Residents in the UK are being asked to stop walking dogs on the popular Bath Racecourse. One British dog walker isn’t enthusiastic about the request. He’s pushing back.
UK dog walkers rely on Bath Racecourse
According to the BBC, Bath Racecourse is a go-to spot for dog walkers. It’s a thoroughbred horse racing venue about 3 ¼ miles northeast of Bath, Somerset, England, on Lansdown Hill. The racecourse is shaped like a left-handed oval. It measures 1 mile, 4 furlongs, and 25 yards in length, with an almost half-mile run-in. Arena Racing Company owns and operates the racecourse.
When horses aren’t racing there, many dog parents like to exercise their pups on the large, open green space. But racecourse staff aren’t keen on dog walkers taking over the area. Instead, staff want to use it for sheep grazing. They’ve started asking dog walkers to refrain from walking on the green space.
According to one dog walker who spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the racecourse is “invaluable” for people with dogs.
“Bathonians have walked across the Bath Racecourse grounds for years, going back decades,” he said. “The center of the course is perhaps the last open space left near Bath where anyone can wander. Whilst everyone knows it’s owned, there have never been issues of access. Indeed, the numbers of people walking means anyone with malicious intent would be seen and noted.”
The dog walker went on to share his personal history with the space, noting, “I have got a rescue dog which is a bit difficult to look after. It needs proper space without people. So the racecourse is perfect really.”
Dog walker and racecourse staff disagree
The man brought his concerns to the Bath Racecourse staff, who was reportedly “understanding.” He believes that the venue should collaborate with the community to come up with a solution that works for everyone. Among his ideas: a yearly subscription for dog workers who want to use the space. This, he says, would be more profitable than sheep grazing.
However, a spokesperson for Bath Racecourse emphasized that while the walking paths are open to the public, the green space is private property.
“The footpaths are clearly signposted around the perimeter of the race course, so we would request that dog walkers stick to the footpaths,” the spokesperson said. “With our racing surface and the issues we have had we would just request people stick to the footpaths. It’s private land in the middle of the course.”