New dog free zone created in area of Highland woodland

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A secluded area of Culloden Wood has been transformed into a dog-free zone to help combat the growing mess left by ‘selfish’ owners in the area.

The area, located 30 metres from the woods entrance on Tower Road, has been renamed Dugless Wood and is now completely fenced off from the surrounding area, with access gates located at either end of the site.

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The work, which took about 18 months, was undertaken by the Forestry Commission after concerns were raised by locals in relation to the level of mess left by irresponsible dog owners.

It’s hoped the area will remain a dog-free zone that school groups and families can use for outdoor learning and natural play, without the fear of becoming exposed to deposits left by four-legged pooches.

Forest Enterprise Scotland spokesman said: “We very much see this a positive move of making safe and clean a space for education and family activities. What we have done is fence off a relatively small area of woodland which excludes dogs.

“However, dogs are very much welcome throughout the rest of the woodland but we still ask dog walkers to pick up after their dogs.  We know that one of the main things that the general public would like to see is more dog walkers taking responsibility for their dog’s mess – it’s not rocket science.

”We hope children and families enjoy the new space.”

Foresters have thinned back the trees and installed a number of log benches and stump seats on the site as well as fire pits.

Ian Williams, chairman of Balloch Community Council, welcomed the project but said it was a shame the actions of others had led to the area being fenced off.

He said: “It’s a shame that they have had to do this. It does give parents the confidence to let their children round around in a relatively secluded area free of dog mess. They can run around without fear of them falling into the wet ground or falling over into dogs mess.

“It’s a safe area for them to experience the land, trees, bugs and earth and go into the area and get mucky. We welcome this but it’s because of careless and selfish dog owners they have had to do this sort of thing – but it’s better than having your kids in it.”