Now Dartmoor could ban dogs: Walkers could be fined £500 for letting their pets off the lead during lambing and bird nesting season

  • Dartmoor National Park Authority to tighten up visitor by-laws
  • Could lead to guidance for dogs being kept in 2m leashes becoming law
  • Farmers who see their cattle being repeatedly attacked by dogs will need to take more severe measures
  • The A famous beauty spot could ban wild camping, overnight stays at caravans, and group barbecues

Dog owners who let their pets off the leads on Dartmoor could face being fined £500 if a proposed rule change is accepted. 

People walking their dogs should keep them on a leash on common moorland during lambing and ground nesting bird seasons.

However, a plan for changing the park’s By-Laws could make it law of the land.

It comes as Dartmoor National Park Authority, (DNPA), looks to take a tougher stance against visitors after a string of bad behavior during the pandemic.

Dog owners who let their pets off the leads on Dartmoor could face being fined £500 if a proposed rule change is accepted

Dog owners who let their pets off the leads on Dartmoor could face being fined £500 if a proposed rule change is accepted

Currently, people walking their dogs are advised to keep them on a lead on common moorland during the lambing and ground nesting bird season. But a plan to change the park's by-laws could result in it becoming law of the land

People who walk their dogs during the ground nesting bird season and lambing season are advised to keep them leashed on common moorland. A plan to change the park’s by-laws may make it law of the land.

Other changes could ban wild camping, overnight stays in caravans and group barbecues. They are included in a consultation which is open until November 1.

A document online shows that the line was added: “Between the 1st March and 31 July each years all dogs must be kept on a short leash of no more than two metres in length.”

The park authorities also want to limit visitors’ dogs to six.

Dartmoor sheep farmer Neil Cole said he supported the tougher line after witnessing his cattle being attacked by dogs repeatedly.

He stated that there are more cases of dog anxiety, dog attacks, and dogs disturbing wildlife than ever before.

“The sheer volume of dogs and people here is having such an impact on the environment as well as us farmers.

The park authority could also ban wild camping because of bad behaviour which soared during the pandemic. Pictured: A tent and fire pit left by campers in Dartmoor

Because of the bad behavior that soared during the pandemic, the park authority could also ban wild campers. Pictured: Dartmoor campers left a tent and a fire pit.

The lambing and ground nesting bird season runs from March through July. Park guidance encourages dog owners not to let their dogs off the leash.

Rod Alsford, a dog owner from Moretonhampstead in Devon, said that it would be too extreme.

“I think it’s too extreme. It’s unnecessary when there are already rules in place to help people control their dogs.

A spokesperson for DNPA said that they were doing this to ensure that byelaws are up to the task and help protect the national parks for all to enjoy today as well as tomorrow.

“Updating Dartmoor’s byelaws is a crucial topic for anyone who cares about Dartmoor.

What rule changes might be needed for Dartmoor National Park 

Dartmoor National Park has several bylaws to protect its wildlife, habitats and cultural heritage.

However, the current set if by-laws regarding beauty spots was adopted in 1989. They are now more than 30 year old.

The authority is trying to establish new guidelines and rules because the park has seen changes in visitor habits over the years.

Some of the changes also take a more severe stance against bad behaviour, such as littering, which has been increasing with staycations during the pandemic. 

 In a rule change on ‘Parking’, a new by-law would prevent people from ‘occupying or sleeping’ in caravans around the park between 9pm and 9am.

The rules for camping could be tightened to prohibit people from erecting tents larger than three persons or using trees to build hammocks. The rules prohibit campers from staying in one spot for more than two nights.

There are tough new rules for disposable barbecues, which effectively ban them if they ’cause fire, damage or harm to the land or vegetation’.

Flares, Chinese lanterns and fireworks will also be banned. 

Dog walkers are expected to keep their dogs leashed on park access land “between 1 March and 31 Jul” to coincide with lambing season and nesting season.

The rule changes can now be viewed online. 

Source: Dartmoor National Park Authority