Dogs could be banned from a popular woodland walk if their owners fail to obey dog fouling rules and a request to keep pets on a lead.

Guardians of Strid Wood at Bolton Abbey are fed up with dog owners not cleaning up after their animals and even hanging bagged dog filth from trees. They say they have also recorded an increase in the number of pets let off their leads and received reports of leashed dogs being attacked by others which have been allowed to run free.

Visitor manager Moira Smith said: “A minority of dog owners are spoiling a day out for the majority. Sadly if this continues, the estate will have to review their policy.

“If visitors continue to flaunt the dogs-on-lead policy and to litter the countryside and hang dog waste bags on trees, the estate will consider banning dogs in Strid Wood.”

Some visitors and particularly children were frightened by loose dogs. Even a friendly dog could cause someone to step back off the path, which was narrow in places, and be seriously injured, Mrs Smith added.

Dog bins were strategically positioned where staff could access them with a vehicle but could not be positioned everywhere. She said: “We urge visitors not to hang bags of dog waste on trees – the bags are not biodegradable and hang there littering the beautiful countryside.”

Strid Wood has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest where nature and flora and fauna had to be protected.

Mrs Smith also warned that loose dogs could damage the environment and disturb wildlife. And she stressed that dogs should not be allowed to roam free at Cavendish Pavilion, especially where there were children and toddlers. The estate is owned by the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth Settlement.