The Canine Car Park & Walk
Skipwith Common, National Nature Reserve is an internationally protected site, which is owned by the Escrick Park Estate, and managed in conjunction with Natural England. Although there is full public access on Skipwith Common, dogs must be kept on a short lead as this is a legal requirement under the CROW Act of 2000. However, many dogs are still allowed by their owners to run off the lead on Skipwith Common causing disturbance and injury to wildlife and grazing animals, so the Escrick Park Estate has designated a 10 acre block of woodland, over the road from the main Sands Lanes Car Park, as an area where dogs are allowed to run free off the lead. This area is less sensitive for wildlife and contains no grazing stock, so we hope that the public will enjoy letting their dogs loose here, and not continue to do so on the sensitive wildlife habitat of the main Skipwith Common NNR. There is a new car park, on the other side of the road from the Sands Lane car park for easy and safe access by the public. There is an attractive circular trail through the woodland past a pond and the estate has also put in a new fence beside the road, to make it safer for free running dogs.
Skipwith Common hosts a myriad of diverse wildlife, a large number of which are very easily disturbed by roaming dogs. In addition we generally have about ten sheep a year killed by dogs. When tackled about dogs chasing sheep, the classic response from the dog owner is, ‘my dog is only exercising the sheep, he would never hurt them’! or that ‘my dog never runs off and is always under control’. The livestock on Skipwith Common are an integral part of the management, as they help keep the ever invasive scrub at bay. Stock do not tend to graze areas which are heavily walked by loose dogs leading to further problems of managing the common for all to enjoy. The law is quite clear – on Skipwith Common ALL DOGS MUST BE ON A SHORT LEAD if anywhere other than the main highway. Following this new provision this legal requirement will be enforced.
The Escrick Park Estate has made a considerable investment in creating a car park, and a circular walk through an attractive part of the woodland, as well as fencing for this ‘off-lead’ footpath and is now available for all to use.
on behalf of Escrick Park Estate