Dog walkers

Delivering win-wins for dogs, their owners and wildlife in Badenoch and Strathspey.


Badenoch and Strathspey, within the Cairngorms National Park, is home to over 6,200 resident dogs and around 150,000 visiting dogs each year. The area is also home to around 80% of the UK capercaillie population.

Research shows that being able to walk dogs off-lead is the single most important requirement for people walking dogs and that dog walkers specifically seek places for off-lead activity. Research also shows that people with dogs are a greater cause of disturbance to wildlife than people alone, and that lone dogs can flush birds 100% of the time. Work with the dog walking community is therefore an essential part of helping capercaillie and other wildlife to thrive.

In autumn 2022, canine professionals in Badenoch and Strathspey including dog walkers, trainers, breeders, vets, groomers, people who work dogs professionally and use assistance dogs were asked to share their views about exercising dogs in Badenoch and Strathspey. Read a summary of their views here. Their views were used to create an online survey for the wider dog walking community to complete. You can read a summary of the results from the online survey here.

In early 2023, a series of facilitated workshops were held for all resident dog walkers in Badenoch and Strathspey to identify and prioritise actions based on the areas of common ground identified through the online survey. Through the workshops the following vision was developed: Dog friendly Cairngorms where wildlife can thrive

To achieve this vision, the following actions were identified:

Create and develop free dog walking spaces in Badenoch and Strathspey, ideally in woodlands and accessible on foot from communities, to meet the needs of dogs and their owners away from sensitive areas for wildlife.

Build knowledge around capercaillie by developing an active community of dog owners in Badenoch and Strathspey with information and understanding at its heart.


Work is now underway on the actions above and as much progress will be made as possible by December 2023 when the project ends and work will continue supported by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Events and activities

Coming soon! Watch this space for ways to get involved.




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