DOG owners using a popular beauty spot near Stourbridge have been issued with a warning.

Rangers at Kinver Edge are urging owners to keep their pet on a short lead in areas of heathland during the breeding season (March 1 – July 31).

The plea is to minimise disturbance to animals which live and breed in the sensitive heathland habitat, managed by the National Trust. 

Stourbridge News: The Willow Warbler flies from Africa to nest at Kinver Edge The Willow Warbler flies from Africa to nest at Kinver Edge (Image: Nick Upton)

The Willow Warbler, a ground-nesting bird, flies more than 5,000 miles from Africa, arriving at Kinver Edge in spring. 

Along with many other migratory birds, the Willow Warbler makes this epic journey to find food and to breed.

The UK’s warm, wet summers and long days provide parents with more insects and time to feed their growing chicks.

Birds that make their nests, lay eggs and raise their chicks on the ground, including the Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit and Chiffchaff, are easily disturbed and distressed by dogs roaming off the footpaths.

Stourbridge News:

Ewan Chapman, Lead Ranger said: “March to July is breeding season for many species, so it’s really important to keep your dog on a lead at this time.

"Ground nesting birds might be prevented from settling if they’re disturbed by a dog, or if they’re already nesting they will fly away from their nests, neglecting their eggs or chicks.

"Cattle graze the heathland on Kinver Edge during the summer months.

"To keep you and your pet safe and to protect the livestock and wildlife that live here, look out for signs asking you to put your dog on a lead as you enter areas of sensitive habitat.

"I want to say a big thank you to all of the responsible dog walkers who are helping us look after this rare habitat and the special wildlife that live here.

"Away from the heathland, there are plenty of areas on Kinver Edge where dogs are welcome to explore off lead.

"The top of the Edge, the woodland and Hillfort are all good areas for dogs to roam and run free.”

Dog owners who fail to control their dog around livestock and in areas of sensitive habitats could face a fine or even prosecution.

They are also urged to clear up after their dog and keep pets under control around people.