During spring and summer Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve provides shelter for the largest population of breeding Little Tern and Ringed Plover in the county. Studies have shown that even when a dog is on a lead, their presence can cause ground-nesting birds to leave the nest, resulting in the abandonment of eggs or chicks.
To help protect the breeding shorebirds, from 1 May - 1 September 2021 a trial dog zoning scheme is being introduced on Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
- Dog free area - the area around the Wide Opens extending to Ross Back Sands south and north to the Beacons and Blackl Law; and the western section of Budle Bay
- Area where dogs will be allowed to be exercised off their leads - the North Shore on Holy Island (maximum of 2 dogs per individual & owners must still be in control of their dogs and must be able to get them back to heel quickly)
- Remainder of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve - dog owners will be required to keep their dog on a short lead (1.5 metre) at all times (maximum of 2 dogs per individual)
Temporary signage will explain which dog zone is in operation at that particular location.