Exmoor for Dogs

Exmoor National Park offers some of the most stunning landscapes and opportunities for exploration for you and your dog. We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside now and for future generations, so before you set out make sure you know the Countryside Code and follow these simple steps:

  1. Keep dogs under effective control: Keep your dog on a lead, or otherwise under close control at all times. Be aware of what it is doing and confident it will return to you promptly on command. Ensure it does not stray far from the path or area where you have a right of access and take particular care around livestock. If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog run away off the lead - so you can both get to safety more quickly.
  2. Be aware of the breeding season: On Access Land, such as open moorland or marshland, dogs should be kept on the path and on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to protect ground nesting birds. Even a sniff from a curious pooch can ben enough to alert nearby predators to the whereabouts of a nest or cause major distress to its owner.
  3. Leave no trace: Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can harm wildlife, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly. Please bag it and remove it. Make sure your dog is wormed regularly to prevent spread.

A word on cattle...

Cattle, along with other livestock, are some of the many animals you're likely to meet on Exmoor and it can be little daunting when cows and bulls are grazing near your path. Cows with young are particularly likely to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you. Here's some advice to help you stay safe near cattle:


  • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves.
  • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
  • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
  • Keep your dog close, under effective control or on a short lead.
  • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
  • Report any frightening incidents or attacks to the landowner, the highway authority, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and also the police if it's of a serious nature.
  • Keep us informed of any problems you experience.


  • Don’t hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle - let it go as the cattle will chase the dog and not you
  • Don’t put yourself at risk by walking close to cattle
  • Don’t panic or run – most cattle will stop before they reach you; if they follow just walk on quietly

Cattle on your path

So what do you do when cattle are obstructing the path? Find another way, by going around the cattle. If cattle are blocking a path through a field, you’re well within your rights to find a safe way, away from the path to avoid them. You should then re-join the footpath as soon as possible – and when you consider it safe to do so.
Find out more about walking near livestock by reading the Countryside Code.

see also Dog Friendly Exmoor pages on the Visit Exmoor  website

Flea and tick treatments

These treatments for dogs have the potential to pollute water courses and kill sensitive insects and invertebrates. As per manufacture advice please do not let your dog swim in rivers, or other water bodies if you have recently used a skin applied treatment.