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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Dogs on leads zone for popular Jeskyns Community Woodland

30 June 2014
by Thom Morris

From tomorrow, a new dogs on leads policy comes into force in the busiest part of Jeskyns Community Woodland.

Earlier in the year, in response to increasing dog-related complaints and incidents, the Forestry Commission held an online debate, attracting over 500 comments.

It asked people to submit ideas for how dogs could be better managed at Jeskyns to ensure that all visitors could continue to enjoy the woodland.

Jeskyns Ranger, Denise Bird with her dog Caleb.



The online forum, which received more than 1500 unique page hits, identified a "dogs on leads zone" as the most popular solution to the issues.

Other ideas included increasing the number and visibility of Forestry Commission staff on site and wider promotion of the Jeskyns Dog Code of Conduct.

The new zone is located in the busiest part of the site where the cafe, main play features and Gruffalo Family Trail are.

It covers one tenth of the 360 acre space and to complement it, a new dog activity trail has also been built.

A new assistant ranger has been recruited to help increase staff presence on site and the Forestry Commission plan to promote the Jeskyns Dog Code over the coming months.

Jeskyns Ranger Denise Bird said: "The online discussion really helped us to understand better the viewpoints of a wide range of visitors.

"Whilst we recognise that it is not possible to please everyone, we feel that the new measures present a fair compromise for all.

The new measures have been implemented on a 12 month trial and will be reviewed in June 2015.

"The new on leads zone provides all visitors access to at least one part of site where they can be confident that they will not encounter dogs off lead.

"This can be particularly important to families with children, those who are less steady on their feet and even other dogs who don’t deal well with excited advances by fellow canines."

She added: "We welcome 100's of fantastic, responsible dog owners to Jeskyns every day.

"Whilst the new zone may mean a slight alteration to the routines of some, we feel confident that the majority will accept this change with the understanding that Jeskyns is a large space which needs to be shared by everybody.

"All of the measures including more staff and better promotion of the Jeskyns Dog Code will help to ensure that Jeskyns remains a welcoming place for all parts of the community".

The new measures have been implemented on a 12 month trial and will be reviewed in June 2015.

The Forestry Commission confirm that following this review, the decision on whether to introduce further measures will be based upon whether there has been a significant positive impact upon the number of dog related incidents and complaints.

A map of the new zone, details of the public discussion and the Jeskyns Dog Code can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/jeskyns

The Jeskyns Dog Code:

  • Clean up - please always bag and bin your dogs waste.
  • Control - please ensure your dog is in sight and comes back to you when called.
  • Consideration - please do not allow your dog to approach other visitors uninvited.

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