Mendip Hills AONB Press Release: Dog Walkers can help Nature Recover on the Mendip Hills

Press Release from The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty :

Dog Walkers can help Nature Recover on the Mendip Hills

The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a great place for dogs and their owners. But please remember that you and your dog share the outdoors with others. The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Unit has produced a handy guide with the help of their Volunteer Rangers to make sure dog owners don’t give their dog a bad reputation.

Volunteer Rangers will be out across the AONB over the Easter holidays to hand out the guide and free biodegradable dog-poo bags. The guide links to dog owners to a leaflet on the AONB website that contains further handy hints. 

You have the right to explore the footpaths and bridleways as well as areas of ‘Access Land’ providing that you act responsibly and keep your dog under control at all times. Many of the places people walk their dogs are nature reserves managed for wildflowers by grazing with sheep, cattle or ponies. Ewes are particularly vulnerable at this time of year with tragic consequences of sheep worrying incidents. Vets and graziers have seen a rise in the numbers of attacks, the results of which may often lead to lambs being lost and sheep being killed and injured.

Andy Wear, Chair of the Mendip Hills AONB, said, ‘Grazing sheep on the nature reserves across the Mendip Hills is vital to helping nature recover. I graze Dolebury Warren for the Avon Wildlife Trust but my sheep have been attacked or chased on numerous occasions with veterinary treatment needed at least once every grazing season. We’re creatures of habit and find those habits hard to break. But if we’re serious about helping nature to recover from the dire situation it’s in we all need to make small changes to our habits. Keeping dogs on a lead during spring when you’re visiting nature reserves can be an important step in helping nature recover.’

Dog owners can help nature recover in other ways. Spring time is when some birds nest on the ground, they can easily be disturbed by dogs. The Mendip Hills are also home to many adders that will bask in the spring time, so by keeping dogs under close control these rare species can help to recover.

You can find the Responsible Dog Ownership leaflet here A-guide-for-dog-owners-and-dog-walkers-on-the-Mendip-Hills-AONB.pdf (mendiphillsaonb.org.uk)

  • Posted: 7th April 2022