This National trust site will soon open its gardens to dogs for the first time.

Visitors to Wakehurst at Ardingly near Haywards Heath, botanic gardens run by Kew, will be able to bring their dogs to the site at the end of the month.

Responding to positive feedback from its recent dog walking trials and the increase in households welcoming canine companions in the pandemic, Wakehurst hopes its expansive gardens will provide invigorating walks for family pets.

The Argus: Dogs will be welcome at Wakehurst from Monday, February 27Dogs will be welcome at Wakehurst from Monday, February 27 (Image: Kew)

The botanic gardens display a range of habitats across the 535-acre site.

Over 10km of paths designated for dogs will wind through the gardens, traversing paths alongside towering woodland species from Australasia and North America, ravines of rhododendrons from eastern Himalaya, and the peaceful oasis of the Water Gardens filled with flourishing seasonal flowers.

“At Wakehurst, we believe a stroll through our wild landscape forms a dog walk with a difference. With each visit, people walking their dogs will be contributing to Kew’s critical conservation work and pioneering science research undertaken to combat biodiversity loss,” said Ed Ikin, director of Wakehurst.

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A brand new part of the gardens will be opened especially for dog walkers to give their four-legged friends the chance to go off-lead.

Dogs can roam free in the area complete with a fenced perimeter to keep them secure.

The Argus: There will also be an area for dogs to roam freeThere will also be an area for dogs to roam free (Image: Kew)

Facilities onsite include water bowls and dog waste bins, with complimentary biodegradable waste bags available at the visitor centre, in case a visitor has forgotten or run out of their own.

Dogs are welcome at the café and the shop is also dog-friendly, stocked with a range of gifts, plants, books and homeware, plus treats and accessories for furry friends.

Designated areas of the gardens will remain dog-free, allowing space for school groups, and ensuring that Wakehurst remains an inclusive place for all visitors.

The Argus: Dogs are also welcome at the shop and cafeDogs are also welcome at the shop and cafe (Image: Kew)

The paths and areas for dogs form part of Wakehurst’s new canine code, developed to ensure all visitors can enjoy their day at the botanic garden.

The code says Wakehurst welcomes up to two dogs per adult, dogs must remain on a short lead and owners must clear up after their dog.