Walkies!! – Dogs in the Countryside.

by kester on July 23, 2017

Dogs have been man’s best friend for millennia and working in the countryside for nearly as long. But in the last 50 years a lot has changed; far fewer people and dogs visiting the countryside are there to work, and this can also mean that they are less knowledgeable about how the countryside works, and the rules that apply.

We know that taking your dog for a walk in the great outdoors is both fun and healthy, but think about it the same way as you would if you took a young child.

The first thing is of course that you would never let a young child jump out of a car by a road, or go wandering off on their own out of your sight, particularly in a wood, or somewhere else they could be hard to find. Yet this is exactly what some people do. They let their dogs jump out of the car without a lead with the risk of a car coming down the road. They then let the dog run off into the wood and have no idea where it is or what it is doing.

We were once called out to help find a dog that was eventually found about 4 miles away, we often have dogs run past us in the wood, and can hear their owner calling from a long way away. Just think what trouble the dog could be getting into! Firstly there is a grave risk to the dog. A doe with a fawn will defend its baby and there was a case not too far away where a German Shepherd dog was killed by a fallow doe in just that situation. Where trees are being felled or machinery used, the dog can run into danger there too, and the person working may be totally unable to do anything to prevent an accident. It is also dangerous for the workman too, as the last thing you want as you are felling a tree, or driving a combine harvester is to be distracted by a dog.

As the old country saying goes any dog is only 2 good meals away from a wolf. You may think that your dog would never chase deer, sheep or other animals, but you don’t know that until it actually happens. Apart from the risk to the dog, sheep and other animal worrying is a serious business and can result in some horrific injuries to the animal being chased, even death. As an aside, while no land owner likes doing it, they are entitled to kill a dog worrying sheep or deer. If more than two dogs are chasing wildlife, it is also an offence under the Hunting with Dogs Act, even if the dogs are just out of control rather than being used specifically to hunt. The only way to prevent danger to the dog, and to stop it being a danger to other animals and people working is to keep it on a lead or to train it to stop and come immediately you call, regardless of what it is doing.

Dogs like all animals, not unnaturally need to defecate. Dogs mess lying on a path or track is unpleasant for everyone, and just flicking it into the bushes isn’t much better. Even if your dog is vaccinated it can pass on disease to other animals such as badgers and foxes. It is also a risk to those of us who work in the country side, whether we are working on hedges, felling, or using a brushcutter. Sadly every year a number of countryside workers lose there sight due to contact with dog mess.

Putting the mess into a bag is fine as long as you take it home. Hanging it in a bush, or leaving it by the edge of the path is worse in some ways than leaving it where it is, as the bag can also be a hazard to all sorts of animals, it looks awful, and the mess decays inside a bag which can last for years. If there is a dog bin, use that, but remember that everyone is paying for the local authority to provide and empty these. Where there is no dog bin, particularly on private land, think about the land owner. They may be on a low income, and even if they are not, if they let you onto their land, is it reasonable to expect ‘them’ to pay to provide a bin, and have it emptied as a thank you?

I know that most of you are responsible dog owners, keep your dogs under control and take their ‘leavings’ away with you. You also can provide a very useful reporting system for anything that is amiss in the countryside, and you are the ones we who work there value. Please keep an eye out for the less responsible dog owners, and by subtle pressure, get them to behave as well as you. The countryside, the animals and plants that live there, and those of us that work there will thank you for it.

Springtime in the Woods 2016

by kester on April 19, 2016

We have had a very wet,  mild winter this year again, and as a result of this and

recent rain the woods are very muddy. Unless you like mud wallowing, we would strongly recommend that you don’t come in unless you are wearing boots. Please keep to the centre of the paths; as you will see if you have come in past years, we are losing a lot of the

flowers you have come to see as the paths through them are getting wider and wider. Please help us to keep this special semi-natural ancient woodland a beautiful place for

future generations to enjoy.

 

The bluebells are a bit early this year and as the wood anemones are about normal time, they are rather mixed. Pretty together, but the scents mix, so slightly less stunning overall.

 

We have cut some more coppice this year and are fencing against deer by moving the

fencing panels around the woods. Part of the in-rotation coppice has been cut this winter, and some that was badly neglected cut or re-cut from its first rotation.

 

As a result of the last storm there are some very large branches down. Please do not climb on them. We will remove them as soon as we can. There are none over the public bridle path or public footpaths.

 

In the interests of the wood, and everybody's safety and enjoyment, please help by;

Keeping to the centre of the paths not the edges. Do not pick or trample the flowers; leave them for all to enjoy.

Please keep dogs on a lead or under very strict control. Please remove all litter and dogs mess.

Keep to the main paths.   Horses and bicycles on the bridlepath only please. No motorised vehicles of any sort except suitable mobility scooters at own risk.

Please park sensibly and do not obstruct the road or gateways. We cannot not allow fires, camping, metal detecting or geo-caching.

 

Chris Westcott, Owner

Follow us on Facebook at Bluebell Wood Clanfield

 

 

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itwes11

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