Visiting Castle Ward with your dog
Dogs are welcome at Castle Ward. With acres of countryside and woodland to explore there are plenty of opportunities for bounding, jumping, sniffing and splashing through the country estate.
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.
Castle Ward is a three pawprint rated place.
Three pawprints shows the very best places you can visit for a day with your dog. You’ll be able to take your dog to most areas, including indoors for a cup of tea and a treat. There’ll be clearly signed dog zones and dog-friendly experiences. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.
Where can my dog go?
Dogs on leads are welcome across the estate, in the garden and in the Stableyard Tea-room.
There is a designated off-lead dog exercise field located near the admission hut and main car park where you can let your dog have a stretch off the lead.
Where can't my dog go?
Only assistance dogs are permitted in the house and shop.
What do I need to be aware of at Castle Ward?
Dogs must be kept on leads at all times on the estate including on the trails, due to their varied nature. Around a corner you might find a horse rider, a family, a cyclist, or even all three at once.
There are cattle and sheep grazing across the estate, as well as a variety of wildlife – please do keep your dog on a lead for the safety of all.
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
Facilities available for my dog
Drinking bowls for your dog are positioned in the Stableyard and farmyard. Bins are available in each car park.
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.
Discover one of the best examples of a Victorian garden in Ireland. Explore the 17th- and 18th-century pleasure grounds, stroll by the lake and see an important piece of history.
Explore miles of trails, soak up coastal views and stroll through atmospheric woodland scenes. Tune into the seasons and see where Game of Thrones was filmed.
Tuck into a seasonal menu and treat yourself or someone special in the shops. Watch artists in action or pick up a Game of Thrones memento.
With water bowls, hitching posts and plenty of ground to cover, the places in our care aren't just for history-loving hounds. The sandy beaches and woodland trails on offer are a dog-walker's dream. From dog exercise areas to dog-friendly accommodation, discover a slice of canine heaven when visiting with your four-legged friend.