Visiting Sandscale Haws with your dog
Sandscale is a popular spot for dog walking. With a long stretch of coastline and rolling dunes to explore it’s a great place to visit with your four-legged friend. Help keep Sandscale special for people and wildlife.
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.
Sandscale Haws is a two pawprint rated place. These places have water bowls, dog bins and dog-friendly walks.
Dogs are allowed in all areas here, but please consider that Sandscale Haws is a National Nature Reserve and certain times of year are more sensitive for the wildlife living here. Please read on to find out more.
Sandscale is a haven for special wildlife. Between March and July, please keep your dog close to you or on a lead to stop them from disturbing nesting birds, as this could cause birds to leave their nests and abandon their chicks.
In the winter months a whole crowd of migratory shoreline birds descend on Sandscale for some well-needed food. Keeping your dog on a lead will mean that they’re not disturbed when feeding.
The pools on site look tempting for dogs but they are important for breeding natterjack toads, other amphibians and a huge diversity of insect life. Please keep your dog away from these pools to prevent disturbing the wildlife and introducing chemicals into the water from spot-on parasite treatments.
Livestock grazes across Sandscale throughout the year to help keep down scrub and encourage wildflowers to flourish. Over winter and spring our tenant farmers have lambs and pregnant ewes out in the dunes and calves from late summer.
Cows may become defensive if they have calves with them and they are not always obvious. Remember if you are approached by cattle with your dog it is safer to let go of the lead and call your dog back when safe to do so.
Dogs off leads can cause a huge amount of harm to farm animals which can impact farmers’ livelihoods. You can reduce the amount farm animals are disturbed and injured by keeping your dog on 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
Safety tips for your dog
The pools at Sandscale are great for wildlife but not so great for your dog. At times toxic blue-green algae may be present and even just small amounts of this can make dogs very ill.
Every tide will bring in new materials, not all of them welcome. Palm oil, dead animals and chemical containers can wash up from time-to-time. Palm oil is not a toxic substance, but it is indigestible and is often a breeding ground for bacteria which can make dogs very ill.
It’s best to keep your dog close to you and to put them on a lead if any hazards are present. Keep an eye out for any warning signs and please let us know if you see any new hazards.
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.
Spot a wealth of wildlife at Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve, and take in the panoramic views of the Duddon estuary and Lake District fells beyond.
Learn how dedicated rangers and volunteers work to keep this rugged landscape a happy home for wildlife and wildflowers.
The Lake District has plenty of opportunities for you and your dog to explore some wonderful countryside – from the shores of Windermere to the fell tops in Langdale.