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Over the Farm Gate

Come and enjoy the countryside with your dog on a Farm Stay dog-friendly holiday!

Dogs enjoy a break in the countryside just as much as their owners do. It can be a dog’s dream to have somewhere new to explore, with fabulous walks, and interesting sights and smells.

Dogs are welcome to join you at many of our Farm Stay properties and to help make your break the best it can be, we’ve put together some guidance which may be especially helpful if your dog is not used to the countryside or you are new to dog ownership.

There’s a fantastic choice – more than 150 Farm Stay properties are dog friendly. Some self-catering cottages have enclosed gardens that you can enjoy with your dog, while some owners even offer a dog-sitting service. Check the individual website for details of facilities but do also ask about onsite rules in terms of what is expected.

When you arrive at the start of your holiday introduce the dog to your host and take time to ask about the dos and don’ts around the farm. They’ll be able to tell you about suitable walking routes and may even suggest safe areas for you to allow your dog off the lead.

Don’t forget to check with the owner where they would prefer you to put filled poo bags! Yes, it’s essential wherever you are with your dog, farmland included, that you clean up with a poo bag. Canine faeces can contain parasites that can spread to grass. If this grass is eaten it can cause pregnant cattle to lose their young, it can even cause blindness in humans too. 

Care around farm animals

Sadly, there has been an increase in the incidence of attacks on livestock this year with tragic consequences. It’s better to be safe than sorry and if you can, keep your dog away from livestock. Even if you know your dog well and he doesn’t normally want to chase, he may become excited by unusual smells, sounds or movements, and his behaviour may alarm resident animals.

When following a walking route across farmland where you can see livestock, or even if you can see sheep, cattle, goats, horses or other animals in the distance, it’s vital that your dog is on a lead and under close control.

Be aware that even if your dog does not bite livestock, lunging or barking at them can cause pregnant animals to lose their young through stress.

Seek out dog friendly places

When you are out and about exploring the local areas off the farm, look out for signs and restrictions in public places. There are a series of orders that mean you have to keep your dog on a lead in certain locations, for example children’s play areas, sports pitches, roads, parks and beaches.

Many local authorities have introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders to restrict dogs to being walked on a lead (or excluded from the area entirely) in certain public spaces, including certain beaches at high season. Signage on site will detail restrictions, but it’s a good idea to check before you set out to be certain. Ask your host or check on local websites for dog-friendly sites. Having said all of the above, there are lots of amazing places where you can take your dog, from pubs and cafes, to a whole range of outdoor venues, so we’re sure you’ll all have a great time!

Read the Countryside Code

A revised Countryside Code was launched this spring by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. Changes include clearer rules to underline the importance of clearing away dog poo, staying on footpaths, and not feeding livestock.

Take a look here:

NOTE: Those places that do not allow dogs have made the decision in the best interests of their farm and potentially for the safety of visiting dogs. They may also be keen to keep the interior of their properties allergy-free. Do respect this and don’t simply turn up with your dog.