Welcome to Surrey's countryside: a beautiful, tranquil, and environmentally sensitive place enjoyed by local wildlife and visitors alike. We want all dog walkers to have a happy, healthy, hassle-free visit and so ask that you follow our code of conduct.
Keep dogs under control and within sight
- This is important when approaching other countryside users, as not everyone is confident around dogs. Please keep your dog from approaching other people, including children, horse riders, runners, and cyclists. We advise professional dog walkers to please give way to other countryside users on narrow paths.
- Always carry a suitable lead for each dog in your care. Ensure dogs are trained in basic recall, but if not, always keep them on a lead.
- Remember to close gates behind you and in the unlikely event of being chased by cattle, ponies or other animals, release your dog to get to safety separately.
- To help keep everybody safe, please only bring to our sites the maximum number of dogs you can safely control, we advise no more than six.
Look out for livestock and wildlife
- Keep dogs on leads and at a distance from grazing animals which are vulnerable and nervous of dogs, even more so when they have their young.
- During warmer months look out for adders, the UK's only venomous snake. Take your dog straight to a vet if bitten.
Keep paws on paths
Over half of England's most threatened bird species such as the Nightjar, Dartford Warbler and Skylark nest on or near the ground.
- Please keep paws on paths from 1 March to 15 September to stop the disturbance of these rare ground nesting birds. This is important at all our sites but especially our heathland sites; Chobham Common, Whitmoor Common, Rodborough Common and Wisley and Ockham Commons.
- Throwing a ball for your dog is fine but please make sure to keep it on the path.
Pick it up
Dog waste is a big problem for people, livestock and wildlife if it is left behind on the ground or in a bag. Did you know dog waste can take a year to fully decompose? There have been instances on our sites when dog waste has not been disposed of responsibly, with parasites such as Neospora being transmitted to livestock, causing diseases which can result in death of sheep, and abortion in cattle.
- Always pick up and bin dog waste – any public waste bin will do.
- If you can't find a bin onsite, please take it away with you for disposal.
Look out for 'dog poo trees' at some of our sites. These wooden structures with clear signage offer walkers somewhere to temporarily leave their bag of dog waste and collect on the return to their car.
Keep your dog safe
It is also important for your dog's safety to keep them on a lead in and around our car parks and alongside roads, so they don't injure themselves or others.
- Ensure all dogs in your care wear a collar and ID tag with the name and address of the owner and are microchipped to prove ownership.
- Always have a plan of action in the event of an emergency, for example a local vet's number in your mobile phone.
- We advise in warmer weather that you always carry clean, fresh drinking water for dogs in your care after exercise.
Follow local signs
Check local signs, they are there to keep visitors, wildlife, livestock and your dog safe. The countryside is a working environment with nature conservation, land management or farming work taking place.
- Please follow the signs and let nature thrive. Don't let your dog swim in ponds and rivers unless signs say it is ok to do so. Not only can it be harmful to your dog but also the local wildlife.
- When coming to our sites please park considerately only in designated car parks, not on a verge or in a gateway.
- Always follow the Countryside Code which encourages responsible behaviour and a sense of confidence in the countryside so that everyone feels welcome to enjoy the outdoors.
Professional dog walkers
If you're a professional dog walker, you're welcome to make use of our sites but please abide by the best practice set out in this Code of Conduct.
By signing up to the Code of Conduct, your business will feature on our webpage and customers will know that their dogs will be cared for by a business following industry best practice in care and welfare, making every effort to respect the special qualities of the Surrey countryside. A vinyl car sticker is also available for businesses to display on their vehicles to promote their good practice.
Please complete this short form and sign up to Surrey's code of conduct.
For further information on professional dog walking in Surrey's countryside please email; firstname.lastname@example.org
This code of conduct is supported by: The National Trust, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and industry expert Access and Countryside Management Ltd.