iWalk Cornwall - tips for dog owners

Tips for dog owners

Dog-friendliness of walks

Dog bans affecting any routes or beaches that routes pass are indicated in the "dogs" box on the walk.

For the vast majority of walks where there are no dog bans, the suitability almost entirely depends on the individual dog. Knowing your dog better than anyone else, the factors to consider are:

  • Nearly all coastal walks involve unfenced cliffs: the RNLI recommend keeping dogs on leads but if a dog falls, do NOT go after it - dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard (your phone will automatically send your location).
  • A few walks involve very short sections of busy road to cross between footpaths; others involve longer stretches of quieter lanes. This can be seen on the route map for the walks.
  • The majority of walks involves stiles. In the cases where there are none, this is indicated in the "dogs" section of the walks. Very few have dog gates. Dogs may need to be lifted over some depending on the construction of stile vs the size and athleticism of the dog. The construction of stiles in Cornwall is extremely variable ranging from classic wooden stiles over fences to ancient stone footholds over hedges. Where we have been given feedback about routes with difficult stiles, this is displayed on the walk. We have also created a list of walks where stiles are reported as ok. We are continually adding more info over time as we receive more feedback.
  • Where stiles are wired-over, dogs can sometimes squeeze beneath fences. If these are barbed wire, a useful accessory that can be carried in a rucksack to make this safer is a length of foam pipe insulation a couple of feet long that can be quickly used to cover barbed wire (thanks to Lucy Wilson for this ingenious idea).
  • Livestock is difficult to pre-empt as animals are moved all the time (both due to crop rotation between arable/pasture and as grazing is cycled through fields with grass) so could be encountered in any fields along a route; the vast majority of footpaths pass through fields. Livestock grazing is used for land management so animals may also be encountered on the Coast Path. We have listed some routes where livestock is least likely but this comes with no cast-iron guarantees.

Dogs, walkers and livestock

Make sure you are familiar with the Countryside Code. Particularly in a field/enclosure with sheep, where it's an offence for a dog to be "at large", dogs should be on a lead.

See the livestock section of our countryside tips for some general advice about livestock.

There are free-range sheep and ponies on Bodmin Moor so keep in mind these roam over large distances.

Your feedback and tips

  • Please let us know if you find the stiles particularly problematic on a route.

More information for dog owners