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Visiting Marsden Moor with your dog

Dog sitting in the grass next to its owner, on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
Dog sitting in the grass next to its owner, on Marsden Moor | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

With miles of footpaths to explore, Marsden Moor is a great place to explore with your four-legged friend. Find out about dog walking on Marsden Moor, including where you can go and the guidance you should follow when you're walking near livestock and nesting birds.

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.

Marsden Moor 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?

You can bring your dog with you on all the trails on Marsden Moor, but please pay close attention to the guidance we’ve put together here.

What do I need to be aware of on Marsden Moor?

Marsden Moor is home to livestock and many different species of plants and animals. For this reason, we ask that you always keep your dogs under close control, and preferably on a lead.

But there are certain times when you must keep your dog on a short lead (maximum 2 metres), in line with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act:

  • During nesting season (1 March to 31 July each year)
  • Whenever you are near livestock (at any time of year)

You should never let your dog chase wildlife or grazing animals.

Sheep grazing on moorland at White Moss on Marsden Moor Estate, West Yorkshire
Sheep grazing on moorland at Marsden Moor Estate | © National Trust Images/Robert Morris

Walking your dog near sheep

Grazing season is from April until October but do be aware that sheep may be on the moors before or after this time.

It's really important to keep your dog under control around sheep, especially during lambing season. Even if a sheep isn’t injured, scaring a pregnant ewe can cause it to miscarry. As a last resort, farmers can take legal action against the owners of dogs that worry sheep.

Walking your dog near cows

Cows graze on some parts of the moors too. Cows are naturally curious, so if they approach, walk slowly with your dog at heel. If you feel threatened, let go of your dog – it can run faster than cattle and escape. Once you're safe, regain control of your dog.

Always walk around cows with calves because they may feel threatened if you walk between them. If you're unsure, try to find an alternative route around the animals.

Breeding birds

Marsden Moor is an important breeding site for ground nesting birds which are vulnerable to curious dogs when they’re sitting on eggs and raising chicks.

Moorland species such as the curlew, golden plover and short-eared owl use the moors as a safe place to breed and raise their young.

Please stick to footpaths and keep your dog on a lead during nesting season (1 March to 31 July). These restrictions are vital to help us give breeding birds the best chance of success. And after a series of devastating fires, it's more important than ever to leave them to nest undisturbed.

On the trails

Please note that some of the trails on Marsden Moor have stiles, not gates.

Walkers with dogs on Marsden Moor Estate, West Yorkshire
Walkers with dogs on Marsden Moor Estate | © National Trust Images/John Millar

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
A woman is leaning against a huge craggy rock with her back to the camera, admiring the view from Pule Hill on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire. Grey clouds cast shadows across the moor, which stretches for miles into the distance.

Discover more at Marsden Moor

Find out how to get to Marsden Moor, 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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