Cornwall Council amended the rules of their countywide dog ban in November 2019, after holding various meetings and public surveys around the Public Space Protection Orders. In these surveys, the council listened to a wide variety of groups and opinions about the old ban. As a result, they amended the Cornwall dog ban and have made far more beaches accessible to dogs year round. There are of course some rules surrounding dogs and beaches, particularly in high season and at peak times. However, if you can be flexible about the times of day you visit, you’ll find far more beaches are dog friendly in Cornwall in summer!

Public Space Protection Orders (or PSPOs for short) are designed to combat various nuisances or problems associated with an area. They’re generally enforced and maintained by your local authority, in this case it’s Cornwall Council. There are a wide range of PSPOs used by local authorities, including prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on highstreets or local parks and of course restrictions associated with dogs on beaches and playgrounds. The main reason Cornwall has PSPOs on many of its beaches, is to combat fouling and ensure areas maintain their cleanliness. However, as we all know, many dog owners are responsible and always pick up and take their mess away with them to dispose of properly! Public Space Protection Orders are reviewed every few years via public meetings and surveys to ensure the PSPOs remain effective.

Everything You Need to Know About the Cornwall Dog Ban | The Cornish Dog
Woody and Foster Dog Jasper at Watergate Bay, Newquay

What are the New Dog Ban Rules in Cornwall?

As I mentioned, the Cornwall Dog Ban has relaxed. Whereas before many of the county’s beaches were off limits to dog owners entirely between Easter Sunday and 1st October each year, now many are only restricted between certain times of day. This means dogs and their owners can still enjoy their favourite beaches year round – you just need to be aware of the timings!

There are now three variations of the dog ban to look out for in Cornwall. These run between either:

  • 15th May to 30th September between 10am and 6pm
  • 1st July to 31st August between 10am and 6pm
  • All year round 24/7 (though this one only affects a handful of beaches in Hayle thankfully!)

You can find a full list of the rules via the Cornwall Council website, which goes into detail about specific beaches across the county. However, as you can see from the points above, aside from a minute number of beaches that I can count on my hand, dogs are now welcome on most beaches year round (so long as you visit in the morning or evening!) Seeing as a lot of dog owners, particularly people who live locally, tend to walk their dogs around their working hours, this is an ideal compromise. It also means in summer dogs are still welcome on beaches in the evenings, which tend to be longer but also cooler. Hopefully this version of the Cornwall dog ban will play its part in preventing dogs being exercised excessively during heatwaves…

Crantock Beach | The Cornish Dog
Cornish Kensa at Porthkidney Sands, Hayle

What is a Blue Flag Beach?

Beaches that have a longer ban, starting in May and ending in September/October, tend to be due to their Blue Flag or Seaside Award Status. The Blue Flag Awards are one of the most recognisable voluntary awards for beaches worldwide. In order to adhere to the awards criteria, beaches need to adhere to a variety of environmental, educational, safety and accessibility rules. Therefore the Cornwall Dog Ban is in place for longer at these beaches!

At the time of writing Cornwall has 8 Blue Flag beaches. These include Porthtowan, Gyllyngvase in Falmouth, Porthmeor in St. Ives, Widemouth Bay in Bude (though there is a separate section that is dog friendly all year round at Widemouth) and Trevone Beach near Padstow. Seaside Award status beaches include Sennen Beach, Crackington Haven, Carbis Bay and Perranporth to name a few. Remember, as before, all of Cornwall’s beaches that are affected by the dog ban will have plenty of signage explaining the rules and timings. You can usually find these signs as you approach the beaches from main car parks, or on nearby streets!

Everything You Need to Know About the Cornwall Dog Ban | The Cornish Dog
Woody at Crantock Beach, Newquay

What About the Old Dog Friendly Beaches?

As with the old beach ban, the new rules only apply to certain beaches in Cornwall. This means places that were previously unaffected, such as Crantock Beach in Newquay or Nansidwell in Falmouth will remain dog friendly year round.  This also means beaches that were split, with a dog friendly and non-dog friendly section, will remain. Areas such as Widemouth Bay in Bude or Gwithian in Hayle have adequate space to walk dogs year round, especially at low tide. The new rules only apply where the old rules did!

Overall I think the new changes to the Cornwall dog ban are promising. I think they’re a fair compromise for the majority of beachgoers. It’s important to remember that not everyone loves dogs, nor wants to share a beach with them. So, whenever you’re visiting Cornwall’s glorious beaches, remember to keep your dog under control, especially around small children, other dogs, BBQs and picnics!

Hannafore Beach | The Cornish Dog
Hannafore Beach, Looe

What’s your favourite dog friendly beach in Cornwall?

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