How can we keep orchard dog-free?

I never imagined I would feel the need to write a letter to the paper, but today I was so shocked by the actions of a thoughtless man in The Byes, that I am asking for the readers’ help.

I am a teacher and childminder. I often walk with my little people in The Byes, near my home, and recently our ‘special place’ has become the Community Orchard, partly because it is a ‘dog free zone’.

When we go in there, I know that we are safe from dogs, ie the toddlers won’t be bowled over by them, so they can run free, and the grass there is ‘clean’.

The children can pick the grass, pick up sticks, lie on the grass, etc, and I can be reasonably sure that the area is ‘safe’.

We are looking forward to taking picnics there this summer.

We have been watching the ‘baby trees’ growing buds. Today we saw the first apple blossom.

Today we also saw a man with a dog, opening the gate and going into the orchard with his dog. I called out to him that ‘dogs don’t go in there’ (assuming that he didn’t know). He replied that he is a member of the National Trust and he can go where he likes!

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I am upset that our ‘special place’ is not as safe as we thought.

Don’t get me wrong, we love dogs. We often sit on the bench inside the orchard and count them – but we expect them to be on the other side of the fence!

Please use this letter to explain why this, very small, part of The Byes is valued as a dog-free zone. Perhaps other readers could help to keep it that way.

Susannah Venn