Aspley Off Lead!

Recent news

Feb 2019 Update: 6 Months After the Ban

Thanks for supporting this cause. A few things have happened since the petition started:

• Most of the ‘offending signs’ have been taken down – though this does NOT mean that Bedford Estates has changed its position regarding its unjustified ban
• Misleading information on the Greensand Trust website has been taken down (referring to undisclosed incidents and threats to wildlife, and to the need for ‘consistency of policy’)
• “Link paths” have been proposed to ensure that off-lead access is established from every entrance to the nearest public right of way
• Partly in response to this, we have adopted a code of conduct for dog-walkers:

o Clean up after your dog: used ‘poo bags’ must be taken home or placed in bins
o Put your dog on a lead in the car parks, and around children, bikes and horses
o Keep dogs under control - any dog with unreliable behaviour must be on a lead, especially if near a cycle trail or bridleway
o Do not walk along cycle trails; take care crossing any designated cycle trail (marked by red-topped posts)
o The maximum number of dogs to be walked is 4, always within sight, and only on permitted paths, public footpaths and bridleways
o Ensure your dog is readily and legally identifiable, and micro-chipped. Keep your dog within sight at all times
o Do not let your dog approach children or chase cyclists, horses, wildlife or others

• We have been told to expect (for comment) proposals for revised signage at the woods, and will canvass wider opinion when that happens - as we did on the code of conduct and on the link-paths proposals
• We have been advised of intentions to establish an £8m car-park (800 cars), gym and cycle centre on the outskirts of the woods, and will encourage a response to this when plans come into the public domain
• Representations have been made to both the councils that together contribute £50,000 of public funds annually for the benefit of the Duke’s estate, to promote public access and conservation
• Local papers and local radio have taken up our story, building on critical coverage of deer-shooting jaunts at one of the other estates owned by Bedford Estates

Whilst there is some encouraging progress, the ban on off-lead dogs remains substantially in place. It is as unreasonable and unenforceable now as it ever was. It is at odds with the ‘best practice’ advice of multiple national bodies. It is also at odds with what was originally proposed by the Aspley Woods User Group.

We still welcome all support to secure sensible change. For example:

• See the links on our website (Aspley Off Lead) under “Useful Stuff” - there are lots of ways to contact key influencers and decision-makers
• See our Facebook page (FB Aspley Off Lead) – look under “Files” for template letters to key influencers and decision-makers
• Bedford Estates also own Woburn Abbey, Woburn Safari Park, Woburn Deer Park, Woburn Golf Club and The Woburn Hotel: do they deserve your support?
• Encourage others to sign the petition: every little helps! If you would like to do more to support the cause, please let us know on

There is a rising trend towards greater constraints on dogs around the country. Whilst we unequivocally support responsible dog ownership and handling, much of the hostility to dogs is irrational and counterproductive. When your kids or grandkids ask you “How come there’s nowhere for dogs around here”...please make sure you can say that you did what you could!

Thanks again for your support – we’ll keep you posted on key developments.

Aspley Off Lead

Aspley OffLead
2 years ago