A Dog-friendly Vale of Glamorgan
21 July 2016
Creative Rural Communities, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s rural regeneration initiative, has launched its Dog Friendly Pilot in the rural Vale of Glamorgan, with workshops in Cowbridge geared towards accommodation, attractions and shops. The workshops also catered for those involved with the managing of land – where dog owners will walk in the Vale, and the impact of this walking on the countryside.
Guest speaker Stephen Jenkinson – an expert in Dog Friendly Tourism – was on hand to facilitate the workshop, raising awareness of the opportunities, challenges, options and limitations of being a dog-friendly tourist attraction. Minimising the negative impacts on other people, farm animals and wildlife, was also discussed, as well as the economic, social and health benefits derived from responsible dog ownership.
The pilot aims to look at the pros and cons of being dog-friendly in the Vale of Glamorgan. By learning from other examples across the UK, the Vale of Glamorgan hopes to define what being dog-friendly actually means, what dog-friendly accommodation looks like, and what the Vale has to offer tourists that visit with their dogs. During the pilot, Creative Rural Communities also wants to learn if dog-friendly tourism is good for business across the Vale, and if it can successfully manage any negative impacts dogs have on the countryside.
In addition to identifying dog-friendly features, the pilot aims to promote the importance of responsible dog ownership: for example, making sure that owners are aware where dogs are allowed off their leads, and that owners pick up after their dogs. This falls in line with the Vale’s recently-launched ‘Dogs Are Clever’ campaign.
Cllr. Burnett said of the pilot: “We hope that this pilot will benefit many businesses in the Vale of Glamorgan, including those that are already dog-friendly and those who have never considered what it means. It provides a fantastic opportunity to learn how we can tap into ways of attracting more visitors, and their dogs, to the region, with responsible dog ownership in mind.”
The next phase in the pilot comes between October 2016 and January 2017 – which coincides with the lifting of the dog beach ban – where a number of factors identified in the workshops will be introduced for local businesses to trial. The Vale of Glamorgan hopes to see plenty of overnight and day tourists visit over the winter months.
The Dog Friendly Pilot has received funding from the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and administered by the Vale’s Creative Rural Communities.