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Bringing your dog to the coast

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Bringing your dog to the coast Gavin Duthie

The wide sandy beaches of the Northumberland coast are an excellent place to exercise your dog and as such, dog walking is perhaps the most popular activity on our beaches.

Dogs on the coast can also cause disturbance to wildlife, livestock and other beach visitors. If you follow the simple advice offered below our beaches and coastal grasslands can be enjoyed by people, dogs and wildlife.

Beaches with dog restrictions

None of the beaches in the AONB have dog bans with the exception of;

There is a seasonal restriction for breeding shorebirds in the middle of Beadnell Bay during the summer months. Please observe signs and put your dog on a lead before you reach the site.

Outside the AONB, there are restrictions at Blyth and Newbiggin. Advice from Northumberland County Council about their Dog Control Orders can be found here.

We welcome responsible dog-onwers

We have worked with the National Trust and other to provide some simple guidance and to promote responsible dog ownership at the coast in a leaflet which you can download.

Bringing your dog to the coast


Dog Zonation Trial 2021 - Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR)

As part of the wider NNR bye law review, Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve will be trialling a new dog zone initiative across the whole NNR from 1st May - 1st September 2021.

What is Proposed ?

The trial will consist of three zones shown in the map below:

  • No dogs area - the area around the Wide Opens extending to Ross Back Sands south and north to the Beacons and Blackl Law; and the western section of Budle Bay
  • An area where dogs will be allowed to be exercised off their leads -  the North Shore on Holy Island (maximum of 2 dogs per individual & owners must still be in control of their dogs and must be able to get them back to heel quickly)
  • The remainder of the LNNR - dog owners will be required to keep their dog on a short lead (1.5 metre) at all times (maximum of 2 dogs per individual)

Here is our guide to being a good dog owner at the coast

Disturbance to roosting and feeding birds.

Large flocks of birds on the shore will either be roosting or feeding. Whether they are winter visitors or passing through on migration, they are under stress and conserving energy is important to them.

It may be fun, but please do not allow your dog to run at flocks of birds on the shore. Regular disturbance like this wastes valuable energy – it could mean the difference between lie and death for them.

Disturbance to breeding birds

The dunes and coastal grasslands that back onto the shore are important areas for a variety of ground-nesting birds such as skylarks, meadow pipits, stonechats and partridges. They are easily disturbed, which can prevent them from breeding successfully. Between March and July, please keep your dog on a lead when you are walking through the dunes or coastal grasslands or passing through them to access the shore.

Farm animals

Cattle, sheep and ponies are often grazed in dunes, coastal grasslands and adjacent fields. Where you come across livestock, please put your dog on a lead.

If you are chased by cattle you should let your dog off its lead to protect yourself.

Stranded Seals

Seals can often be found on the Northumberland Coast, If you find a seal pup that looks fit and healthy and shows no signs of distress, then it best to leave it where it is, at least for two high tides. Do not allow your dog to go near the seal and do not try to handle it yourself, they do bite!

If a seal pup is sick, thin or injured then contact RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty and advice line 0300 1234 999.

Clean up after your dog – Bag it and bin it.

If your dog fouls any coastal land, please pick it up, it is an offence not to. Leaving dog faeces is not only a hazardous to health it is offensive to other beach users. Please bag it and either take it home or place it into a bin, do not leave bags of dog faeces hanging on gate posts, trees or anywhere else – this is also a criminal offence.

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