Contact us at

Walking the dog

Home > Nature Reserve > Walking the dog

Walking the dog along the sea wall on a frosty morning
Walking the dog along the sea wall on a frosty morning

This is a popular place for walking the dog and admiring the view. However, please remember that Portbury Wharf  nature reserve and the salt marsh next to it are vital areas for wildlife. Mammals and birds flock here to feed and rest.


So how can we all rub along together?

We must understand the needs of our wildlife and know when it is important to keep a wide berth. So please keep dogs under control (preferably on a lead) and stay on the paths and off the salt marsh. Particularly:

  •  in the winter  the ground is frozen and food is hard to find. Getting enough food can be the difference between life and death for the wildlife. So not disturbing the flocks of resting and feeding birds is important.
  •  in late winter  heavily pregnant roe deer may be feeding on the reserve and salt marsh.
  •  in early summer  when deer fawns may be left hidden in vegetation and ground nesting birds, such as skylarks, will be sitting.
  •  particular care should be taken around the swans , they are too big and clumsy to take off quickly so they are vulnerable to attack from foxes and dogs.
  •  where the water voles live . The rhynes are home to water voles. So dogs jumping in the water will stop them feeding and trample their food. Water voles need to eat at least 90% of their own body weight each day, more if they are pregnant.
  •  in the Sanctuary, fields and ponds  – these are wildlife only areas, so strictly a no go area for both dogs and people.

Individually we may not make much of a difference but acting together we can all help our wildlife.

Though, of course, it is not just the wildlife that is afraid of our dogs. Many human visitors are also fearful of them so please never allow your dog to run towards wildlife or other visitors.

So we hope you enjoy walking the dog while taking care of the wildlife and fellow visitors.

Please follow the countryside code and you won’t go far wrong