Visiting Blakeney Point and Cley Beach with your dog
Blakeney Point is home to England's largest grey seal colony, with over 4,000 pups born each winter, and many vulnerable ground-nesting birds can also be found here. Read our handy advice if you’re planning to visit with your dog.
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.
Blakeney 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. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.
Where can my dog go?
Dogs can be walked on the shingle beach at Cley and Salthouse throughout the year. Access to Blakeney Point for dog walkers depends on the time of year: restrictions are in place for ground-nesting bird season (between April and August) and during seal pupping season (late October to mid-January).
If you are walking at Cley or Salthouse during these months, please be mindful of ground nesting birds and seals and keep your dog under close control during these particularly sensitive times for our coastal wildlife.
Where can't my dog go?
There are dog restrictions in place on Blakeney Point from 1 April until 15 August each year, and from late October to mid-January. The beginning of the restricted zone is clearly marked with signs along the width of the beach.
Please walk your dog on Cley beach during these periods. You may also wish to follow the Norfolk Coast Path if you fancy a longer walk.
What do I need to be aware of during spring and summer?
Many of the birds breeding on the coast, including oystercatchers, terns, redshanks, avocets and ringed plovers nest on the ground, making them especially vulnerable to disturbance.
Whilst many factors have a bearing on breeding success, human and particularly dog disturbance can have a significant impact. The presence of dogs can cause birds to leave nests and chicks, leaving them open to predation by gulls and other predators.
To help minimise disturbance to ground-nesting birds, we have produced some handy advice and a map to show you where you can walk with your dog.
It is important to always keep dogs under close control and to stay away from fenced off areas. Some ground-nesting birds such as avocets and little terns are protected species and disturbing these species, even unintentionally, is a prosecutable offence.
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
Working in partnership
Blakeney Point is part of Blakeney National Nature Reserve and has been under the care of the National Trust since 1912. Cley Marshes Nature Reserve was purchased by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in 1926 and was the first Wildlife Trust reserve in the country.
Together these reserves, which stretch for 6½ miles, are internationally recognised as vitally important habitats for breeding birds. Thank you for walking your dog responsibly.
Find out about England’s largest grey seal colony, how we’ve changed the annual count due to ever-increasing numbers and why the seals call Blakeney Point home.
Find out the things to see and do at Blakeney National Nature Reserve, from seeing the seal colony at Blakeney Point to exploring Friary Hills and Blakeney Freshes.