Here at WWT Steart marshes we welcome you and your dog to the reserve. The area is popular with dog walkers and we hope that these key points will allow you to help us protect this important area whilst you and your dog enjoy your walk.
You and your dog can help protect the wildlife:
Steart Marshes provides an important habitat for a wide range of wildlife. We have lots of nesting birds here, which if disturbed can abandon their nests and chicks.
We leave some areas of open grass around the reserve, which provide a home to many small mammals such as voles and shrews. Some of these areas can also provide a crucial habitat to ground nesting birds such as skylark. We know that many dogs like to play in the long grass, but we ask that you keep your dog out of these areas and don’t allow them to chase the wildlife.
We know that some dogs love swimming, but when you are walking around Steart Marshes please keep your dogs out of the water. The ponds, lagoons, and ditches here provide homes to important wildlife such as otters, water voles, eels, newts and many more. Not only can dogs cause disturbance to these species, but dog flea treatments can pollute water courses. These can be toxic to aquatic invertebrates and therefore impact many of these other important species. There are natural flea treatment options, which you can ask your vet about, but keeping your dog out of the water can help protect the wildlife.
Grazing sheep and cattle play a vital role in maintaining the grassland and saltmarsh to allow rare plants and animals to thrive here at Steart. Livestock can be inquisitive and also nervous of dogs. Please keep your dog on a lead in areas where there are animals. If you feel under threat from livestock, let go of the lead and get to an area away from the livestock, before calling your dog back.
We have a wide range of visitors at Steart marshes and not everyone loves dogs. Please be aware that you may come across other dog walkers, horse riders, cyclists, and people with young children. We know some dogs like to play with each other, but please be aware that some don’t and may be working assistance dogs or may be nervous. Keep your dog under close control and call them back to you when other visitors approach.
We hope you and your dog enjoy your visit to Steart Marshes.