Dogs will be allowed to go for walkies on a sensitive part of Dartmoor where otters and Atlantic salmon thrive – but only if they stay on their leads.

Bridleways around a stretch of the West Dart Valley at Sherberton are popular with dog walkers, but access has been restricted because of sensitive local wildlife habitats.

Members of Dartmoor National Park Authority heard that at one time dogs were banned completely from an area between Two Bridges and Hexworthy, but after appeals from the Kennel Club and other organisations the restrictions were eased in 2018.

Since then dogs on leads have been allowed, and the authority has now agreed to carry on with that arrangement.

Its recreation strategy development officer James Wright said it is a ‘sensitive area where otter cubs had been seen this year.

Atlantic salmon also spawn in the West Dart River in the area.

He said the park authority had to review its policy every five years, and there had been no detrimental impact from dogs in that period.

The Kennel Club had queried why the restricted area stretched so far away from the river, and Mr Wright pointed out that otters often traveled up to a kilometre from the bank.

More and clearer signs will be put up to remind dog walkers to use leads.