Take the lead to protect wildlife at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve

Exploring the wetland at an Eycott Hill Discovery Day 

Cumbria Wildlife Trust are asking dog walkers to take the lead when visiting Eycott Hill Nature Reserve near Penrith to give wildlife and the herd of Luing cattle a stress-free spring.

Dogs on leads are welcome at the nature reserve year round but as breeding season for birds gets underway wildlife is more vulnerable to disturbance.

Imogen Rutter, Nature Reserve and Training Officer said “We ask for dogs to be kept on leads year round, for the protection of wildlife and grazing animals. However, it is especially important at this time of year as birds such as skylark, meadow pipit, and curlew, nest on the ground and are vulnerable to disturbance. They can be easily spooked or trampled by a dog, even if it’s not actively chasing the wildlife. It’s really important that all dogs are kept on a short lead so they don’t cause the birds to abandon their nests and leave eggs or chicks in danger of exposure or predation.”

The Luing cattle that graze the nature reserve, and help to create wonderful habitat for ground nesting birds and mammals, are also in calf with the young expected to arrive in May, so extra care should be taken around livestock.

They will be in enclosed fields, separated from the public by permanent or temporary fencing, and it is important that visitors give the cattle space and keep their dogs on leads so that they don’t approach cows.

A dogs on leads policy applies year round at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve, but during breeding bird season it is also a requirement on open access land.

Between 1 March and 31 July, dogs should be on a lead no more than 2 metres long while on open access land.

They should also be kept on a short lead around livestock on open access land.

More information on open access land and the right to roam can be found at www.gov.uk/right-of-way-open-access-land/use-your-right-to-roam.

Dog on leads are very welcome at most of Cumbria Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves (with the exception of South Walney Nature Reserve) but owners are asked to pick up after their dogs and take the waste away with them.

Guidance for dog owners on nature reserves 

Located between Keswick and Penrith, near to the village of Mungrisdale, Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is 216 hectares of exceptionally rich wildlife habitat and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for the wetland plants in the swamps and mires and its geology.

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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