The owners of a stretch of Norfolk’s only canal have threatened to close its scenic walkway once again because of “irresponsible dog owners".

The Old Canal Company, which owns two-and-a-half miles of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal between Ebridge and Swafield, says it will close the path by the canal if people keep letting their dogs off leads.

The walkway only recently reopened to the public after being shut for over a year due to what the Old Canal Company described as a “trail of destruction” caused by the dogs of “disrespectful” owners.

It comes after a woman running along the canal last week said she had “never been so scared” when she was chased by a “boxer-type dog” which was off its lead.

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The woman claims she asked the owner to put his dog on a lead but he declined – becoming argumentative and shouting at the dog to “get her”.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The North Walsham and Dilham Canal The North Walsham and Dilham Canal (Image: Denise Bradley)

Sue Kirrage, chairman of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, which works closely with the Old Canal Company, warned public use of the walkways is “a privilege, not a right”.

“The walkways only exist by consent and agreement of the canal owners,” she said.

“They were closed because people were not following the rules, which clearly state dogs should be on leads.

“There are rules in order to protect the environment, wildlife and any surrounding livestock. It’s a plea for people to please follow the rules.

“There is a risk the walkway could be closed again if irresponsible dog owners continue to let their dogs off leads, which nobody wants to see.

“It’s a privilege, not a right. People need to respect it to allow us to keep these walkways open.”

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Great Yarmouth Mercury: Paddle boarders enjoying the North Walsham and Dilham CanalPaddle boarders enjoying the North Walsham and Dilham Canal (Image: Denise Bradley)

The path first closed in September 2022 because of damage to the canal and its banks caused by dogs.

The Old Canal Company also received complaints of dogs chasing wildlife, and mess being left along the path and discarded in bags in hedges.