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New dog zone initiative at Lindisfarne Nature Reserve

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new trial dog zoning scheme is being introduced on, and by, the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve this spring and summer to help shorebirds. 

It's important we all take care to keep ground nesting birds safe when walking with our dogs on the coast. Birds - including little terns and ringer plover - nest, rest and feed in areas of the Reserve and need undisturbed space to live, survive and thrive.

Whilst dogs will be allowed to exercise off their leads at the North Shore on Holy Island, they will have to be kept on a short lead at all times elsewhere on the reserve during the months of the trial - May to September 2021. 

Dogs will not be allowed on the area around the Wide Opens extending to Ross Back Sands south and north to the Beacons and Black Law; and the western section of Budle Bay during the trial (see map below).

Andrew Craggs, Natural England senior reserve manager, explained the need for the scheme:

“Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is an internationally important site for a range of wildlife and it’s vital we protect the habitats they call home. From 1st May to 1st September this year, we are trialling revisions to the current by-law that will designate specific zones where dogs are allowed on site.

The area already has a series of wildlife protection zones in place from late April to early September for breeding shorebirds but, despite this, there is evidence that increased visitor numbers and dog ownership is having an impact on breeding birds.

The current by-law, which is in force throughout the national nature reserve, requires dogs to be kept on a lead or at heel to prevent them from worrying or disturbing any animal or bird".

So, how will dog walkers know where they can and can't walk their dogs? At the main entry points to the Reserve and at car parks, new temporary signage will be erected to explain which dog zone is in operation at that particular location. Those key entry points have been indentified as Holy Island, Ross Links, Elwick, Waren Mill, Kiln Point, Budle Point, Cheswick and Goswick Sands.