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Local Talkback
Talkback is for the residents and businesses in Liphook to voice their views and opinions about local issues and events.

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Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (4th Jun 2019 @ 18:05:54)

Passfield Enclosed Common

Please be aware that the Enclosed Common, which is accessible through gates along Hollywater Road, has been re-fenced in a totally inferior way.

The previous fence was a type of rectangular metal grid which allowed small creatures to get in [and out] but nothing more than rabbit size.

A few weeks ago, the fence was taken down. It was left down for numerous weeks and has now been replaced with two quite lethal rows of barbed wire at the top and two very open horizontal wires along the bottom.

If you walk your dogs there because it is enclosed, please be aware that they can walk almost straight out on to the road now.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (9th Jun 2019 @ 12:02:30)

We emailed the warden today as work seems to be wrapped up and we wanted some clarification.

Dear Chris

We're emailing to let you know how upset we are about all the barbed write going up around Passfield Enclosed Common and the lack of 'joining' to the gate entrances/exits.

I don't understand why the barbed wire is needed along the roadside at all? It will only injure the deer when they try to jump from one side to the other.

It seems that in places all 4 wires are barbed wire, which will also damage our dogs?

We have been walking the enclosed common for nearly 20 years because it gives us the security that our dogs can't get out - but with such huge gaps next to the gate posts, they can literally wander straight out onto the road next to the gate.

Also, the roadside fence has always been a rectangular mesh so that small creatures can get in and out - and it is now just a horizontal wire which our small dogs can walk straight out of.

We would appreciate your response

Best regards

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (11th Jun 2019 @ 18:40:50)


The fence is intended to keep the cows that will be grazing the common from escaping onto the road and as such it is fit for purpose. The previous fence also had two rows of barbed wire.

The rules for open access land are that “You must keep your dog on a lead no more than 2 metres long” see The new fence would therefore not present a problem to responsible dog walkers.

Passfield Common is a rare habitat that supports a range of endangered species and as such has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Site of Important Nature Conservation (SINC). We all have a duty to protect Passfield Common. The National Trust, who own the land, by implementing the conservation plan agreed with Natural England, which includes the restoration of low intensity grazing; and we, the general public, by observing the rules of SSSIs and Open Access Land.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Barb (11th Jun 2019 @ 22:14:43)

Dawn I’m sorry the fence does not meet your dog walking requirements. The fence is designed to keep the cattle in and allow other animals to move in and out freely. Obviously you have problems controlling your dog as you need a fenced area to walk it in but I don’t see the barbed wire as a issue unless your trying to climb over the fence. Final solution : if you don’t like it don’t walk there.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- A (11th Jun 2019 @ 22:20:11)

Quite agree Simon
Not to mention the ground nesting birds this time of year.
It's not an exercise paddock for dogs off leads. It's a wildlife haven.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (12th Jun 2019 @ 11:24:38)

I agree with all of your comments, but it is only fair to let people know that the fence they are relying on no longer exists - no?

The only reason we walk in, and appreciate, the enclosed common is that we have dogs. (I've never seen anyone in there that wasn't walking their dog). We also know that the only reason the enclosed common has been enclosed [historically] is that cattle have grazed there for generations.

However, the barbed wire fencing is not kind to animals at all - (in the same way as it is unkind to dogs and humans).

Regardless of it being a natural haven, it is only right to warn people who walk their dogs there - that they can currently run straight out onto the road. Despite it being a natural haven, people have been used to, and therefore have an expectation of, the protective fencing that has always existed (up until now).

It is also my point of view that deer who jump the fence to get across the road - an almost daily occurrence - are now going to have to negotiate two shiny rows of barbed wire.

Barbed wire does nothing to protect nature does it?

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- A (12th Jun 2019 @ 14:11:48)

Dogs should be kept on leads! Ground nesting birds

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (12th Jun 2019 @ 15:22:31)

There is a certain irony here.

Dawn has been one of the most vocal objectors to the proposal to build 69 houses off Lynchborough Rd. Under planning rules none of her arguments count; the ONLY argument that has to date prevented the development is that is in the buffer zone of a Special Protection Area (SPA), which is there to protect the habitat of three endangered species of bird: Nightjar, wood lark and Dartford warbler. The developer is arguing that the habitat on Passfield Common has become degraded, to the point that the protection should be removed. Dogs running off the lead represent the greatest cause to the decline in ground nesting bird numbers and the dog poo degrades heathland by adding nutrients that favour grass over heather.

It would be ironic indeed, if Dawn's dog killed off the last remaining pair of nightjars nesting on the common, thus removing the only obstacle to the development on Lynchborough Rd to which she so strongly objects.

Rather then complaining, Dawn might do better in her objection to the development by supporting the National Trust and Natural England in their efforts to improve the habitat on Passfield Common by being a responsible dog walker, keeping her dog on a short lead as required on SSSIs and open access areas and taking any dog poo home.

As mentioned before, the previous fence was topped with 2 rows of barbed wire and did not cause a single injury to deer. Replacing like for like should not be a problem. The stock netting that was there before served no environmental purpose but hindered the movement of wildlife and so had to be removed.

Barbed wire does a lot to protect nature as it enables the common to be grazed which is by far the best way to maintain the habitat. Without grazing the common would turn to woodland and the rare lowland heath habitat on which so many species depend would be lost. Lowland heathland is classed as a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan see By acting responsibly, supporting the conservation work of landowners and Natural England and following the rules for accessing SSSIs, we can all play our part in conserving this special habitat for wildlife and future generations.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Pete (12th Jun 2019 @ 16:42:28)

Before anyone else has a go at Dawn or dog walkers in general can I just point out the on lead rule regards ground nesting birds is 1st March to 31st July only.
That's all argue about the rest to your hearts content.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Jim (12th Jun 2019 @ 17:28:47)

Pete - at all times around livestock.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Pete (12th Jun 2019 @ 19:34:53)

Sorry thought that went without saying whereas the intricacies of seasons for particular activities may not be commonplace knowledge.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simple Simon (12th Jun 2019 @ 22:59:42)

Please lay off abusing Dawn. She is one of only a handful of people that actually used the enclosed common. I am surprised the use of cattle on our local commons is still continuing after the recent tragic events on Lynchmere common. All this does now is to deter people from walking in the countryside whether or not we have dogs.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- J (12th Jun 2019 @ 23:42:19)

I think NT do a good job and we should support them.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (13th Jun 2019 @ 14:23:54)

I also wholly support the NT and they have been doing a lot of work in the Passfield area in recent months, which has really improved the place.

I just happen to think that the replacement barbed wire and horizontal wire fencing is a poor substitute for what was there before and which stood for at least 20 years.

Also, it is totally possible to be against a housing development (because the plans don't provide enough car parking and which will cause immeasurable harm to the area) and also be of the opinion that barbed wire fencing around the Enclosed Common is not an improvement on what was there before.

In all the years we have lived here we have only ever seen dog walkers in this common - I have never seen local people coming to wander around and take in the beauty and diversity of it - so it seems a reasonable thing to do to raise awareness to those users that things have changed.

I realize that posting to let the dog walkers know that their dogs can now walk out into the road is, in some peoples minds, a reason to personally attack me - but really I don't see much point as you are only showing yourselves up.

FYI there hasn't been any cattle in the Enclosed Common for some time. We are hoping that soon there will be some more - we love them.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- dave (18th Jun 2019 @ 11:14:23)

Still a bit of a cheek, Dawn, complaining how a private landowner puts up a fence on their private land. Can we come along and complain about your fence lol

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (18th Jun 2019 @ 11:54:37)

I expect a fence to be there - a fence has always been there.

It is only because I expected the same level of fence/protection to exist that I posted in the 1st instance. I worried for all the dog walkers who might not know that the fence is gone and only wire exists now.

I can't believe the controversy this post has generated.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- J (19th Jun 2019 @ 07:44:24)

What did NT say?

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Bob (19th Jun 2019 @ 07:52:15)

You'll have your work cut out complaining about every farmer who uses that type of fence - its very common. Just keep your dog on a lead as you should and you'll be just fine.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Barb (19th Jun 2019 @ 11:06:36)

Dawn the common is not a dog walking common just for you, if you don't like it don’t walk there, you obviously can’t control your dog and it’s not the national trust responsibility to make sure you have a nice enclosed place to walk your dog. The problem I see is that anything that changes in liphook or Passfield dawn has to let us know how it affects her. Poor dawn, maybe the country is not or you try moving to city to give the national trust a break from your constant opinion.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- J (19th Jun 2019 @ 12:59:02)

There are at least 2 enclosed dog walking fields in the area where you can walk your dog safely for a cost of about £10 per hour. They're specifically designed for dog walkers so have proper fencing.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (19th Jun 2019 @ 13:28:12)

Dear everyone,

In posting to warn the limited users of the enclosed common (who are all dog walkers to my knowledge) I have clearly unleashed something horrible.

Please know that I am an avid supporter of the National Trust, have been a financial supporter and personal supporter for decades and know our local warden very well - on first name terms etc.

I love birds, I love nature, I love wildlife. I love cows. I love sheep. I also love dogs. I have no intention of causing harm to any animals.

My post was a warning to people, who like me, have been walking the common for the last few decades and didn't know about the change. Simple as that.

It is still possible to support the National Trust and admire all the work that they do but ALSO not be a fan of barbed wire - because it damages the deer when they jump over it. For the same reason, I am not a fan of tight horizontal wires which garrot them when they run into them at speed (rather than simply stop them like the previous fencing).

What would be really good is if people would comment on the actual nature of the post instead of flinging insults at the person who made the comment - oh hang on - I forgot this is Liphook talkback. . . . . . .

The only point that the original post raises is: - The fencing has changed - be careful as it is 'open' and your dogs can walk straight out.

Thank God, I've got a thick skin

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (19th Jun 2019 @ 15:13:13)

Dawn, The old fence was topped with barbed wire just like the new fence so in that regard it has not changed.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (20th Jun 2019 @ 10:10:06)


The problem with “be careful as it is 'open' and your dogs can walk straight out” is the implication that dogs can be off the lead which is a strict no-no in SSSI sites with ground-nesting birds.

With great sadness, I have to report that this year no woodlark have been seen on Passfield Common and the nightjars that have bred there in recent years have not returned, the most likely reason being people letting dogs off the lead during the breeding season. This is the main cause of the decline in ground-nesting bird population (see

If a dog gets within sight of a ground-nesting bird nest then the bird will fly off leaving its eggs vulnerable to being eaten by predators such as the crow. It only takes one person to let one dog off the lead just the once and the next generation of ground-nesting bird can be lost forever. Tragically that seems to have happened on Passfield Common.

There is however still one pair of nightjars on Conford Moor and if they manage to breed undisturbed then there is just a chance that two of their young will return to Passfield Common next year and we can continue to enjoy these spectacular birds.

The proposed housing development in Lynchborough Road was put on hold solely because of the threat it posed to the nightjar on and around Passfield Common, which is a protected species and whose habitat is protected under EU law. Without the nightjar there now, the developer is arguing that that no longer applies. It will be much more difficult to object next time around and so the development may well proceed.

I would ask everyone with a dog to respect the very special lowland heath habitat we have here and follow the rules of open access by keeping dogs on the lead, particularly during the breeding season.


Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- suzie (21st Jun 2019 @ 09:53:29)

Why do people have to make the person raising an issue be demonised?

I am glad that someone has raised the issue of the stock fencing being removed from the roadside.

Simon, you have some valid points, but dont agree that dogs are the reason some nesting birds are no there. I have seen Red Kites and Buzzards hovering over the area, and one flew out of an oak yesterday by Miniland Farm. These natural predators have increased in the area - so these too will cause ground birds to move on.

I understand grazing animals help keep the grasses down, but they too will cause much damage to the actual nests. Unless you train them not to walk over nests?

Also, foxes are natural predators and really enjoy sitting dinners.

Its all a balancing act, as you should know.

Barbed wire should be banned - no reason why its necessary. Its not to stop people accessing, as there are gates?? Is it to hurt cattle from reaching the grass on the other side, so they dont pull down the fence?

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (21st Jun 2019 @ 16:23:27)


I have no wish to demonize Dawn or anyone by reminding them of their responsibilities to respect the land and wildlife by following the rules of open access to a SSSI.

Of course you are right; we don’t know why that particular pair of nightjars are no longer with us and it might have been a natural predator as you say. However studies have shown that ground nesting bird number decline most where dogs are let off the lead (see Disturbed birds do not ‘move on’ as you say but rather leave their nests making the eggs vulnerable to predation principally be crows and thus there is no next generation. It is for this reason that law makers judged that the right balance between human access and wildlife protection was that dogs should be on a short lead on SSSI open access land during the breeding session. If we all behaved responsibly and followed that simple rule then we stand a chance of preserving what little wildlife we have left for future generations to enjoy.

With regards to barbed wire, it is there to stop the cattle from wandering onto neighbouring properties or the road. The old fence was topped with barbed wire in just the same way as the new one and so that aspect has not changed. The only thing that is different is that the stock netting has largely been replaced with horizontal wire to allow badgers and similar wildlife to pass more freely. Passfield Common is owned by the National Trust and at the 2018 AGM, NT members voted 23,009 to 12,554 in favour of continued use of barbed wire. We may not always agree with democracy but we have to accept its outcome.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- suzie (21st Jun 2019 @ 21:26:46)


I know that barbed wire is also along the rear boundary, and has been for a while. if the NT want to use such harsh fence control, be it their responsibility when animals have chests ripped open when fences fall into decline, as all so often it does. They use it as you say to stop cows gravitating onto other property, as it hurts them. Glad NT are are so forward thinking in using such harmful material.... Hope we dont get any strong winds and branches fall and snaps leaving it dangling or at worse pulled down to a small animal height! hate to think of the injuries it can cause. I am not only pointing out the NT but all landowners that use it!

i also find it surprising that a perfectly good fence was removed and replaced/ When for years it was the adopted preference. Suppose we wait another 5-10 years for a new voted policy. Hay Ho life....

You may not have demonised Dawn, but others have enjoyed playing a part!

I seem to recall a number of residents were so concerned about the welfare of the one solitary cow over the winter, they set up mercy missions ?

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- AJ (22nd Jun 2019 @ 14:50:30)

Firstly, people keep saying Passfield Common is an SSSI . When I checked SSSI Sites in Hampshire, Passfield Common is not listed.

I would agree with the previous post - there are foxes - who I see quite openly crossing the Common during the day plus a lot of air borne predators. Also the NT sprayed a lot of the bracken when the last Highland Cow died a year ago , so there are large tracts of land with just chopped up dead bracken, so less cover now.

I know for a fact that a pair of Night Jar were photgraphed just off the Common last year. The NT were made aware and have seen said photographs.

Regarding the last of the Highland Cow on the Common - after much prompting by me (backed up by the NT) his owner fed him sporadically. When he was left without food I took him hay, etc twice a day until the grass eventually came through in the Spring. Unfortunately I was unable to provide water during the heatwave and resulting drought. As mentioned above he died a year ago this weekend.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Jen (22nd Jun 2019 @ 18:13:24)

Passfield Common is part of the Woolmer Forest SSSI, I think. So, it probably wouldn't be listed separately.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (23rd Jun 2019 @ 21:31:01)

It is unit 38 of the Woolmer Forest SSSI

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Bob (23rd Jun 2019 @ 21:34:24)

Was the cow a he AJ

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (24th Jun 2019 @ 14:11:38)

Yes, AJ took food for the poor emaciated cow on a regular basis - the poor thing was in such a poor state. We felt very sorry for him and contacted the NT about a few times.
He seemed such a sad character and would literally come to say hello whenever you went near - he was starving half the time with no water to drink.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- bob (24th Jun 2019 @ 14:34:43)

OFGS Cows are female not male, she not he

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- J (24th Jun 2019 @ 14:36:37)

Did NT reply to you Dawn? If so what did they say?

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (24th Jun 2019 @ 14:57:52)

The cow was the last of her herd and died happily of old age in open countryside, a much better life than most farm animals enjoy. The cow was thin because she was very old. Most of her ilk would have been slaughtered by then.

There is plenty of food on the common to support several cows. The cows are there to graze the common in order to maintain the heathland habitat, so they should be left to graze. There is also plenty of water on the common including a mains fed water trough. The cows were not owned by the NT but by a commoner exercising their historic Commoner's Rights to graze their cows. That is after all what a common is.

We can all do our part to help preserve the common's special habitat by:
* Supporting the NT in what they are doing
* Following the rules of access: ie keeping dogs on leads during ground nesting bird season and taking home any dog poo.
* Leaving any cows there to get on with their grazing.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- bob (24th Jun 2019 @ 15:17:39)

"literally come to say hello" !!!

Wow a talking cow - lol

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Tracy (24th Jun 2019 @ 18:07:36)

perhaps dawn hasn't posted it because she didn't like what they said

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- k (25th Jun 2019 @ 10:24:43)

Dawn what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - I remember making a perfectly legitimate & fair comment some time ago - you attacked me brutally - - it stopped me posting for at least a year - lets just appreciate people have differing views sometimes - but sorry you are feeling attacked it's not pleasant.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dave (25th Jun 2019 @ 10:51:06)

Dawn, your earlier observation " What would be really good is if people would comment on the actual nature of the post instead of flinging insults at the person who made the comment - oh hang on - I forgot this is Liphook talkback. . . . ."

Not just Talkback, its all over the mad old internet!! Fake news, fake reviews, lies, lies and more damn lies, malicious and misguided comments. And we're all addicted! I have vowed many times to come off FB, Liphook Rants, Talkback etc but here I am again. We all need therapy

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Suze (25th Jun 2019 @ 11:02:54)

Re : k
I also can repeat your sentiment.
Dawn lashed out at my other half and even went as far as being horrible directly to his posting,all quite unescessary and unhelpful.
And continued on that thread to stir the pot.
He too did not post for more than a year.......robust moderation required.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (25th Jun 2019 @ 11:43:36)

I suppose it’s just about the ability to stick to the topic raised isn’t it.
Posting to warn people of a possible danger to their dogs has led people who are determined to turn it into a conversation about an entirely different subject to speak only about their topic rather than the topic raised.

I’m sure that if I started the thread ‘danger of dogs wandering into the road’ on another day it could fill up a whole thread on an entirely different topic other than nesting birds, maybe how dangerous driving kills dogs....or......anything is possible.

The NT did respond, I’ll try to find it, along the lines of preferring to have no fences at all and instead have cattle grids at the end of the road - so that drivers would have to get used to livestock in the road. Like the New Forest

I don’t feel ‘got at’ or anything, I just keep being surprised that a post to warn of a potential danger keeps being turned into something else.

I never feel as if I have treated anyone with ‘brutality’ unless perhaps it was a response to the same? I always feel that I answer without any Ad Hominem attack and speak to the topic. I generally love to properly debate an issue and can do so Ad Infinitum. I very rarely take any personal offence, particularly if I’m dealing with a nameless pseudonym. However, that said, if you have ever felt attacked by me I do offer my sincere and genuine apologies.

Meanwhile- if your dogs wander out on to the road.......

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (25th Jun 2019 @ 13:05:42)


I think it might have been better if your original post had encouraged dog walkers to keep their dogs on the lead as they should in environmentally sensitive SSSIs and open access areas. Dogs on the lead would not wander off onto the road and hence there would not be a problem with the new open fence.

BTW Passfield Common is home to adders and is infested with deer ticks which can carry the dreaded Lyme disease. Another reason to keep dogs on the lead.

A cattle grid is an excellent idea and might help drivers keep to the speed limit as uniquely it goes up from 30 to 40 when entering Passfield - oops I've gone off topic.


Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (25th Jun 2019 @ 19:26:48)

Here is the NTs reply. I have also asked them for clarification about dog walking.

There has always been two strands of barbed wire above the netting. The far side of the Hollywater grazing area used to have 4 strands of barbed wire, top to bottom, without any netting. We have now changed this to 2 strands of barbed on top and 2 strands of plain wire below which means that wildlife (small creatures, deer etc) can pass through the lower plain wire section more easily without coming into contact with the upper barbed wire section. This arrangement is now also being installed where the fencing is being repaired and the old netting cannot be reused.

As the site is grazed with cattle it is vital from a safety perspective that the livestock do not get onto the adjacent roads hence the use of barbed wire in the previous fencing and in the new fencing.

Unfortunately, back in the 1960s when most of the traditional grazing stopped because of the increase in traffic, it would have been better if the local authority had installed cattle grids where the roads enter the common (as they did on several commons) and then the commoners could have continued to graze the whole common, drivers would have been used to idea of seeing livestock on the roads from time to time (road speeds would have been lower – possibly!) and the habitat management (conservation grazing) on the common would have remained optimal for wildlife. The neighbours of the common would have had to fence and gate against the common (which is what they had done for centuries) to prevent animals getting into their gardens etc – like the New Forest today, but a mini version of it.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Dawn Hoskins (26th Jun 2019 @ 20:52:14)

Just for the sake of completeness. I had a long chat with our NT warden today who assures that the fences will soon meet the gate posts.

He also said that the people putting in for houses on the Passfield Business Site are trying to insinuate that the common should not be an SSSI site. They will want it downgraded to allow for housing there, so are really hoping that no birds (of any kind) are found.

He confirmed that there is not a ‘dogs on leads’ rule at Passfield Enclosed Common as long as the dogs are sticking to the paths in areas where there is heather and long grasses etc

He is hoping that the Night Jars that were on the Enclosed Common are still there and we have agreed to go out and listen for them [with recorders].

The NT is dead against a large housing development so close to the SSSI for many reasons including lots of domestic cats being so close, but also the increased footfall. They will vigorously fight against any development being within 400m of an SSSI

He also says that if the family with commoner’s rights can’t bring cattle back, then they will bring in another grazier as this helps to manage the land properly.

Re: Passfield Enclosed Common
- Simon (30th Jun 2019 @ 20:20:55)

Notwithstanding what Chris may or may not have said to Dawn or how she interpreted it, I would remind all dog walkers of their moral, civic and legal responsibility to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds or their habitat during the breeding season:

1) Scientific studies have shown that the decline in ground-nesting birds is most pronounced where dogs are let off the lead. Ground-nesting bids are easily disturbed by dogs which causes them to fly off leaving their eggs vulnerable to attack by crows. (see

2) The ‘dogs on leads’ rule on sites where ground-nesting birds are nesting is part of the Countryside Code (see

3) The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 Schedule 2 Paragraph 4 states “During the period beginning with 1st March and ending with 31st July in each year, section2(1) does not entitle a person to be on any land if he takes, or allows to enter or remain, any dog which is not on a short lead. “ (see and

4) The same applies in National Parks: “On open access land you'll need to use a short lead, no more than 2-metres long:
• Between March 1–July 31 when rare moorland birds and other ground-nesting birds lay their eggs on the ground
• Near farm animals – all year round. Sheep are particularly sensitive to dogs and many footpaths cross grazing land
• If you cannot rely on your dog’s obedience”

5) Hampshire Countryside Service says “To protect farm animals and ground-nesting birds, this general right of access is conditional on walkers’ dogs being kept on a fixed length lead, of no more than 2 metres long, between 1 March to 31 July each year, and at any time in the vicinity of livestock.” See

6) The National Trust rule for Passfield Common is “dogs under strict control” (see which means ‘at heel’ and so effectively as good as on a short lead. Owners who, by their own admission, cannot control their dogs sufficiently from running out on to the road should obviously put their dogs on a lead to comply.

7) Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 say it is an offence for any person to disturb the fauna in any SSSI, fine up to £20,000 see

8) Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 gives special penalties to anyone disturbing the Woodlark, which used to nest where you walk your dog. See

Responsible dog walkers who follow the Countryside Code are of course welcome and do no harm. But to flout the Countryside Code and then to encourage others to do the same in open forum is a tad irresponsible and will inevitably further the decline of ground-nesting birds, denying future generations from seeing these amazing birds.

It also plays directly into the hands of the developer who, as Dawn says, is seeking to delist Passfield Common as an SSSI due to the disappearance of the nightjar and woodlark, the most likely cause of which is dog disturbance.

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