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Visiting Ludshott Common with your dog

Close-up view of a brown and white dog, held on a lead, with fallen leaves on the ground, at Clent Hills, Worcestershire
Bring your four-legged friend to Ludshott Common | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Responsible owners and their dogs are welcome at Ludshott Common. Here’s some information to help you plan a visit here with your four-legged friend, including the Canine Code which all dog owners are asked to follow to ensure everyone has an enjoyable day.

Things to keep in mind

Keep your dog on a lead at all times around livestock, and under close control on the wider common land. Please only allow them to approach other visitors and other dogs with their consent.

Be mindful of the countryside code and keep an eye out for warning and information signs around the common during your walk.

There are no dog bins on the common so please take your dog waste home with you.

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.
Visitors with a dog on a lead walking through a field with long-horn cattle in the parkland at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Enjoy the landscape with your dog | © 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

Why it's important to keep your dog on a lead

Ludshott Common is managed and legally protected as an open space because it provides much needed habitat for a range of rare bird species which depend on heathland landscapes.

We also have cattle and other livestock owned by local graziers grazing the common land throughout the year, which is an important part of habitat management.

Risks to livestock

Even if you know your dog well, there's a risk they could become excited by unusual smells or sounds or movement of the livestock and react unpredictably.

This can create stressful and avoidable situations, which could result in prosecutions and a fine for the owner, stress to the animals and loss of income to the grazier.

Impact on livestock

Even if your dog does not bite livestock, chasing or barking at them can cause pregnant animals to lose their young through stress.

Ewes with lambs, by a tree, at Knightshayes, Devon
Please keep your dog under close control around livestock | © National Trust Images/John Millar

When must my dog be on the lead?

Between 1 March and 31 July, you must have your dog on a lead no more than two metres long on open access land, even if there is no livestock on the land.

These are legal requirements which, if broken, could result in a fine of up to £1,000. Livestock owners can also shoot dogs they believe are worrying their animals.

Close control in spring

In the spring, many ground-nesting birds can be spotted on the estate. It's important to keep your dog under close control to avoid disturbing these birds and other wildlife.

Dog bins

Due to the huge increase of dog walkers using Ludshott Common in the past year, we have struggled to keep up with the disposal of dog waste left in our bins.

Emptying the bins incurs heavy costs, which is still not keeping up with demand.

As a charity we have limited funds for waste disposal so as a result the dog waste bins on Ludshott Common were removed at the end of September 2021.

What should I do with my dog's waste?

Please help us to keep this special place beautiful by taking your dog waste away with you.

Pathway through the heather on the heathland of Ludshott Common, Hampshire

Discover more at Ludshott Common

Find out how to get to Ludshott Common, 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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