Dog lovers are angry after being banned from letting their pets roam free in woodland on the outskirts of Clitheroe.
They were amazed to find signs had suddenly appeared without warning, fixed at the entrances of Cross Hills Quarry woodland trail, which is looked after by the Wildlife Trust.
The pictorial signs indicate that dog fouling is not allowed – which no-one is arguing against – but also that owners must keep dogs on leads.
“It’s the only place around here where it’s safe to let dogs off the lead,” said Carole Entwistle (58), of Linden Drive, Clitheroe, who takes her retriever Harry there two or three times a week.
“It’s only sensible that you can’t let dogs off the lead in fields because of the sheep, or in parks where children will play, but the quarry area is woodland.”
Carole wrote a Letter to the Editor, published in last week’s Clitheroe Advertiser, blaming Ribble Valley Borough Council for the new signs.
Some of the dogs are characters that we recognise, and the social side of dog walking is obviously important to peopleReserves Officer
However, the council has pointed out that it is not responsible for Cross Hills Quarry and Carole accepts she was mistaken.
Carole added: “We’ve nothing against the Wildlife Trust, but for them to insist on dogs being kept on the lead is going over the top.”
Another dog owner upset by the ban is Pam Kent (62), who runs Valley Pet Services from her home in Croasdale Drive.
She said: “It won’t affect my dog-walking business because I don’t take customers’ dogs there, but I love taking my own there for a run.
“Responsible dog owners pick up after their dogs, it’s only the irresponsible ones who need dealing with.”
Kim Coverdale, East Lancashire reserves officer for The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, said the signs were put up in response to excessive dog fouling.
She added: “The majority of dog owners at Cross Hill keep their dogs under control and clean up after their dogs. We meet and speak to many dog owners and like the fact that they are using our reserves to exercise themselves and their dogs. Some of the dogs are characters that we recognise, and the social side of dog walking is obviously important to people.
“The reserve is also used by school groups and young families and it is distressing and a health hazard for children to go home with dog faeces on their clothing or belongings.
“It is unfortunate that the signs are confusing and upsetting to responsible dog owners. The signs may be new but this situation is not new.
“You can report dog fouling to me on 07841 996 722.”