We have received a number of reports of people being bowled over by dogs running past them on narrow paths. Clearly this could have severe consequences on a cliff-top path. Please respect other path users by ensuring that your dog is kept under close control.
Dogs are a legal accompaniment for people using Public Rights of Way as long as they are kept under close control. However there is no legal requirement for landowners to make provisions for dog use. On bridleways the provision for horses will also serve for dogs but on footpaths owners often encounter stiles which can be a barrier to their dogs particularly with larger animals.
Councils are increasingly replacing stiles with gates on Public Footpaths in accordance with the least restrictive access policy. However, because in law the maintenance liability of these structures normally rests with the landowner and because landowner cooperation is important to the continued maintenance of the path, Councils are generally reluctant to force such changes against the landowners wishes.
Field boundaries are intended to constrain the movements of farm animals. People creating gaps in fences so that their dogs can get through may also be allowing stock to escape. This is particularly true of lambs which can then become separated from their mothers. People who do this are committing criminal damage and by alienating landowners can make future work on the path more difficult for Council to achieve.
On the Ceredigion Coast Path the Council has been undertaking an extensive programme to replace stiles with gates such that now only a few remain. However a single stile can still present a considerable obstacle and may prevent an entire section of the path from being negotiable by your dog. Currently the path between Aberystwyth and Ynys-las is the only section of the Ceredigion Coast Path that is completely stile free.
One of the greatest concerns for landowners who have a Public Rights of Way on their property is that of dogs. Not only are dogs associated with worrying sheep but also cattle attacks on humans can be triggered by the presence of a dog in the field. In the case of cattle then, the legal requirement to keep the dog under close control can lead to the dog owner becoming a victim. Cattle attacks occurring on Public Rights of Way are most frequently the result of a cow perceiving a dog as a risk to her calf and do not require the dog to approach the calf or even be in close proximity. Please act responsibly when the path crosses land grazed by livestock and ensure that your dog does not worry farm animals.
Many sections of the route cross important habitat and the wildlife which lives there is both dependent on the area and easily disturbed. Disturbance represents a loss of hard acquired energy, the accumulation of which is essential to keep the animal alive during lean periods. Disturbance during the breeding season can have immediate catastrophic consequences for the young. Please respect wildlife and keep your dog under close control at all times.