Taking a quiet walk on your own or a relaxing walk with family or friends in the Heart of England Forest is a wonderful way to exercise and stay healthy. Having a companion with you, be it a friend or pet dog, can make the experience even more pleasurable. Dog walkers and their dogs are always welcome in the Heart of England Forest making for a great day out to explore the countryside be it on two legs or four.
With the warm welcome we give to all visitors comes a level of responsibility for everybody too. For dog walkers, we must consider the welfare of everything that lives in or visits the Forest. Special places like ours are home to rare wildlife and sensitive habitats. The Forest is also home to a working farm providing grazing land for livestock. It is a place for families and school children to explore and learn about the natural world and a safe haven for wildlife to thrive. As the Forest grows and matures, the need to maintain a balance between protecting the enjoyment of visitors with the sensitivities of wildlife become increasingly important.
Lead from the front
Forests are amazing places for you and your dog to enjoy. By keeping your dog on a lead around livestock, when near other people and where ground nesting birds are likely to be present, you will ensure your visit is relaxing and rewarding for everyone. Please be aware that we move farm animals from field to field, so remain vigilant and check each field carefully before you let your dog off its lead – what may have been an empty field last week may now have a herd of sheep tucked around the corner out of sight. Remember too, that many of our neighbours are farmers, and may have livestock in adjacent fields – please respect their livelihoods and ensure your dog does not unwittingly stray off Heart of England Forest land.
Respect people and wildlife
Please respect other visitors and wildlife. Make sure your dog is within sight and can be called to heel. Large dogs can be intimidating to some people, especially young children, so please consider other visitors and the well-being of your dog. A dog off-lead must not jump up at strangers and must return when called by their walker or owner. You should also ensure your dog does not chase or disturb any wildlife.
Leave nothing but footprints
Make sure you take all your rubbish home, so the Forest remains safe and healthy for people and wildlife. Dog poo can spread disease to people, livestock and wildlife, so bag your dog waste and dispose of it responsibly.
Stay safe and healthy
Keep your dog hydrated and avoid allowing your dog to swim in or drink from pools, ponds and puddles as these can pose a serious health risk to your pooch. The Forest is home to a wonderful array of wildlife including wild deer that carry ticks. These ticks can pass on serious infections to humans so always check yourself and your pets for ticks after walking in the Forest.
Most importantly, we hope you and your four-legged friends enjoy your visit to the Heart of England Forest and look forward to you visiting us again soon.
Paws for thought…
If you and your dog had a lovely time exploring the Forest, why not tell your friends and family about this amazing place and how they, too, can help grow England’s largest new native broadleaf Forest. By becoming a Friend of the Forest you can be the first to hear about our special dog walking events. Alternatively, why not share your photos with us on social media https://twitter.com/The_HOEF.