DOG walkers are being asked to keep their dogs on a lead in a parkland due to ‘distressed’ sheep.

The National Trust has recently re-introduced a dog warden to the Erddig estate as a result of the ‘growing number of instances’ where sheep have died as a result of being ‘worried by dogs’.

A spokesman for the Trust said: “Visitors to the Erddig estate have always been asked to follow the countryside code which expressly states that dogs must be kept under effective control at all times.

“This includes being kept on a lead around farm animals and horses, to conform with legal requirements on open access land.

“Sadly, distress can cause a sheep to die, especially at this time of year when many of the sheep are in lamb.

“As a result we have asked all dog walkers who enjoy the Erddig estate to keep their four legged friends on leads in any open field while exploring our parkland.

“A dog may be friendly and mean no harm, but a pregnant ewe will not know this and can miscarry if distressed and - as we have recently experienced - may even lose their life.

“Our new warden will help us keep the dogs that enjoy the parkland, and the livestock which call Erddig home, both happy and safe.”

Dog walker John Eaton said he was surprised to be asked to put his dog on a lead and says he will not be returning to Erddig again.

He was walking his Bearded Collie Benji on Tuesday afternoon when he was told to put him on a lead as ‘six sheep had been killed by dogs’.

He said: “I always walk my dog here, I have been coming here since 1994. I always look out for sheep and if they are about I put a lead on him.

“I was told six sheep have been killed by dogs but I don’t believe it. You would have heard people talking about it, it would have been everywhere.

“There were no sheep on the fields when I was walking Benji.”

Mr Eaton went on to say that often dogs with owners are not the ones causing problems for sheep.

He added: “Dogs are being unfairly treated. If dogs have been killing sheep then it’s normally the ones who have escaped, not normally the ones with their owners.

“In all the times I’ve been going there I’ve not known of any instances.

“There’s more sheep than usual there lately but dog owners will put their dog on a lead if there are sheep about.

“They should be on a lead if they are a danger to animals, I agree with that.”