Thanks to Pebblebed dog walkers for picking up after their pets

A whopping 40 tonnes of dog poop has been collected across Woodbury Common since a dog walking code of conduct was launched a year ago.

The Pebblebed Dog Code highlights simple ways that dog walkers can enjoy the heaths, sharing the space with other visitors and wildlife in a responsible way. Guidance includes: always picking up after your dog, keeping to paths and preventing disturbance to the area’s special wildlife, especially during bird breeding season (March to August).

The code was drawn up by conservation experts including the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust (PHCT), Devon Loves Dogs, the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership, RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust.

To mark the anniversary, PHCT and Devon Loves Dogs are running a week-long series of Waggy Pop-up events around the Heaths from Monday 25 March.

Kim Strawbridge, East Devon Pebblebed Heaths site manager, said “We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been helping to look after the heaths over the last year. We were staggered at the amount of dog poop that has been placed in dog bins across the heaths since the code was launched. It is making a significant difference.

“There’s still more people can do, especially in and around car parks. This could be caused by the poops that owners might not notice when they start their walk. Even with the best of intentions it can be difficult to juggle getting yourself sorted for a walk and keeping an eye on your dog.  We would always advise that you don’t let your dog out of the car until you are ready to walk and keep them on a lead for those first crucial steps, so that you can keep them safe and know if they go!

“Everyone knows how important it is to pick up after their dogs – it’s not only a legal requirement, but it keeps places clean and free from disease. On the heath this is even more crucial.  Heathlands and the rare wildlife that depends on them exist on nutrient poor soils.  Dog poop if full of nutrients that change the soil if left on the common, eventually damaging the plant and wildlife communities that we care for. ”

Julie Owen from Devon Loves Dogs, said: “We are looking forward to meeting lots of dog walkers at the waggy pop-up events. We’ll be asking people to “pledge” their support for the code by taking a doggy selfie in our special photo frame. They will receive a free ‘Love your dog, love the heath’ car sticker and a goodie bag. There will be a chance to win a free ‘dickie’ bag, which is a clean way of taking dog poop with you rather than leaving it in plastic bags around the heaths.”

Meet Devon Loves Dogs and Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust at the main parking areas across the heaths from the 25th – 31st March. Follow them on Facebook for more details.