Dogs are to be banned from three South Hams beaches as part of new dog controls for the district.

South Hams District Council’s executive when they met on Thursday afternoon agreed to the new order which will apply the following district wide provisions to dog walkers for the next three years from March 25.

The order introduced new restrictions around requiring dog owners to have the means to pick up dog waste, keep dogs on lead in certain areas, prevent dogs from accessing certain exclusion zones, and adds three new beaches to the list of where they are banned.

It followed a public consultation run last year in which more than 90 per cent of responders where in favour of public access to dog free beaches during peak seasonal times, allowing dogs free access to playing fields except when organised sport is in play when they must be on a lead, and carrying a means to pick up after their dogs.

Anyone breaching the rules could be subject to a £100 fine.


All dog walkers must have means to pick up after their dog

Dogs must be on leads in car parks, cemeteries and churchyards, any fenced, hedged or walled pond, area of water or nature reserve, marked sports fields whilst organised sport is in progress, areas delineated as formal gardens, and Courtenay Park, Salcombe

Dogs are excluded from any fenced, hedged or walled children’s play area, any fenced, hedged or walled bowling green, any fenced, hedged or walled tennis court, any fenced, hedged or walled skateboard or BMX park, any fenced, hedged or walled putting green

Dogs are excluded between May 1 and September 30 between 10am and 7pm at Mouthwell Sands at Hope Cove

Dogs are excluded between May 1 and September 30 at all times at South Sands, Salcombe, except during Ferry operating times when dogs are permitted to cross the sands on a lead to embark and disembark to and from the ferry

Dogs are excluded between May 1 and September 30 at all times on the part of Bigbury Beach from the lifeguard steps to the high tide mark to the east

Honey Foskett, senior specialist for environmental health for South Hams, in her report to the meeting, added: “Feedback from Bigbury was diverse with opposing views at each end of the spectrum. The recommendation is to draw a line from the lifeguard hut steps to the beach allowing dogs to the west and no dogs to the east of the line. This will afford approximately a half and half split whilst allowing both groups to position themselves within the lifeguard patrolled area on the beach.”

Cllr Nicky Hopwood said though that she was disappointed that such a hard stance on dog on beaches was being taken. She added: “It seems a little bit old fashioned to not open up beaches to dogs, as dogs are part of a family, so I just think it is a little bit sad. I don’t own a dog, I own a fur daughter, so I will take her where I am allowed to take her.”

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins added that he shared her concerns, but said: “We have to make sure that the beaches are clean for tourists and residents and as they are so busy in the height of the summer, it is safer to have the orders, but we have to educate people to pick up after their dog better.”

Cllr Keith Baldry said that not everyone was a responsible dog owner, while leader of the council, Cllr Judy Pearce, added: “We have a number of beaches where dogs are welcome so they can go to the ones they are permitted, and we have a good spread and a good mix and everyone ought to be happy.”