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National Trust bans dogs from famous Cornish tourist spot St Michael’s Mount

A row has erupted at one of Britain’s most famous tourist spots after it banned dogs for weeing on the grass.

The pets have been banned from visiting St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall with only assistance dogs allowed on the landmark, which is owned by the St Aubyn Estates and managed by the National Trust.

Bosses at the tourist attraction, where there’s a clifftop castle, a cafe and a pub – say canines won’t be allowed to cross the causeway, the only access to the island which is cut off at high tide.

They said urine from visitors’ dogs cocking their legs or squatting is scorching the pristine lawns and grounds, turning the grass brown where little children play. 

The decision was made after ‘use by dogs scorched the grass brown and rendered these small areas unsightly and unsuitable for small children at play’ according to the St Michael’s Mount website.

The ban follows a £14 charge being imposed on visitors to the island. It was previously free to walk around the village and visit the cafe, with a charge only to enter the castle.

Bosses at St Michael’s Mount, where there’s a clifftop castle, a cafe and a pub – say canines won’t be allowed to cross the causeway, the only access to the island which is cut off at high tide

Michele Cornish, 57, who regularly visits St Michael’s Mount with the family dog said she was ‘saddened’ by the ruling.

She said: ‘My family and I have always enjoyed a walk to the harbour on the island, making purchases from the two shops, and a meal, or at least an ice cream, from one of the cafes.

‘I have always understood why dogs are not permitted to walk up to the house, but don’t understand why dogs are now not allowed to walk around the harbour.’

Another visitor, Anne Millward, said on social media: ‘Walked over the causeway and was refused access as dogs are now banned.

‘Such a shame as I was planning on buying some Xmas pressies from the shop and having lunch in the café.

‘Never mind, I ended up spending £150 on gifts in the shops in Marazion and went back to The Lizard for lunch. Win win for local businesses, big loss for National Trust.’

Alice Dennis said: ‘It used to be so nice walking them across there. Even keeping them in a lead, once in their grounds, would be fine. I can’t see what damage they could do.’

Jan Amos commented: ‘We often walk across to the island and visit the shops and café but as dogs are now banned we won’t be visiting again and we certainly wouldn’t pay £14 each for the privilege.’

Harvey Thomas – CEO of St Aubyn Estates – told MailOnline: ‘For the last two seasons dogs have been excluded from St Michael’s Mount as part of our response to Covid-19, because we needed to make sure that social distancing could be realistically observed in what is a very small area around the harbour. Visitors have never been able to take their dogs anywhere else on the island.

‘As part of opening up we decided that we won’t be allowing dogs – other than assistance dogs – back into the harbour.

‘This was a difficult decision. We know that this will disappoint some visitors. We know how important their dogs are to many people, but it was also clear that for many people, the experience of visiting us has improved as a result of having no dogs around what is a busy harbour area.’

The St Michael’s Mount website reads ‘We do not allow dogs on the island other than assistance dogs.

The decision was made after 'use by dogs scorched the grass brown and rendered these small areas unsightly and unsuitable for small children at play' according to the St Michael's Mount website (stock photo)

The decision was made after ‘use by dogs scorched the grass brown and rendered these small areas unsightly and unsuitable for small children at play’ according to the St Michael’s Mount website (stock photo)

‘Assistance dogs are most welcome on the island and in the garden and castle. However we no longer permit any other dogs to visit the island.

‘The compact harbour and village is mainly cobbled, with restricted areas of grass which are integral to the character of the Mount.

‘Previously, use by dogs scorched the grass brown and rendered these small areas unsightly and unsuitable for small children at play, necessitating this change in policy.

‘Dogs have never been allowed in the steeply terraced, narrow garden, the lawn, or in the castle. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.’

Recently, regular visitors of St Michael’s Mount complained about the new £14 charge to access the island, its shops and café, which they described as ‘appalling’ and ‘disgraceful’.

The island – which you can walk to via the causeway at lower tides or pay a small fee to go by boat – used to be free to access and explore.

Only visits of the castle itself had to be paid for on the famous island with its café and cottages.

A new pre-booking system, which was introduced to manage the crowds during the coronavirus pandemic, now means that everyone aside from National Trust members – who will still have to pre-book their visit online – will have to pay to access the island and village facilities. 

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