DOG WALKING ON THE RAILWAY LAND
We Love Our Furry Friends
Well behaved dogs are welcome on the nature reserve. Their walkers are a friendly part of the community of people who love and help take care of the Railway Land because they know it so well.
They often act as our ‘eyes and ears’, noticing changes or issues first.
Please bear in mind these simple steps help your furry friends enjoy this beautiful wild space while minimising their impact on the important ecosystems we have here.
The ecology of the site is shaped heavily by water systems fed by the Ouse and Winterbourne stream - these give us the amazing habitats of wet woodland, reedbeds and wetland meadows. We are lucky to have significant species of flora and fauna that rely on water habitats.
Keeping your dogs out of the water is the most important step you can take to help us preserve this.
Frogbit and water crowfoot thrive in the ditches but are easily ripped out if dogs enter the water. Aquatic invertebrates such as water beetles, dragonflies and damselflies, amphibians such as frogs and newts, and the grass snakes who eat them, all use the water for refuge, feeding, mating and laying eggs and can easily be disturbed by dogs. Beautiful birds use the water and associated reed and woodland habitats to nest and feed, including kingfishers, reed buntings and warblers. Birds can abandon their nests or move permanently elsewhere when disturbed by dogs. Silt, sediment and mud disturbance from dogs entering and stirring up the water also has a big impact on all of these species – murky supports far less wildlife than undisturbed water. As with any natural system there is a delicate balance and disturbing one part of it causes impacts right up the food chain.
Azolla is an invasive water plant that can completely smother native aquatic wildlife. We have had Azolla in the ditches and managed to get on top of it using azolla weevils, a harmless, biological control. Azolla weevil’s are incredibly expensive and eat up small budgets that could be used so much more positively. Dogs going into water spread Azolla like wildfire – Please support our efforts to control this plant and help our native wildlife to thrive!
Poo There is a poo bin on the main path leading from the Linklater Pavilion to the Heart of Reeds. Needless to say, please scoop your poop!
Letting Us Know
If you see something that worries or intrigues you whilst walking your dog, please let us know. The site is owned and managed by Lewes District Council. You can contact the Lewes District Council Specialist Advisors for Downlands and Reserves on 01273 471600 or email Rangers@Lewes-Eastbourne.gov.uk. You can contact the Railway Land Wildlife Trust on 01273 477101