LOCHORE Meadows Country Park has closed the gates to their Tree Orchard after issues with dog fouling. 

The park made the difficult decision after they discovered that the area was being excessively used as a dog exercise area and an increasing problem with dog fouling. 

Sharing the news on their Facebook page, Lochore Meadows Country Park stated: "We've taken the decision to shut the gate on the Tree Orchard in the park as it has started to be excessively used as a dog exercise area which is not what its intended use was for.

"The area was designated as an orchard and fenced off to keep deer and other animals out. We are not anti-dog walkers and, of course, are a dog-friendly park, but this area was established as an orchard and the fruit from the trees is harvested every season for consumption.

"We know the majority of dog walkers in the park are responsible and clean up after their dogs but we are having an increasing problem with dog fouling and this includes the orchard."

Due to the trees being harvested for their fruit, the park has concerns that the pathogens in dog fouling could contaminate the soil.

However, they hope to be able to provide a closed-off dog exercise area for dog walkers soon.

They continued: "Dog fouling contains any number of pathogens that can contaminate the soil including excessive amounts of nitrogen and parasitic roundworms that can transfer to humans in a variety of ways.

"We are concerned that this can pose a risk to the soil in the orchard and in return the harvest that's picked. Hence our decision to close the area temporarily.

"We are currently exploring options to create another safe closed-off dog exercise area within the park as we see the positive impact these can have and how popular they are and will have an update on this soon.

"In the meantime, we feel there is ample space to walk and exercise dogs in the country park both on and off the lead.

"We would obviously encourage any dog walkers, as per the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, to only let their dogs off the lead if they are under control and there are no grazing animals or wildfowl in the area that they could pose a risk to and not take your dog into fields containing growing crops."