Skip to content

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 to ensure everyone has an enjoyable day.

Things to keep in mind

Ludshott Common is a popular site for dog walking as well as for walkers and horse riders. Please help us protect this special site by following the below pointers.

  • Keep them close: please keep your dog under close control on the common and stick to the footpaths. Using a short lead if you need to helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and other wildlife such as adders.
  • Pick up the poo: please clear up after your dog and take the waste home with you. This is especially important on heathland sites where dog waste alters the chemical structure of the soil, making it unsuitable for heathland plants and turning it into nutrient-rich grassland. Please note that there are no dog bins on the common so please take your dog waste home with you.
  • Watch the signs: be mindful of the countryside code and keep an eye out for warning and information signs around the common during your walk. We use these to communicate important and seasonal information.
  • Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. Make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.
Visitor with her dog on a walk at Lyme Park, Cheshire
Enjoy the landscape with your dog | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Why it's important to keep your dog under close control

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.

Between March – September, many ground-nesting birds can be spotted on the heath. It's important to keep your dog under close control to avoid disturbing these birds and other wildlife.

Ludshott Common is also home to our native UK snake species, the smooth snake, grass snake and adder. Keeping your dog on the footpaths and away from the heathland ensures they will not get bitten.

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 by one of our ranger team.
A family walking a Dalmatian dog on a lead at Trelissick, Cornwall; a young girl is leaning on a tree while another child is crawling through the exposed tree roots
Please keep your dog under close control | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

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 since 2020, we have struggled to keep up with the disposal of dog waste left in our bins.

Emptying the bins incurred heavy costs, which was 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.

Dog waste alters the chemical structure of the soil, making it unsuitable for heathland plants and turning it into nutrient-rich grassland.

Please help us to protect this special habitat by taking your dog waste away with you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, we hope you enjoy your visit.

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 

You might also be interested in

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.

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.

A man sitting at a cafe table with two large dogs

Best walks with dog-friendly cafés 

After a good dog walk in the fresh air, find a place to sit and relax with your dog in a dog-friendly café.

Dog enjoying a Forthglade treat at Attingham Park, Shropshire

How we're working with Forthglade for dog-friendly visits 

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.

Pink-flowered heather at Ludshott Common, East Hampshire

Things to do at Ludshott Common 

The heathland at Ludshott Common dates back 5,000 years and contains some of the few remaining areas of lowland heath in Europe. Discover some of the birdlife and wildlife you can see here, as well as similar heathlands and woodlands you can visit nearby.

A light-coloured dog runs towards the camera, with its owners standing behind, with grassy hills and woodland, in the summer, at Bramshaw Commons and Foxbury, Hampshire

Dog-friendly places in Hampshire 

Bring your dog to Hampshire, for a fun day out: explore formal gardens, expansive estates and parkland, or simply wander across commons and among the woodland and heath of the New Forest.