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Walking with dogs in the UK (Public Rights of Way)


Today I discovered some new apps for finding walks, and I thought I'd share some of my research.


In England and Wales, a public footpath is a path on which the public has a legally protected right to travel on foot and most footpaths in the countryside are in fact hundreds of years old. There are a couple of apps that show you all the public footpaths, bridlepaths and rights of way, helping you plan routes!


Unfortunately, there is no way to know if a route is generally busy or not so if your dog is a reactive dog it’s probably best you go it alone on your first ramble and scope out the area, look out for signs of dogs pawprints, poop & how well kept the footpaths are. I think this is a good gauge of how busy routes are. Keep in mind weekends will always generally be busier.





Apps To Check out

  • All Trails

  • OS maps

  • Footpath route planner



Since dogs have been taken on highways for many many years, it’s generally assumed that they can be considered a ‘natural accompaniment’ (a term used in a 19th-century court case to describe what may normally accompany a walker ) and that therefore dogs CAN be taken on public rights of way.

Walking with dogs - UK



However, despite the fact that a dog is a ‘natural accompaniment’ to users of rights of way, the law doesn’t require stiles to be ‘dog friendly. I have often struggled with stiles since Loki is a large dog, it can be a struggle lifting him over. Stiles with ‘dog latches’ can however be provided and can often be seen in popular dog-walking areas.




There’s no law that says that a dog must be kept on a lead when using a public right of way,

( something I’m not fond of as a reactive dog mom ) I highly recommend long lines or leads at all times

Right of way fields can and will still contain grazing cattle

Like its guardian, all dogs should remain on the line of the path – an act of trespass may be committed against the landowner if it wanders away from the official public route.