We all know the benefits that dogs can bring to our physical and mental health, and we welcome well-behaved owners with their dogs on Ashdown Forest. To ensure that everyone can enjoy the Forest safely and the wildlife living here can thrive, we ask that visitors bringing their canine companions follow our Dog Owners Code of Conduct.

 

Are you a professional dog walker or trainer? Click here. 

On this page you’ll find all the information you need to keep dog walking on the Forest safe and fun for everyone. Scroll down or click on the links below to find out more.

If you are on the look out for some other great, off-lead locations for happy, healthy, stress-free dog walks why not check out the SANGS?

Always keep your dog with you and within sight and please only allow them off the lead if you are confident in their recall. The Forest is a particularly interesting place for dogs, and often dogs who are perfectly behaved elsewhere struggle with their responsiveness to commands when they get onto the Forest. People visit the Forest for all kinds of reasons, and not everyone is a dog-lover. We can help everyone feel safe by letting our dogs approach people (and other dogs – especially if they are on leads) only when they have first given us their consent.

Please be particularly aware of “yellow dogs” who may be wearing yellow ribbons, coats, harnesses or other articles to indicate to us that they require space. Find out more here.    


Keep all paws on the paths between 1
st March and 31st August. We have an internationally important population of ground nesting birds on Ashdown Forest.  These birds see our dogs as predators and even if the dogs haven’t destroyed a nest, their presence can cause the parent birds to abandon their eggs or chicks. Summer is also a busy time for Adders and ticks, which tend to be found in the heathland and long grass. Help protect the birds and keep your dogs safe by keeping human and pooch feet on the main paths and out of the heathland habitat during this time.


Take your poo home! 
Dog mess can cause serious infections to people and other animals. It changes the chemistry of Forest soils and spoils the surroundings for everyone else. We have a “leave-no-trace” policy on the Forest and have a limited number of dog bins.  Please carry bags and take your rubbish away with you. If you run out, dog bags are now available to buy at the Visitor Centre.

Keep an eye out for livestock. Ashdown Forest relies upon grazing animals (cattle, sheep and ponies) to maintain and improve the heathland habitat. There are free-roaming animals in the South Chase grazing enclosure from the Spring until the Autumn each year (more information, including current grazing locations can be found here. Allowing your dog to chase or harm livestock is a criminal offence and in certain circumstances farmers could potentially shoot dogs that are worrying their livestock. If you lose your dog in the grazing area, or witness a dog chasing livestock, please call us immediately on 01342 822846 so that we can intervene before the situation escalates.

Along with the livestock, Ashdown Forest is also home to a large number of deer which could be forced onto roads if chased, potentially causing a serious traffic collision. If you’re not sure how your dog will react to a herd of running deer, a long-line is a great option until you feel comfortable that they won’t chase. 

 

Take care around horses. Horse riding is allowed by permit only on designated routes on the Forest (more information about permits can be found here. If you come across horses, please move to the side of the path, and put your dog on a lead until the horses have passed.

Does your professional dog walker have a licence?

All commercial businesses operating on Ashdown Forest require a licence. This includes professional dog walkers and trainers. If you’d like to find out more and apply for such a licence, please click here.

In the event of a negative incident involving a dog in the care of a professional dog walker or trainer, this would mean that the dog owners, other Forest users and the professional dog walker or trainer would be appropriately protected. Licences also help support the maintenance and improvement of Ashdown Forest. Please make sure that your professional dog walker has a current licence.

Current licensed commercial dog walkers/ trainers

British Mantrailing Academy

Diggy Dog Services

Scooby Walks