Back at the beginning of the year, when the days were short, and we were a little frazzled, longing to emerge from the gloom of winter, we packed our bags and headed off for a restorative stay – Partridge in tow – at the super dog-friendly Killerton Park Cottage.
The National Trust is home to over 220 dog friendly cottages, across the country, where you can immerse yourself in nature, and some much needed R&R with your four-legged friend at your side. Having partnered up with Forthglade – masters of nutritional natural dog food, passionate about nurturing the relationship between you and your dog – on a three year project to highlight all of the beautiful dog friendly National Trust-owned spaces – bringing you and your canine pal a healthy balance in life and time out.
The three-year partnership aims to provide expert guidance on the National Trust’s ‘Dogs Welcome’ project, which helps dogs and their owners enjoy the special places cared for by the National Trust across England, Wales and Northern Ireland; rooted in the values of enjoying our open spaces, exploring the wellbeing benefits for both dogs and owners, and highlighting Forthglade’s role in nourishing these relationships.
Time out was exactly what was needed. If there was ever a place made for hunkering down, Killerton Park Cottage offers just that.
A statuesque 1920s Lodge House that stands at one of the entrances to Killerton’s parkland. Inside, its interiors are light-filled and bright, with carefully chosen furnishings and comforting touches such as cushioned window seats and nature-inspired wallpapers. The sitting room is one of the cosiest spaces, with a large window seat, overlooking the grounds – the perfect spot to while away the hours, watching the day unfold beyond. The television is artfully concealed and a lovely log burner sits at the centre, perfect for cooler nights, where a basket of logs and firelighters is kindly left for your use. Your dog can also enjoy the warmth of the fire after a long walk in the surrounding countryside. A small, yet functional kitchen leads into the entranceway and dining space, again with windows overlooking the garden. It’s the kind of blissful space that invites you to relax, forget time, enjoy home-cooked hearty suppers and some good conversation.
Outside the raised patio area makes the most of the parkland views, kitted out with a large wooden table and chairs, perfect for alfresco dining and the ideal barbequing space for warmer climes.
On your doorstep you’ll find the Georgian house set in 2,600 hectares (6,400 acres) of working farmland, woods, parkland, cottages and orchards. There’s plenty of calm space in the thriving garden that is beautiful year-round with rhododendrons, magnolias, champion trees and formal lawns. Let your excitable mutt lead you through the grounds and explore the winding paths, climb an extinct volcano, discover an Iron Age hill fort and take in distant views towards Dartmoor.
We spent our days immersed in nature, ensconced in the window seat with a good book, listening to birdsong, exploring the grounds, and surrounding countryside, before settling down to evenings cooking ourselves wholesome meals, paired with some quaffable wines in front of a roaring fire.
Sleeping in the countryside couldn’t be more peaceful, the stretched out silence so soothing, only the sounds of wild animals rustling in the foliage and the odd owl calling through the dark. The best bit – waking up to the sounds of nature, the dappled winter light through the blinds, a low mist descending on the hilltops. The morning dog walks were no longer a chore, but between dog and human, a mutual desire to get out into the parkland and explore further, with the thrill of happening upon another area of undiscovered ground.
Myself included, I think many people are yet to realise how dog friendly a lot of the National Trust sites actually are. So the news that Europe’s largest conservation charity have teamed up with Devon-based natural pet food makers Forthglade in partnership set to promote happier and healthier dogs, is a brilliant way to help market this to a wider audience.
The three-year partnership focuses on the launch of a range of natural meals for dogs and supports the National Trust’s ‘Dogs Welcome’ project, helping canine companions and their owners in discovering and enjoying National Trust sites.
Forthglade have recently launched a range of all-natural, nutritionally balanced Gourmet dinners, including a selection of grain-free complete wet meals, all with high-quality ingredients, 75% meat content and free from any additives.
The sales of the dog food range will contribute at least £50,000 per annum to support the Trust’s conservation work.
The special range includes recipes such as duck & venison with green beans and apricots or turkey & goose with pumpkin and cranberries. A natural cold-pressed dry dog food range will be launched later in the year, as well as a selection of hand-baked grain-free natural dog treats.
Over the next three-years the project will put developments in place so that dog owners can enjoy a great day out with their four-legged friends, whilst helping to protect the beautiful spaces that the National Trust care for.
And for those that aren’t doggy fans, it will ensure there are consistent expectations of dog owners, as well as highlighting the dog-free zones available to enjoy.
The launch of the Dogs Welcome project has been created to make the National Trust experience for dog owners and their beloved companions even more special, with the support and expertise of Forthglade, whose focus is on great canine nutrition and the importance of nourishing relationships between owners and their dogs.
Recent research from Forthglade found that the average daily dog walk is over in less than 20 minutes, whilst 58% of British dog owners have admitted to not walking their dog as often or for as long as they should.
“We look forward to further bringing to life the National Trust’s Dogs Welcome activity, as the Trust provides so many incredible areas for dog walkers and dogs to enjoy together,” enthused Gerard Lovell, Forthglade’s joint MD.
Established in 1971, Forthglade have been making nutritionally balanced and delicious dog food in the heart of the Devon countryside for over forty-five years. Forthglade products are made with 100% natural ingredients, and are free from fillers and gently cooked to retain natural goodness. Forthglade produce wet meals (complete and complementary), cold pressed natural dry dog food and also treats. For more detail on the range, visit forthglade.com
The National Trust was founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces, with the goal of preserving them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything the conservation charity does. Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 780 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 26 million people visit every year, and together with 5.6 million members and 65,000 volunteers, they help to support the charity in its work to care for special places forever, for everyone. For further information and inspiration for great seasonal days out, visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
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