Important Information for Visitors and Dog-Walkers

It is that time of year when we ask dog-walkers to help us protect our wildlife by keeping their charges under control and, where necessary, on lead.  

Bird/Wildfowl Breeding Season

As we are now in breeding season for ground-nesting birds, we are are asking visitors to the Commons to help protect these species, at a time when they are particularly vulnerable, by practising responsible dog walking.

The Commons are home to abundant wildlife who live and thrive in this natural environment and our ground-nesting birds and wildfowl on the ponds are starting to nest, they are very vulnerable to disturbance. Ground nests are usually well camouflaged in the long grass and may be little more than a shallow scrape, making it easy to forget they are present in the landscape. The stress of a dog or a person running across the landscape can seriously disrupt breeding for these birds. Reducing disturbance as much as possible gives them the best chance of breeding success.

Dogs on Lead Zones - 1st March to 31st July

Once again we are asking dog walkers to keep their dogs on leads in the bird-nesting area of The Plain.  The area has been clearly marked with posts and notices and we would kindly ask dog walkers to help us ensure that we give the best chance we can to our nationally declining ground-nesting bird population.  As the grass grows the paths through the area will be mown and we would also ask you to keep to these paths. 

Dogs out of Ponds - 1st April to 31st August

Queensmere Pond - From the 1st April, we ask dog-walkers to keep their dogs on lead and out of Queensmere Pond to protect the wildfowl that breed around the edge of ponds.

Kingsmere, Rushmere, Bluegate, Seven Posts and Hookhamslade Ponds:  All these ponds are vitally important to our breeding wildfowl and this year we are asking you to keep your dogs out of the water so we can minimise disturbance to any birds nesting around the perimeter.

Please be aware that we have swans at both Queensmere, Kingsmere and Rushmere this year although we are only aware of them breeding at Queensmere.  Keeping your dogs out of the water is vital for their safety too as the adult swans can get very aggressive during the breeding/nesting season.  

We have had several incidents over the last two years of the male swan attacking dogs in the water


If you have any doubts as to how your dog may react around our wildlife - please keep them on a lead during this critical time. If your dog needs to stand at the water's edge for a drink, or to cool down (when we get warmer weather) this is fine but do keep a good hold on their lead and make sure there are no swans with young in the vicinity.


Thank you for helping us by respecting our wildlife and the work we are doing to ensure its long-term preservation.