Dogs are permitted on Ashdown Forest. However, we ask all dog walkers to follow our Dog Owners Code of Conduct to ensure that everyone can enjoy the Forest safely.

Dogs must be kept under close control at all times on the Forest but particularly during the bird nesting season and near livestock.

Between 1st March and 31st August, ground-nesting birds are abundant in the heathland and dogs can disturb or destroy these nests and chicks if they are running loose through the heather.  We do not wish to exclude dogs from the Forest during this critical time for wildlife but do ask all owners to be extra vigilant and think about the heathland species which give the Forest many of its protections.

Every year wild and domestic animals are horribly mauled and killed by out-of-control dogs – and farmers are legally entitled to shoot them if worrying livestock – so protect your dog by sticking to the rules. If you lose your dog in a grazing area, please call us immediately on 01342 822846.

Please be careful around horses and their riders and put your dog on a lead until they have passed by. Never allow your dog to chase wild deer or other animals, they can be forced onto roads and cause a serious accident.

And perhaps most importantly of all, please clean up after your pet! 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.


Commercial dog walkers and trainers require an annual licence to use the Forest.  Please complete and return the licence application for to the Forest Centre.