The Bradgate Park Trust welcomes dogs and their owners. Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood are wonderful places to visit to exercise your pets and we welcome all dogs and responsible dog owners. We have produced some simple guidelines to help to ensure that the Estate is a safe and enjoyable place for all visitors, their pets and for local wildlife. Please follow these guidelines and we would like to remind you that you are legally responsible for your dog and its actions for the entirety of your visit. 

Safety Advice for Dog Walkers

Please follow the National Dog Walking code and observe the 4 Cs of responsible dog ownership:

CONTROL – keep your dog on a lead or under effective control. A  “dogs on leads” rule is in force in parts of Bradgate Park. Please observe the signs. On all of the Estate (Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood) staff may direct that a dog be put on a lead if in their judgement it is likely to cause a nuisance. 

CHASING – deer die from being chased and the stress it causes. Most deaths are not caused by the dog catching and mauling the deer. ANY deer chase is potentially fatal and can lead to prosecution. The law permits landowners, in extreme circumstances, to shoot dogs that are worrying the deer.

CONSIDER other people – they might not like dogs and your dog running up to them can be terrifying.

CLEAN UP after your dog – if it fouls in a public area bag the mess and bin it in ANY litter bin. Plastic bags kill deer, so do not leave bags of dog mess lying around or tied to bushes.

The Bradgate Park Estate is covered by a Public Space Protection Order that relates to visiting with dogs. This sets out restrictions about clearing up after your pet, keeping your dog under effective control and where dogs must be kept on a lead. Non-compliance can result in a £100 fine. The full text of the Public Space Protection Order can be found here, by clicking this link and the requirements are summarised below. This was first introduced in 2017. The order was varied in 2018 to make the seasonal conditions all year round.  It has been extended for a further 3 years from February 20th 2020 to February 20th 2023. 

Map of Bradgate Park showing access

Bradgate Park

We require dogs to be kept on a lead in the lower section of the Park (between the River Lin, across the carriageway up to the Middle Wall). It has clear markers to identify where pets can be let off the lead, provided they are kept under effective control. 

Water bowls can be found at the Conservatory Tearoom, Deer Barn Tearoom and Visitor Centre.  Alternatively, the water from the River Lin is fresh and cool and can be paddled in and drank from, whilst pets remain on the lead.

Swithland Wood

In hotter months we highly recommend a visit to Swithland Wood which is just across the road from the Hallgates entrance of Bradgate Park.  Here pets can be off the lead, if under control.  There is a stream that runs through the Wood and the trees offer shade. 

You will often see horses and cyclists passing through the Woods on dedicated paths, so please be vigilant.

Further information

Effective Control: Please keep your dog under effective control at all times in the Upper Park at Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood when visiting and in car parks too. “Effective control” means your dog should remain in your sight at all times and come back when called. A dog out of sight may be a dog out of control. If you can not rely on your dog's obedience, please walk them on a lead.

Effective Dog Control

Most dogs are generally loveable and playful. Don't assume that everyone likes dogs though. Other visitors and wildlife may not feel this way - they may feel frightened, ambushed or uncomfortable. Please be considerate to everybody's needs, and keep your dog under control. This is particularly important at busy holiday times when many families visit.

Please put your dog on a lead when approaching school groups and families picnicking in areas, where dogs are allowed off leads. Do not allow your dog to interfere with other visitors (or their dogs) and spoil their visit. You may know your dog is friendly but the person it runs up to may not - this seemingly innocent action could be deemed “dangerous” . If in doubt please keep your dog on a lead. It is a criminal offence to allow your dog to be out of control on private or public land. If prosecuted you may receive a custodial sentence, a fine, a ban from keeping a dog or any combination of the three. If your dog's behaviour is sufficient to make someone reasonably apprehensive it is classed as being out of control.

Car Parks: We have had incidents of dogs being struck by cars in the car park, so please keep them on a lead in these areas, especially in busy periods. We do not want to see dogs harmed.

Please do not leave pets in locked cars. Dogs die in hot cars.

A Clean and Pleasant Countryside: Help us to keep Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood clean places for all visitors to enjoy by clearing up after your dog, no matter where it may have fouled.  One of the main concerns our visitors have relate to dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs, or owners who do clear up but leave their bags by the path side, throw bags into the grassland, or even worse left hanging in the trees! Please clear up immediately if your dog fouls. Waste can be disposed of in any general waste bin.

A Haven for Wildlife: Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood provide a valuable home for local wildlife - not just the deer at Bradgate Park. Please help us to protect in our conservation aims by ensuring that your dog does not disturb or chase wildlife, or enter animal holes. During spring and early summer ground nesting birds and other wildlife may be disturbed by dogs allowed to run through the meadows and woodland undergrowth. Please put your dog on a lead if it has a tendency to chase wildlife. Please note the Trust actively prosecutes owners where dogs have been involved in deer chases.