Is Charmouth Beach dog friendly?

CHARMOUTH BEACH is hidden and tucked away in the Dorset coast, giving visitors a quiet yet idyllic experience along the south coast.

Located less than two miles from Lyme Regis, the seaside hotspot is known for attracting families and fossil hunters – but dogs tag along too?

Are dogs allowed at Charmouth Beach?

The River Char splits Charmouth Beach into two separate seaside hubs with rules of dogs different for each one.

For the East Beach – on the Bridport side – canines are welcome all year round with no restrictions.

However, the west part of Charmouth Beach, towards Lyme Regis, dogs are banned from May 1 to September 30.

They are welcome to be off of the leash on the Dorset beaches during the times they are allowed, but must be kept on a lead on surrounding car parks and footpaths.

Charmouth Beach is split in two by the River Char with both sections having different rules for dogs (grassrootsgroundswell/Flickr)
Charmouth Beach is split in two by the River Char with both sections having different rules for dogs (grassrootsgroundswell/Flickr)

Can I be fined for taking my dog to Charmouth Beach?

Under Dorset Council’s dog-related Public Spaces Protection Order, those in charge of dogs that fall foul of the rules at Charmouth Beach face being fined up to £1,000.

Should your dog go onto West Beach between May and September, you can be hit with a fixed penalty of £100 – which will be reduced to £75 if it is paid within 14 days of being issued.

However, should you refuse to pay, challenge the claim or fail to pay within 28 days, the case will be taken to court where the fine could rise up to level 3 – or £1,000.

If you are a blind person with a registered dog or another disability where a registered canine is required to be with you, then the order will not apply and you will be allowed to go onto West Beach with your canine.

Why are dogs not allowed on Charmouth Beach?

Charmouth Beach is just one of many beaches that enforce a ban on their shores during the summer months, largely due to the increased risk of toxocariasis – otherwise known as zoonosis.

The disease is contracted by humans from animal faeces, most commonly domestic pets, whereby parasites within their poo infects people.

Beaches are among the most at-risk areas with children highly vulnerable, therefore due to more people visiting during the summer months, especially kids, it can become dangerous to have dogs there too.

Symptoms for toxocariasis can range from a mild stomach ache or temperature to the more serious effects such as loss of vision.

If you do suspect thar you or your child has zoonosis, speak to a doctor or call 111 immediately.

Charmouth Beach is popular among fossil hunters with many flocking to find rare items from the shoreline (Conall/Flickr)
Charmouth Beach is popular among fossil hunters with many flocking to find rare items from the shoreline (Conall/Flickr)

Tips for taking your dog to Charmouth Beach

Taking your dog to the beach is no small matter as you will need to ensure their health and wellbeing while at the seaside.

Before heading out, you should always check to see if your dog can visit the beach you intend to go to with Charmouth Beach having a ban in place on the western side from May to September.

A lead is a must, especially with Dorset County Council’s rules for when you are in the car parks and on the footpaths surrounding Charmouth Beach – but they also help to keep your dog under control should you need to.

Other essentials include taking a drinking bowl and clean water for when your canine gets thirsty, particularly during hot weather, while poo bags are bound to be required if you plan on spending a lengthy amount of time by the seaside.

A dry towel is always good to have handy as you will not want to let a wet dog ruin your car seats and it is good to rub any sand off of them.

With the possibility of your dog getting lost on a busy beach, you’ll want to ensure that they are wearing their collar and ID tag, while if you have a GPS tracker, make sure it is fully charged, working and waterproof.

Lastly, in case your pooch gets hurt, have a first aid kit ready and know where the nearest vet is.

England has hundreds of dog-friendly beaches across the country ranging from Land’s End in the South West to Fishermans Haven Beach in the North East.