We welcome well-behaved dogs on most of our nature reserves, except at Langford Lakes and Blakehill where they are not allowed, and in other areas at times when ground nesting birds or lambing sheep are present.

The Wildlife Trusts recently highlighted the issues of free-roaming dogs and their impact on wildlife here

If you are planning to take your dog to a nature reserve, please act responsibly during your visit and help us to keep our sites safe for wildlife by doing the following:

Look out for our traffic light signs

Dogs on leadsNo dogs allowed sign

If dogs are allowed, keep them on a short lead at all times.


Keep to the paths and do not let your dog near livestock.

Some of our nature reserves are grazed for conservation purposes, such as Coombe Bissett Down and Markham Banks. By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife.


Consider other visitors.

Not everyone is fond of dogs. Please keep your dog close to you. If you see a school group, please keep your dog on a short lead.


Pick up after your dog(s). 

Leave no trace sign

Please pick up after your dog and dispose of your waste in the bins provided or at home. 

Leaving it makes the nature reserve unsafe for families who visit, and for our rangers and volunteers who are out trimming the paths.

Dog poo can spread diseases to livestock such as Neosporosis, which can cause abortion in cattle, and Sarcocystosis which can cause neurological disease and death in sheep. 

It also damages species of flora which specifically need low nutrient soils to grow. A higher nutrient level means coarser plants will take their place, therefore impacting on the biodiversity of the nature reserve.


For further rules please read the Countryside Code and watch this short video by the South Downs National Park: