Dogs on Tewkesbury nature reserve

Dog Access and Usage Policy- Update November 2020

Following several incidents on Tewkesbury Nature Reserve, we have had to review our Dog Access and Usage Policy.  With immediate effect, all dogs must always be kept on a lead in all areas of the Reserve. This decision has been made in consultation and with the support of Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire Police. These organisations are key partners in ensuring our objectives of ‘a safe haven for wildlife combined with an educational environment in which people can connect with nature’.

Finding a balance between encouraging access to experience nature, while protecting its fragile habitats and wildlife as well as the safety of livestock and other users is particularly difficult.  We recognise the health and social benefits of dog ownership and dog walking, and we know that many dog owners are also lovers of nature.  There is conclusive published evidence that the presence of dogs off lead, regardless of training or temperament, has a seriously damaging impact on wildlife and the habitats that we are aiming to conserve.  Many dog walkers recognised this and act appropriately.  However, the number of dogs now being exercised off the lead on the Reserve is no longer compatible with the aims and objectives of the Reserve.

The policy update includes the following measures which we ask you to abide by with immediate effect.
  • All dogs must always be kept on a lead no more than 2 metres (6.5ft) long in all areas of the Reserve.
  • Dog walkers must always keep to marked paths, and dogs must not be allowed to stray into verges or undergrowth.  
  • Dogs must not be allowed to enter any water (ponds, rivers, streams or reedbeds) at any time.
  • Dogs must not be allowed to disturb wildlife, grazing livestock, or other visitors.
  • Dog owners must remove their dog’s faeces from the Reserve. Bins are located outside the Reserve close to all exits.
  • Professional dog walking is not permitted on the Reserve.
  • No individual or social group may bring more than three dogs on to the Reserve at any one time.
  • Dog owners must show respect for other visitors to the Reserve, recognising that some people are afraid of dogs, and that dogs may not be friendly with each other.
  • Tewkesbury Nature Reserve has the right to exclude dogs and owners from all or certain parts of the Reserve at any time for environmental or other reasons. Dog owners should observe signs and follow any instructions given by Reserve staff.

Dog owners are reminded that it is a criminal offence if your dog makes someone reasonably fear injury to themselves or worries livestock this includes being at large off lead.  All dog owners have a legal duty to clean up dog faeces immediately after their animal fouls a public place.  Reserve Staff and Gloucestershire Police regularly patrol the Reserve and may approach you and respectfully ask you to adhere to the rules if you are not doing so.  Your co-operation would be much appreciated.

This policy will be reviewed regularly, and further updates will be provided via our website.

If you would like to know more about the facts behind the decision making regarding these policy changes please download the document below.