purbeck cliffs walk 

Sea views, former quarries and grassland rich in wildlife are some of the highlights on this bracing six-mile circular walk across South Purbeck cliffs.

DistanceMiles: 6 (km: 9.6)
A dry stone wall with cow sculpture and sea views beyond from south Purbeck, Dorset

Spyway sea saunter 

Follow this flat, circular walk across rich grasslands for some dramatic sea views. There's a detour to the striking Dancing Ledge and a chance to see local wildlife.

DistanceMiles: 1.5 (km: 2.4)
Visitors on a walk with their dog in Heddon Valley, Devon

Visiting National Trust places with your dog 

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.