Cornish beach dog ban

Despite a protest, in which more than 100 dogs and their owners marched across Porthtowan beach near Truro, dogs are now banned from a number of Cornwall’s beaches.

Local dog owners formed the Porthtowan Dog Group to protest against the ban but were unsuccessful. Carrick District Council, the area’s local authority, cited risk of infection and the beach’s blue flag status, as reasons for the ban.
Thanks to a small number of irresponsible owners, who don’t clean up after their dogs, many local authorities ban dogs from beaches right across the UK. If you’re taking your dogs on holiday in the UK this summer, the local tourist board should be able to provide a list of dog-friendly beaches.

Update: Porthtowan Dog Group have started the Porthtowan Dog Blog, if you’d like to keep up to date with their campaign.

  • Porthtowan Dog Group

    Hi, Thanks for the mention of our Mass Dog Walk and Protest….. we are not giving up on this. we have been trying for 18 months, we have over 150 local members and we intend to convince our local Council Carrick that they cannot keep us off our beach by spreading scare stories about toxocara canis infection…. we know the real figures and we want the public to be given the real facts.
    We know that we are let down by a few dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs, this dog mess offends a lot of people and we aim to reach out to these irresponsible dog owners and convince them that that if they want to continue to use our lovely Village to walk their dogs then they will have to clear-up or they will be fined. The fixed penalty is

  • Christina

    I think iis great that some dog owners have formd a protest group. I think it is awlful that dog owners must travel in the hot weather in a car to get to a dog friendly beach – if they don’t live near one. I also think it is unfair that just because some dogs have toxocara canus that all dogs are banned. Also why can horses still go on the beach – they make more mess, in Canada horses wear “diapers” they are bags which collect the horses waste – i think it is a brilliant idea and their streets areso clean there is no litter, chewing gum, dogs mess, cigarette butts, etc, etc.
    Good Luck to you!!!

  • julie armstrong

    I am a tourist who often spends time on your lovely beaches. However it is becoming more and more difficult to visit as my dog is banned from many of the beaches. I am a very resposible dog owner and find this blanket ban on dogs a real infringement of my rights. I have no children by choice, my dog is my companion. Be sensible Cornish councils enforce fines on owners who don’t clear up dog mess, don’t punish us all.

  • sue kelly

    Wanted to visit for the weekend but as we are unable to bring the dog onto the beach we will be going elsewhere. I wonder how much revenue is being lost because of responsible dog owners like myself going elsewhere? Surely there could be an area of beach set aside for those people who wish to bring their dogs – the irony being that the responsible owners would help sort out the irresponsible ones.

  • david briggs

    I do not have a problem with dogs under control on a beach. However, in my experience the majority of dogs off a lead in a public place do not pay any attention to their owners until they have scared my children by jumping up at them followed by the owner’s cry of “it’s okay – he won’t hurt you”. Sorry, but I don’t want your stinking wet animal making my clothes smell and dirty and I don’t want to stroke it or have my children knocked off their feet by it. If when you called your dog it came back to you it would be fine, but stop kidding yourselves, the only time they listen to you is when you’re next to them and when your dog is 200m away they don’t pay the blindest bit of notice. The other point is I’ve seen some, if not most, dog owners pick up dog muck but never seen anybody pick up or wash away wee. Only last week a dog did a pee on the sand castle my daughter had just made. Pplease tell me if I seem unreasonable but if youths behaved in the way dogs do they would be given an ASBO and not allowed to retrurn to the beach. I would also like to point out that it is illegal to have an out of control dog. Therefore, a dog that does not return to you when you call it the first time is out of control and bothering other people.

    I know this is a pro dog blog but I think you should hear the other side to the argument. I don’t know your dog from Adam and don’t know whether it is going to be a soft puppy or savage face biter. I’d rather not take the risk so end up keeping my children close to me when dogs are on the beach. Surely a child should have more freedom than a dog? Take it to the Moor!!

    I welcome any feedback on the issues i have raised, but common sense says children should be free to play and run on the beach rather than dogs. Can you honestly say my dog comes when i call it before it bothers other people? I doubt you could swear on your dogs life.

  • Claire Robinson

    The first thing that I do when looking for a place to go on holiday is look up where in the area accepts dogs. I was thinking of taking my holiday in Cornwall but all I can find is “keep your dog of the beach” listings so will go elsewhere as Cornwall seems particularly un-friendly to dogs.

  • Julie

    Totally agree David – our dog will not come back when called so we have invested in a long lead. If there are children around we do not want to ruin their day by having a dog (however friendly and enthusiastic) bother.

    Considerate owners with dogs kept on a lead can happily share a beach with other users. I never fully trust any dog, so responsibly ownership would include consideration of the wild nature of the beast. Yes our instinct tells us our dogs are friendly but they only need to be frightened or pocessive over food etc. to show another side.

    I am quite happy for there to be restrictions perhaps each beach could have restricted hours when dogs are allowed every day, and random visits from dog watchers to monitor activity and irresponsible behaviour.

  • Jeni Morton

    Excuse me while I just let the steam finish coming out of my ears when reading David’s email.

    Is it any wonder that people continue to treat animals in general so badly when there are people like David who seem to think that dogs do not have any rights at all. Yes there are a few people who do not clear up after their dogs. and yes some dogs are a bit smelly particuarly when they get wet, and yes they do have the personality and spirit to get over excited sometimes and not act like pre-conditioned “Robots” and stick by their owners side, and yes they do seem to like saying hello to perfect strangers (God only knows why when there are people like David around!!!)

    I have a beloved little dog and have been lucky enough to find a man who loves animals as much as I do. Like another lady said her dog is her companion. We have made a decision not to have children and we DO NOT see our dog as a child subsitute – GOD FORBID!!!

    When we take our dog on the beach he plays, runs, ocassionally barks with joy, paddles, swims and fetches his ball and is never far from us because he adores us as much as we adore him. He does not particuarly like children because most of the children he has come across either poke at him, scream and squeal at him, chase him or generally bother him. But it seems children have all the rights to do whatever they want. When I was a child my mother taught me to ask the owner of the dog if I could say hello and stroke him, even though I wanted to go and throw my arms around every dog I saw. So because I am so terrified that some child will say my dog has “bothered them” if he so much as looks at them or makes any sound at all I try and keep as far away from them as possible because anyone these days seems to be able to say that a dog is dangerous from the smallest thing.

    Us dog owners suffer in every aspect of life now because of the pathetic and stupid Health & Safety Laws which surround taking your dog on beaches, some parks, pubs, restaurants and shops – generally anywhere public. Why is that fair when myself and my partner want to spend our hard earned cash in a lovely restaurant where my little dog would be happy to sit or lay quietly under the table whilst we eat, and we are surrounded by badly behaved children, screaming babies, children chucking toys around to trip over, mothers changing babies smelly nappies on the chairs – or worse still tables! But got forbid that a dog as much as breathes in a public place. Tell me are his feet any more dirty than the bottom of somebody like David’s shoes?

    David – I have got news for you – I don’t find children anymore cute than you apparantly find dogs. I do not go “oh how sweet” when a ball bounces off my head, or sand is kicked in my eyes, or the sound of the waves is blasted out with kids screaming, squealing or even shouting. It turns my stomach when I see a kid squatting in the sand having a pee or worse, I am not amused when I dig up a dirty nappy when trying to dig a hole for my sun umbrella, I am not happy when I have to pay for a vet when my dog cuts his foot on glass left by some lovely human, I do not think it is cute when a child drops his icecream all over the path and it ends up all over my flip flop!

    As you may have gathered I feel very strongly about this. Basically human beings continue to breed and over populate the planet, they ruin everything they touch, they are slowly killing the earth with polution, they hurt each other with the most wicked crimes, they are greedy, want everything for themselves and yet thats fine.

    Oh sorry David – did my dog dare to look like he was enjoying himself playing ball with me on the beach – well may God strike us down – How selfish of us.

    We should all remember that we only share this planet – and many other living things live on it also. Dogs are just one of those living things – and yes David – THEY DO HAVE RIGHTS!!!!

  • I don’t think its the same going to a beach in Cornwall without seeing a dog roaming free, its part of the british way of life! I fully understand keeping dogs on leads at busy beaches during the summer months but most owners are responsible enough to look after there own dog.

    I am all for zoning it seems to work at places like Woolacombe in Devon, even if you have to walk a bit further your dog even gets other doggy friends to play with and nobody complains when your dog joins in the local frisby game….

    There are lots of beaches in cornwall that allow dogs all year round, search and you will find.

    visit for more information on our forum.

  • Melanie Lonergan

    Although I don’t mind dogs, I do think they are allowed just about everywhere these days and have more rights than humans. Personally I love to go on a beach, knowing that it is clean and safe to bathe on away from dog excrement. The fact of the matter is children can go blind from dog excrement, and the fact that some dog owners clean up after their mess, is not the point. What the point is , public areas being used as a giant toilet by dogs, and surely it is a matter of hygiene and health and safety that people have a right to bathe in a dog free zone.

  • Sue Brown

    In answer to David Briggs I can honestly say my dog is under my control and doesn’t go more than about 20 feet away from me. I hope he can say the same about his children!
    I like children and don’t have a problem with them but there are a lot of bad mannered children out there who are rude, swear, drop litter and when on a beach or park don’t stop to consider others.

    I totally agree that not all dog owners are responsible and not all dogs are gentle and safe but as history has taught us not all children are gentle.

    The other thing I would like to say is parents like David often make there children frightened of dogs which is very sad as they bring a lot of pleasure and comfort to many even when wet and smelly and so happy to see you.

  • Barbara Hart

    Cornwall was once my favourite holiday destination but since the local authorities stopped welcoming dogs we don’t go at all.
    I agree with the poster that you don’t want a dog weeing on your child’s sandcastle but we do seem to live in a country where children. no matter how badly behaved, have to be tolerated by the rest of us but animals, no matter how well behaved, are to be scorned.
    We have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

  • Gillian Brightwell

    I camp each summer and walk the coast paths. I have found Cornwall very difficult due to the high number of beaches where dogs are not allowed. Often we have to take a very long detour round on a very narrow road. All we want is to paddle in the sea and cool our feet down, have a drink and snack and carry on round the coast – is this so outrageous?

    Local dog owners are protesting about the bans and I don’t blame them but the protest of leaving the mess on the beach in the evenings is just not going to help!

    If we are banned at peak daytimes the rules could actually be relaxed in the evenings when nobody is on the beach.

    I shall stick to Pembrokeshire which has hardly any dog-ban beaches and fewer visitors.

  • I am not sure why any responsible dog owner ever want to take a dog on the sand, they then clean themselves and get grit in their teeth, salt and sand in their fur. Would anyone want to have the sand in their mouths. If the answer is no, then why take a dog on the sand. I would never take my daschund on the sant

  • linda

    I have a dog and she loves the beach and i clean up any mess she does, cant say the same about holiday makers , they bleave there rubbish on the beach .

  • It is disgraceful that dogss cannot get swimming access to so many areas of Cornwall. No one seems to recognise that none of the so called dog friendly beaches in St.Ives are are accessible to wheelchairs or mobility impaired persons, in fact as others have said Lambeth Walk is even dangerous for dogs. Surely a section of Portheor beach could become dog friendly? According to R.Sillem (letters, St.Ives Time & Echo 20/4) Q “the beach only starts at the point where the highest spring tide does not reach” so Q “to ban anyone from the foreshore would take a new law passed by parliament” unquote. Other wroters appear to be gearing up to take these issues to court. We also need an open ongoing online forum and petition to challenge overstrict County Council regulations. PS

  • Sally

    We have a Cocker spaniel who loves running on the sand and swimming in the sea.
    We live in the country just outside London so love coming down to Devon/Cornwall for holidays and short breaks, but it is such a pain having to find beaches that are dog friendly why oh why are dogs made to feel so unwelcome.
    A survey was done that says more people are holidaying in this country because they don’t want to put their dogs into kennals.
    So why can’t dogs be welcomed, we have children (grown up now) but on the whole dogs are far easier and often better behaved than children.
    We went to Padstow in August and WELL DONE PADSTOW you are so dog friendly it was like dog fest, they were allowed on 90% of beaches and we did not see any dog mess.They were allowed in shops even a very expensive glass shop we chose not to as our dog has a very waggy tail.There were water bowls everywhere ours was in a total state of confusion deciding which one to go for. Newquey was the same clthes shops etc it was so refreshing and made our holiday easier and so much more enjoyable.
    Please allow dogs on beaches even if it is a restricted area the stretch from Perranporth down to Porthcurno is totally dog free apart from a small section between Godrevy and Hayle so come on you can get holiday homes by the beaches that are dog friendly but you can’t go on them in season and for people like me who work in schools and can only go in main holidays we are completley stuffed!!