Where you can go with your Dog
So, we thought a guide to where dog owners can walk with their dogs would be quite useful...
Public Rights of Way
Public Rights of Way in England and Wales provide many thousands of miles of paths, trails and tracks for you to enjoy with your dog.
Public Rights of Way come in different categories which allow a different level of access...
You can walk your dog on any Public Right of Way
- even if it passes through private land, such as a farm.
Dogs are considered to be a ‘natural accompaniment’ - a term used in a 19th century court case to describe anything which might normally be taken by a walker - and so dogs can be taken on public rights of way. And just as a land owner can not stop you from walking with a backpack, their also can't stop you walking with a dog - even if it is through a farm or country estate.
However, local authories can make orders when they wish under section 27 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to make it a requirement on have dogs on leads on specific paths.
But, just like their owner, a dog must remain on the path and can not legally be allowed to wander off the public right of way. If a dog does, then an act of trespass may be committed against the landowner.
Since 2004, new laws have opened up large areas of mountain, moor, heath and down across England and Wales. This land is called Open Access land, and it means walkers have the right to walk anywhere in the designated area - and not having to stick to any public rights of way which also cross access land.
Open Access land is shown in the countryside by the person in a circle logo; it is shown on Ordnance Survey maps too.
If Open Access land is temporarily or permanently closed to all dogs, it will be clearly signposted at the boundary of that area of land with signs like these.
Such restrictions are also available to be searched in advance on the web. In England, use Natural England's search function here. Natural Resources Wales are working on a new system to show where Open Access restrictions are, and so this information isn't available online at the moment, but should eventually be available here.
Even if Open Access land is closed to dogs,
you can still walk across it with a dog using any Public Rights of Way.
There are many other areas you can go walking with your dog...
Scotland, with its Right to Roam, has a completely different way of access for walkers. Put simply, under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, walkers have a statutory right of public access to most land and inland water.
The main responsibilities on dog owners are: