A popular dog walking wood has applied for planning permission in order to stay open – and has appealed for help from its customers.

Fidosfun runs a four-acre area of woodland in Finchampstead where dogs can be let safely off the lead.

The company says its Woodland Walk at 59a Nine Mile Ride opened in July 2023. But it did not apparently have permission to use the land for dog walking.

In an email to customers Fidosfun said it has now had to apply for planning permission – and asked them to submit supportive comments to Wokingham Borough Council.

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The email said: “A planning application has needed to be submitted to change the use of land at our Finchampstead Woodland site and we need your help by providing supportive comments on the application to keep this facility open.”

More than 30 comments were submitted to Wokingham Borough Council on Monday, January 15 – most of them in support of the application.

Many said they wouldn’t be able to let their dogs off the lead if they couldn’t take them to Woodland Walk.

Jack Connelly from nearby Blackwater in Hampshire said: “This enclosed woodland walk is an absolute gem, discreetly tucked away so it's not in anyone's way.

“Our family took on a rescue dog who is very nervous around other dogs and has no recall whatsoever so having the enclosed area is amazing.”

One person raised concerns about its safety and suitability, saying that there were unused buildings and debris still on site.

John Smith of Finchampstead said: “Glass is widely scattered within the area, sharp metal remains on the ground where there appears to have been previous waste piles that have not been removed by the dog field provider.”

“There are buildings on the site of the dog exercise area that have been part dismantled, these have unsecured fences.” He added that nearby housing was ‘within touching distance’ of the walking area.

Many other supportive comments described the area as safe. Fidosfun did not want to comment on the reason for its application for planning permission or on the safety of the site when contacted by the News.

A planning statement submitted to Wokingham Borough Council said a garage and chicken shed are still on site as a remnant of its previous domestic use.

It also says Woodland Walk only allows up to five dogs at a time for hour-long walking slots. Customers get exclusive use of the land during their booking.

It adds that proposed opening hours are 7am-8pm in the summertime and 7am until dusk in the winter. The public consultation period on the application is open until Monday February 5.