Your faithful four-legged friend on a leash is very welcome at Grenspark Kalmthoutse Heide. The nature reserve is a lovely area for a long walk. And with no less than 21 trails where dogs are welcome, there is always a new adventure just around the corner. Please follow the rules so you and your dog do not disturb or destroy the flora and fauna in the area. We kindly ask you to take the following rules into account.
Dogs are welcome, but always on a leash and not in fens, puddles or in the grazing area. The reasons are:
Nature is fragile, especially in spring time. In fact, the park is one big maternity hospital in spring. Much of that early life takes place on the ground. Here you can find breeding birds, small mammals, pheasants and also fawn. The latter lie still in the grass or the leaves and shrubs in the forest during their first days of life. It is important that they get used to life here in the park without being startled by dogs sniffing around and going off the path. Moreover, the scent trail of a dog makes animals anxious, so that a parent animal sometimes does not return to the young animal, leaving in to starve.
Letting your dog play or swim in fens and puddles is not allowed because it frightens water birds. Birds gain strength in and around the fens, especially during the migratory period. If a dog disturbs them, they fly up in large groups and unnecessarily lose a lot of energy. This is exactly the energy they wanted to gain in the area and which they need for their long migratory journey.
And finally; every year several animals die because they are bitten to death by stray dogs. We want to prevent that at all times.
Visitors come to enjoy nature and the tranquility of the park. Dog owners might know their dog very well, but that does not apply to the other visitors in the park. Your dog may be sweet and loyal and you may think he is not at all dangerous, but animals are never 100% predictable. A dog can be startled and (therefore) react unexpectedly. In addition, not all visitors are dog lovers and they may not appreciate being jumped at by a (wet or dirty) dog. A somewhat enthusiastic dog can also be frightening for children. We therefore ask visitors to keep their dog on a leash at all times.
Every year several bite incidents are reported, often caused by stray dogs that reacted unpredictably to joggers or walkers. Prevent this by keeping your dog on a leash at all times.
Not only nature, but also your dog itself is vulnerable. Other dogs, cyclists or frightened horses can injure your dog. The motorways along the edge of the forest are also a potential danger if your dog is not on a leash. In addition, stray dogs are more susceptible to diseases and ticks.
Dogs are not allowed in the grazing area, so that our grazers can do their ‘heathland management’ in all peace and quiet.
You want your dog to play and run without a leash? That’s possible in one of the three off-leash dog areas in the park. These areas are indicated on the visitor map with a dog symbol depicted in a blue frame. Please be aware: also here, your dog should always be under control and there is an obligation to clean up dog poo.
The off-leash dog areas are: