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Hundreds of visitors each day flock to Jeskyns, a new 360-acre Community Woodland situated just south of the A2 in Cobham. Fresh air, rolling countryside, varied wildlife, challenging play features and interesting artwork make it the perfect place to exercise or relax, to socialise or find solitude, to investigate or simply contemplate.
Recently however, some inconsiderate visitors with dogs have been upsetting the peace and harmony and angering other visitors to this popular Forestry Commission site. Increasing numbers of complaints about dog fouling, uncontrolled dogs and inconsiderate dog owners have been arriving on the desk of Denise Bird, the Jeskyns Ranger.
"Jeskyns is a great place for visitors with dogs and we welcome them with open arms," says Denise.
"However, we urge people to remember that it is not just a dog walking park. It is a very special place for both people and wildlife. Visitors with dogs, must ensure that their pets are well controlled at all times and do not upset other visitors or wildlife on site."
In response to the recent flurry of complaints the Forestry Commission has drawn up the Jeskyns Four-Paw Code, in which visitors with dogs are requested to:
- Always clean up their dog's mess.
- Always ensure their dog is in sight.
- Never let their dog approach people, other dogs or horses uninvited.
- Ensure their dog will come back to them when called.
"Being a dog owner myself, I hate the fact that the actions of a few are giving all dog owners a bad name. We ask that visitors with dogs not only keep a check on their own dogs, but also that they report any incidents to us. That way we can try to target the perpetrators and ensure that Jeskyns remains a friendly and welcoming place for all visitors, with or without dogs."
To convey the message of responsible dog ownership to all Jeskyns visitors, the Forestry Commission will be launching a new leaflet and poster campaign in the early spring. They are also in the process of installing a new dog free picnic area and a new fenced dog training area.
Visitors are also encouraged to attend the Jeskyns Pet Pit Stops, which are held 5-6 times a year. Aimed at promoting the responsible dog ownership message, these informal events offer free dog training sessions and behaviour advice as well as the opportunity to discuss any issues with Jeskyns staff. The next one is scheduled for Wednesday 17 February.
If you want to report an incident or have a comment to make about these or any other issues regarding Jeskyns, please contact, tel 01474 825118, email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.forestry.gov.uk/jeskyns
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for the protection and expansion of Britain’s forests and woodlands. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For further information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk
Jeskyns is a 360 acre green space managed by the Forestry Commission. Opened in July 2007, it comprises of new woodland plantings, wildflower meadows, orchards and ponds. Situated between Cobham and Gravesend it is open to the public 365 days a year. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/jeskyns
Chris Johnson, Forestry Commission England Press Officer, tel on 01223 346034, email email@example.comDenise Bird, Jeskyns Ranger, Forestry Commission, tel: 01474 825118, email firstname.lastname@example.org