Walkies! Gardener Tracy Jones and Rossi at Bodnant Garden
Hands up all those who are feeling dog-tired after the Christmas festivities? I bet your pooch is a little lethargic too after all the turkey and titbits and long snoozes by the fireside? What we all need is a breath of fresh air and a good walk…and Bodnant is offering the perfect New Year opportunity for you and your best friend to get out and explore some new territory together.
The garden is open to four-legged friends on Tuesday for the first of three trial Bring Your Dog Days – January 15, February 12 and March 12. It’s a first step in, we hope, making Bodnant Garden accessible to dog owners. If it’s popular, a success…and provided we aren’t left with any of the brown stuff on our lawns and borders…we will look at extending the scheme at other times of the year too.
The idea is the brainchild of one of our gardeners Tracy Jones (proud owner of Labrador Rossi, seen again below) who raised an issue which has been a real bone of contention for us, and other National Trust properties, over the years.
Visitors often say they wish they didn’t have to leave their dog behind when they come for some quality outdoor time or a family day out. I am a dog owner myself, as well as a gardener and someone who enjoys visiting other gardens and outdoor attractions yet it’s frustrating that so many places of interest are closed to dogs…and so to those of us with dogs. Many is the time I have foregone a trip to a stately home, garden, beauty spot or beach rather than shut Poppy up in the house for the afternoon. We are all aware of the potential horrors of leaving a dog in the car while we nip out somewhere on a hot day.
But even the dog lovers among us understand the concerns – the noise and nuisance for others enjoying a peaceful garden visit, the possible damage to the garden and, of course, the matter of…well… matter. No-one wants to come across a pungent brown parcel in the flower beds (believe me, especially when you are the one weeding it!)
There’s room for compromise surely, to allow everyone the opportunity of enjoying a place, whether alone, as a couple or as a family, complete with beloved (and well behaved) family pet. Allotted dog days give those with pets their chance and others the freedom of the garden at all other times. Job done (no pun intended.)
Bodnant Garden has about seven miles of paths in total that will provide perfect walking for dogs small and large – and what’s more each will receive a free biscuit and waste bag on arrival. All we ask is that you keep your dogs on a short lead, stick to the paths and use the poop bags and bins provided. Visitors and pets are welcome to take their ease under the veranda at the Pavilion tea room during their visit and dogs are free to roam off lead in the overflow car park, which is closed to cars during January, February and March.
The garden is open for the first time this year through the winter months so it’s an opportunity to come and see Bodnant as never before; take a tour of our freshly unveiled Winter Garden and special Winter Walk, from 11am to 3pm (last admission 2.30pm) and at the reduced winter admission price of £4.47 in January and February (no charge for the dogs…that would be a bit ‘ruff’. Sorry.)
Please come along and support our Bring Your Dog Days and help us lead the way in improving accessibility and enjoyment for all. With any luck the patter of paws might even scare away the rabbits that are munching their way through our borders!
This has been a plea from gardener Fran Llewellyn…and Poppy!