The ACA Forum

Conserving the Devonshire Avon from source to sea


by | May 5, 2011 | Main | 0 comments


From 1 March to 31 July  

To protect ground nesting birds,

dogs must be kept on a short lead (i.e. <2m) on

open access land.

The countryside around the Avon  is a great place to exercise dogs, but it’s every owner’s duty to make sure their dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people.  Recently, we have received reports of dogs worrying birds around the estuary.

  • By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife.  On most areas of open country and common land, known as ‘access land’ you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, and all year round near farm animals.


  • You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.


As the weather improves and use of the river and its estuary grows during the holiday season, the ACA Committee offers the following commonsense reminder for looking after your waterway, its flora and fauna, taken from Natural England’s publications and based on the Waterways Code (, the Countryside Code ( and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) which has the force of law behind it:-

  1. protect the waterway environment – keep noise to a minimum and don’t damage the vegetation or banks
  2. take home everything that you brought with you, and leave the site as you found it
  3. never dump rubbish, sewage or oily bilge water into the water or onto the bank
  4. clean up after your dog and keep it under control i.e. on a 2m lead from 1st March-31st July – please avoid frightening any wildlife, especially ground nesting birds or chicks (many people exercise their dogs on the Avon Estuary at low tide).  Click here for the official sign! –  Keep dogs on leads
  5. don’t light fires
  6. report pollution, fly tipping or fish in distress to the Environment Agency  0800 807060 (24 hrs)
  7. report birds or animals in distress to the RSPCA 0990 555 999 (24 hrs)

I’ve also been asked to add some nautical advice i.e. “pass oncoming boats port to port” with the comment that this has nothing to do with the stuff that comes in a bottle!  If in doubt, keep right!

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