The National Park Authority are proposing a scheme to make some car parks “dog free”. This comes from their draft Recreation Management Strategy and is causing a bit of a fuss from New Forest dog walkers.
I don’t have a dog. I used to own a Rottweiler though, and I know they do like a good walk! I have only had one bad experience with a dog in the Forest. I got chased by one when cycling. This was from a dog from a local farm, and not really related to the walkers ban issue.
Apart from that my experience of dog walkers has been pretty positive. Most of them are considerate to me, especially when cycling. I suspect there will be irresponsible dog owners who use the Forest, but it is a real shame when this minority will potentially curb the freedom of the vast majority of responsible dog owners and their four legged companions.
The New Forest Dog Owners Group (NFDOG) was started to protect the rights of dog owners. Here is their New Forest Dog Walking Code.
- If you cannot control your dog you must keep it on a lead
- Your dog must not be allowed to disturb or chase livestock or wildlife
- Keep your dog to existing tracks when birds nest on the ground
- Prevent your dog fouling on footpaths and around car parks
- Groups of dogs can be intimidating – keep them under control
- Be considerate to other forest users
- Keep well away for any work taking place in the forest
- Prevent excessive barking by your dog
Here is a publication from the NFDOG regarding this draft from the NPA.