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  • Dog walking at the Beeches
    Responsible dog ownership at Burnham Beeches
    ​Responsible dog walkers are welcome at Burnham Beeches

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) apply at all times in Burnham Beeches. To help dog walkers understand how and where the new rules apply, signs and maps (205KB) have been erected at the main entrance points and a walking your dog at Burnham Beeches fact sheet (1.4MB) is available.

The penalty for committing an offence contained in a PSPO is a maximum fine up to £1000 and a criminal record. However, you may be offered the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £80 in place of prosecution. This is reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days.

What are the rules?

Dog walkers can still walk their dogs in all areas of the Beeches, except the small exclusion area at the cafe, but in some areas(205KB) dogs must be on leads at all times. In the remaining areas, dogs can be walked off a lead but must be put on a lead when requested by an authorised officer. This will happen if it is judged that your dog is not under effective control. Leads can be a maximum length of 5m; please make sure that you carry one at all times.

All dog walkers must clear up after their dogs at all times, we provide bags and bins in the busiest locations to help you. Not knowing that your dog has fouled and/or not having a bag to clear up with are not reasonable excuses and would leave you in breach of the PSPO.

Finally, each dog walker can bring a maximum of four dogs onto the Beeches at one time.

Why are Public Spaces Protection Orders needed?

​Burnham Beeches is a nature reserve of local, national and international importance, with around 550,000 visits per year and around 40% of these visits are to walk one or more dogs. The City has to balance the needs of all users of the site, be they walkers, cyclists, picnickers, horse riders or dog walkers.

A Dog Management Strategy (507KB) has been produced which gives more detail about why PSPOs are needed and how they will be implemented.

This is supported by several documents including:

The DEFRA website includes guidance on PSPOs.

Legal documents

A formal notice advertising when Dog Control Orders (DCOs) (125KB) came into force was published on this page in local papers and on site on 12 November 2014. The DCOs became PSPOs on 20 October 2017. A second formal notice (84KB) advertising the creation of new PSPOs was published on site, in Parish Council noticeboards and on this page on 28 November 2017.

The new orders superseded and extended the effect of the previous dog control orders at Burnham Beeches for a further three years and came into force on 1 December 2017.

Please use the following links to view the original orders (245KB) and the public spaces protection orders (224KB).

Frequently asked questions

​What is a Public Spaces Protection Order?

Under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the City of London has powers to make PSPOs. The PSPOs for Burnham Beeches provide for five offences which are prescribed in the individual orders above.

Why did the City of London introduce them?

The Beeches has around 550,000 visits per year with the estimated total number of dog visits being around 150,000 or 681 dog visits per hectare per year. We welcome dog walkers but we have to consider their impact on the reserve and its visitors: we have to balance their needs with those of all visitors whether cyclist, horse rider, nature watcher, picnicker or runner. Voluntary codes brought in over the past 10 to 20 years failed to ensure this balance was maintained, making the use of PSPOs essential to minimise the detrimental impacts.

Will dogs have to be on leads at all times?

No, in the area covered by order three, dogs can be walked off a lead across 220 acres of the Beeches unless you are directed otherwise by a Ranger. Our research shows that this is three times larger than the area required by an average dog walk in the Beeches and provides plenty of space to ensure the health and mental wellbeing of your dogs. When off a lead, dogs must be kept under effective control - as has always been the case in the Beeches. However, in the area covered by order two dogs must be on a lead at all times.

How were the 'on' and 'off-lead' areas decided on?

The on-lead area had to be of sufficient size to achieve a balance between the needs of dog walkers and non-dog walkers. There also had to be an obvious boundary between areas where dogs could be walked on or off-leads so the internal roads were chosen to mark this. With the current layout of on-lead and off-lead areas, the vast majority of dog walkers can arrive in an off-lead area and then decide if they want to stay in that area or walk in the on-lead area.

My dog is full of energy and needs to run around, what should I do?

The same rules apply under PSPOs as existed beforehand; dogs must be under effective control at all times. This means in sight at all times and returning immediately when called or on a lead. If you can follow this rule you can walk your dog off a lead in area three, which is 220 acres and includes the areas where most people arrive at the site.

My dog is well behaved - does it still apply to me?

Yes, the PSPOs apply to all dog walkers across the entire site. This is the only way that it can be easily and fairly enforced.

I am an elderly dog walker with a disability so cannot use a lead, what do I do?

There are still 220 acres where your dog can be off lead, as long as it is under effective control; the average dog walk on the Beeches covers 75 acres. Registered guide dogs are excluded from many of the PSPO requirements.

Public Spaces Protection Orders consultation

​Burnham Beeches carried out a consultation on how dogs are controlled at the National Nature Reserve.

The City Corporation sought views from visitors by use of a visitor survey(4.5MB) followed by a request for people to write, by letter or email, to the City of London Corporation at the Burnham Beeches Office, expressing their views. Following the public consultation, the Superintendent of Burnham Beeches submitted a report (379KB) to the Epping Forest and Commons Committee with the outcome of the public consultation process. The report was approved unanimously.

A report which reviewed the impact of DCOs (250KB) since their introduction in 2014 was submitted to, and approved by, the Epping Forest and Commons Committee (EFCC) in January 2017. The January 2017 report also has an which reviewed the impact of DCOs since their introduction in 2014 was submitted to, and approved by, the Epping Forest and Commons Committee (EFCC) in January 2017. The January 2017 report also has a summary data and interpretation (804KB) which illustrates the figures and information contained within. An additional report, also submitted in January 2017, considered the future options (166KB) for DCOs at Burnham Beeches.

A formal notice advising members of the public about the intention to extend PSPOs (123KB) at Burnham Beeches has been placed on this web page, and was posted on site and in local newspapers on 1 May 2017.

The team at Burnham Beeches have been recording dog related incidents for about the last 15 years. The PDFs below show incidents recorded between January 2014 and February 2017. For reasons of data protection, some information has been removed.

Data for 2014 (723KB)

Data from 2015 to 2016 (1.7MB)

Data from 2016 to 2017 (397KB)


Notifications