New signs for East Devon beach after friction between horse riders and dog walkers

PUBLISHED: 10:03 22 January 2019

Horses riding on Exmouth beach. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Horses riding on Exmouth beach. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Alex Walton

"We would really like all users to be respectful of one another, to act responsibly and to enjoy the beach, allowing space for each other's activities."

New signs are being put up on an East Devon beach after friction between horse riders and dog walkers following an incident on the beach.

Police are currently appealing for information to find the owner of a dog which allegedly attacked a horse on Exmouth Beach and the Journal has been contacted by a dog walker claiming horses are a nuisance.

Karen Fielder, from Exmouth, contacted the Journal after the dog attack story broke claiming the horses scare her dogs and leave ‘mess’ behind on the beach.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t put grenades in your recycling’ - Devon County Council warning

“I have walked my two rescue doggies on Exmouth Beach for nearly three years now, sometimes I take my grandchildren on that walk too,” said Karen.

“Unfortunately those walks are quite often spoilt by either the mess the horses leave behind or by the horses frightening the dogs.

“I am fed up to the back teeth of horse riders being verbally rude to people, cantering their horses along the beach, whilst frightening the dogs regularly shouting to dog owners ‘put your dog on a lead’?”

In an effort to clarify the rules the Journal contacted East Devon Council.

Horse riders are legally allowed to use the beach at any time so long as they take reasonable care not to harm or inconvenience other users; only racing is forbidden by byelaws.

READ MORE: Horse owner speaks out after dog attack left niece ‘seriously bruised’

New beach signage is being put up this week which includes a request for horse riders not to use the beach at peak times.

An East Devon Council spokesman said: “Horses are not covered by the Public Spaces Protection Order, which legally governs the summer dog ban, and unless there was sufficient evidence that horses were presenting a substantial and ongoing nuisance to other users we wouldn’t be able to add them to the order.

“The vast majority of both dog and horse owners are responsible and, except for the recent incident, we are not aware of any complaints by horse owners about dog users and we have had very few complaints about horses by dog owners over the past two years.

“We would really like all users to be respectful of one another, to act responsibly and to enjoy the beach, allowing space for each other’s activities.”

For more information on horse riding and dog walking on Exmouth Beach visit www.eastdevon.gov.uk.

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