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Dogs at Jeskyns - Discussion Summary

Dog Dialogue posterThe discussion about Dogs at Jeskyns ran from 20th January to 21st February 2014.

The now closed discussion is still available to view online.


  • The main discussion page was viewed a total of 3,452 times, approximately 1,491 of them unique. The latter figure is a good indicator of the number of people who followed the conversation while the dialogue was open.
  • Of the people who visited the discussion homepage 88% went on to view other pages within the dialogue (e.g. posted ideas) indicating a high level of interest.
  • A total of 137 ideas were posted which in return received over 500 comments.
  • To focus discussions, 3 weeks into the Dialogue, the Forestry Commission published Summary so far – 11th February 2014 detailing the 5 main solutions identified by participants. 40 individual forum users commented upon these 5 solutions.
  • 15 written letters or email responses were received during the Dialogue process.

Much time and effort was committed to the careful reading and interpretation of all ideas which enabled us to understand better the viewpoints of different visitors and to draw some general consensus. These findings have been collated into this summary document.

Key Conclusions:

The creation of a dog on lead zone was the most popular solution identified throughout the discussion. However many participants suggested that the zone should either be smaller than originally proposed by the Forestry Commission or have time restrictions.

Many forum users requested access to a hard surfaced trail to and within the off lead areas.

Many participants identified the need to encourage and enforce responsible behaviour on site by increasing site staff presence and by promotion of the Jeskyns Dog Code.

Proposed Actions on site:

1. Creation of a new dogs on leads zone

A dog on lead zone will be introduced at Jeskyns and will come into force from 1st July 2014. The zone will be smaller than the original proposal and include the south car park kissing-gate, the café and the route along which the main children’s play areas are located. A map of the zone can be viewed here: jeskyns map april 2014.pdf 5mb

The dogs off leads zone will be accessible from the car park via a hard surface trail.

The on leads zone has been reduced in size to include the café and children’s play areas and the dog on lead rule will remain in force at all times. We ask that all dog owners co-operate so all visitors can be sure that if they use this area they will not encounter any free running dogs at any time.

The new zone will be implemented on a trial basis for 12 months and will be reviewed in June 2015. Following this review, the decision on whether to introduce further measures will be based upon whether the zoning has had a positive impact on dog owner behaviour and the number of related incidents and complaints.

2. Increased Site Ranger Presence

A new Assistant Ranger has been recruited to provide greater site presence at Jeskyns this year. They will assist the current Community Ranger with implementing the new dog zone, promotion of the Jeskyns Dog Code and general community engagement activities on site. 

Discussion Promotion:

The discussion was widely promoted via the following channels:

1. A poster promoting the Dialogue was posted on site and in local shops and notice boards while the discussion was live.
2. Leaflets were distributed on site, via local shops and from Shorne Woods Country Park.
3. We directly contacted the following groups, notifying them of the discussion when it commenced, providing a poster, discussion link and background information: 

  • Jeskyns Dog Club Members
  • Cobham Primary School
  • Gravesham Rights of Way Committee
  • Cyclopark
  • Cobham and Shorne Countryside Partnership
  • Cycle Touring Club
  • 4 x Local Livery Yards
  • Gravesend Road Runners
  • Istead Rise and Ifield Harriers
  • Istead Rise Scouts
  • Cobham Brownies

4. At the start of the discussion a press release was sent to four local newspapers.

Last updated: 29th February 2016

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