THE National Botanic Garden of Wales is allowing dogs in its grounds for the first time.

Since opening to the public in May 2000, the Garden has only allowed guide dogs on to its 600-acre site, which includes a national nature reserve.

But on Saturday March 9 the doors will be open to all responsible dog owners for a one-day trial.

Curator Simon Goodenough said: “The most frequently asked question by would-be visitors to the Garden is ‘Are dogs allowed?’ so we are really reacting to public demand by holding this trial.”

Simon said it was clear the garden should “give the trial day a try” but that there were some basic rules such as dogs being kept on leads, off the flower beds, out of the buildings and that owners clear up after their pets.

“Because we haven’t had dogs here, we are asking people to act responsibly and be considerate as we are not geared up for poop scooping.”

Not that Simon is expecting any problems. “There’s plenty of room for everyone and plenty to explore,” he said.

The National Botanic Garden is open from 10am until 4.30pm. There is no entrance fee for dogs.