New dog walking trails introduced in Wirral

New dog walking trails have been introduced in Wirral as part of an innovative partnership with the Council and national organisations Dogs Trust and Keep Britain Tidy.

The ‘Walk This Way’ campaign, initially launched in 2017, is being extended to Wirral after successful trials in other parts of the UK.

The project to help reduce mess left by dog fouling will see two new dog walking trails introduced at Birkenhead Park and three at North Wirral Coastal Park.

When Dogs Trust polled 2,000 dog owners* it found that 13% of owners admitted to leaving behind bagged dog poo, either accidentally or deliberately, – and 54% of those said that they had done so because there were no bins nearby. Other reasons given were forgetting to collect poo bags on the way back, bins being full and not wanting to carry them around.

In response, Wirral Council has partnered with the Dogs Trust and Keep Britain Tidy to bring the innovative ‘Walk This Way’ project to the borough.

In Birkenhead Park, two routes have been brought in at 2.4km and 4km, while at North Wirral Coastal Park there are three new routes, at 1.6km, 1.8km and 3.2km. The routes will be in place until November.

The new walks feature colour-coded routes which clearly mark the length of the walk and direct walkers to the nearest bins to dispose of their dogs’ waste. Maps also show where bins are placed with clear signs to find them, while more bins have also been added.

Michelle Moat, Community Education & Engagement Officer at Dogs Trust, said, “Walking a dog is a wonderful past time with many health benefits for both owner and pooch. However, part of being a responsible dog owner is ensuring you pick up after your dog and suitably dispose of the waste. Previous interventions have shown that by having more bins available, clearer signposting and messaging that ‘Any Bin Will Do’ has dramatically improved the surrounding areas.

“We’re excited by the potential of our new Walk This Way routes and can’t wait to see the improvements it will make. Hopefully it will be a long-term change to the area and make the space more enjoyable for everyone.”

Keep Britain Tidy Litter and Place Services Manager, Rachel Scarisbrick, said, “We are pleased to be continuing this partnership to help dog owners clear up their dog poo and make green, public spaces free from unwanted waste.

“We have already seen that Walk This Way has reduced the amount of waste left behind by dog owners and we hope that this success can continue in even more sites this year.” 

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said, “We’re really proud of our amazing open spaces in Wirral and it’s great to find new ways to keep them beautiful.

“This project will make it easier for people to enjoy walking their pets, safe in the knowledge they know where they can dispose of the dog poo they pick up, ensuring the area is protected from the blight of dog mess.”

Walk This Way previously ran in other UK locations in 2017 (with 6 sites) and again in 2018 (with 15 sites), encouraging owners to correctly deposit their dog’s waste in any general waste bin. This intervention successfully reduced fouling instances by 38% and 40% respectively.

Image: Brady Wakely

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