Skip to content

Help to protect Skylarks on Selsley Common during nesting season


Dogs on leads on Selsley Common

Walkers and dog owners can protect Skylarks during nesting season by sticking to footpaths and keeping dogs on short leads when enjoying Selsley Common.

Selsley Common is one of few places to spot the iconic, yet sadly declining, bird species. Skylarks are classified as ‘red’ on the British Birds of Conservation Concern list which means that their population is at risk. In the UK, the population halved during the 1990s and continues to drop.

During nesting season, from April to July, Skylarks are particularly vulnerable. It is important they are not disturbed, as this can interfere with them raising their chicks. Keeping dogs on short leads helps protect the nests.

“It’s so important that we all take care when out walking on Selsley Common,” said SDC Director of Community Services, Keith Gerrard. “Ground nesting birds like Skylarks need protection, and we can help the local population by sticking to designated footpaths and keeping dogs on short leads. We all enjoy the beautiful songs of Skylarks on the common, and I’m sure we want to keep it this way.”


Selsley Common is a rich grassland  

Part of Selsley Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its incredibly rare and rich calcareous grassland, and the common falls within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The diverse habitat, home to many wildflowers, birds and invertebrates, is an important breeding ground for Skylarks which are frequently spotted by walkers and visitors.


Dog owners can also play an important part in keeping this area habitable for wildlife by cleaning up after their dogs. This ensures the delicate balance of the soil is protected. There are several dog waste bins close to the road and next to the car parking areas. If you can’t find one, please take your waste home with you and dispose of it with your normal household waste.

Fires and barbecues are not permitted on Selsley Common as they are a fire hazard, particularly during dry summer months.

SDC Strategic Lead of Nature Recovery and Biodiversity, Rebecca Charley said: “We are working with local communities to help enhance and nurture biodiversity and to provide an accessible environment that everyone can enjoy – humans, canines, and birds. This goes hand in hand with our Council Plan goals and we appreciate your support.”

The National Trust, responsible for Minchinhampton & Rodborough Commons, encourages dogs being kept on a short lead in these biodiverse areas. It is especially important from mid-May, when cattle graze the commons and can be startled by dogs.

Sign up for email alerts: For regular social media updates from the council, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.