Responsible Dog Walking Policy

Policy & blog developed in partnership with Leave No Trace Ireland, an educational charity dedicated to promoting the responsible use of the outdoors through education, partnerships and research. 

We love to see our friends and neighbours enjoying spending time on the estate with their furry friends. Many of you have told us how much you appreciate having access to the estate for your daily walk during lockdown. And at a time like this – when community really matters – the Hughes family is delighted to open up this private estate to bring some joy and beauty to your day.

Photo credit to @mapletheredsetter

We have seen a big increase in walkers on the estate as walking has become one of our national pastimes. And we have also seen a rise in the popularity of dog and pet ownership during the Coronavirus Pandemic.  In March, with longer evenings, finer weather as well as lambing season, the responsible walking of dogs on the estate becomes an important priority and so we have developed the Responsible Dog Walking policy below in partnership with Leave No Trace Ireland.

Let us start by saying that we LOVE dogs. The goal of our policy is simply to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all on the estate.  We have very few rules here but our Responsible Dog Walking policy is an important one to us. Read on to see how we ask  dog walkers to spend time with us responsibly to avoid or reduce any negative impacts. Please note that while dogs are very welcome on the estate, there are some areas of the estate where dogs are forbidden – please check signs on trail heads.

Be Prepared & Bring Your Lead
When bringing your dog onto the estate, please always bring a lead and dog waste bags. We ask that your dog is kept on the lead at all times when on the estate.

Photo credit to @declancolohanphotography

Consider Other Walkers When Walking Your Dog
Some people are very frightened by dogs and may suffer great anxiety if approached by an off-lead dog. Over-friendly dogs can knock small children off balance when trying to say hello! Other dog walkers may also be upset by an out of control dog causing stress to their own pet.

Respect Farm Animals
The estate is a working sheep farm. And dogs need to be kept on a lead at all times. Please note the signs advising the areas where dogs are forbidden as this relates to farm areas. Bear in mind that you are liable for injury or damage caused by your dog to people or livestock.

Be Careful Around Wildlife
A dog running free in an ecologically sensitive area can cause a lot of damage by chasing wildlife or even attacking young animals or birds. Ground-nesting species of birds are particularly vulnerable to off-lead dogs. If parent birds leave the nest, the eggs become cold and the chicks may die as a result.

Pick Up After Your Dog

Photo credit to @timeawport

Dog walkers are required to collect their dog waste and dispose of it.  Dog faeces and dog fouling is a health hazard and ruins the environment for everybody. Dog faeces is unsightly and messy when stood in. Always carry waste bags with you when walking with your dog on the estate. Dog faeces can cause diseases such as Toxocariasis which can damage eye sight in humans. It can also cause infections in wildlife and serious illness in livestock. Coenuriasis or “Gid”, a fatal disease attacking the brains of sheep is also transmitted through worms passed in dog faeces where the dog has scavenged on an infected sheep carcass.

Pet Accommodation & Attraction Policy
Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate dogs overnight at our Caravan & Camping Park during July and August  because of the volume of guests and in particular, young children.  Likewise, in the Pirate Adventure Park, dogs are not allowed in the attraction in July & August.  Assistance dogs are most welcome.

Sincere thanks to Leave No Trace Ireland for their help in developing this policy.  Through the Leave No Trace programme, those who use the countryside for recreation can gain an understanding of the impact of their activities and learn techniques to prevent or reduce any negative impacts. Further information can be accessed here.

And finally, thank YOU for showing your love of Westport House by adhering to our dog walking policy.  This is our front garden, after all.

#LoveWestportHouse

 


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