It’s never been more important to make time for the love of your life. Mine, Basil, is a two-year-old cavapoo, and while he shows all the intelligence of a household mop, he may feel some separation anxiety as the world reopens and we spend less time with our dogs. A bit of TLC seems in order.
The best day out for canines is at Blickling Estate, once the family residence of Anne Boleyn. Dogs are barred from house and gardens, which is fine, since Basil is not very hot on history and the wider estate encompasses 4,600 dog-friendly acres.
The four and a half mile Estate Walk starts from the car park and takes in all the best bits – meadows with views across to the hall, ancient woodland and fields sloping down to the River Bure. It does bring you up close to livestock, so you do have to keep your canine companion in close control at all times.
We have a very happy hour and a half – me taking in architectural oddities like the pyramidal mausoleum and 18th century tower, him barking at squirrels. Here’s a tip: walk in the opposite direction to that marked on the maps, starting at the Muddy Boots café where you can pep yourself up with coffee and an eclectic collection of dog treats including canine ice cream.
That way, the end of your circular walk passes the Bucks Arms – a 17th-century pub and former coaching inn that serves great pub food and welcomes dogs in its lovely garden, bar and one area of the restaurant. I enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio, and Basil seems to rate the thoughtfully placed water bowls. The pub even welcomes dogs into some guest bedrooms. Next time, Basil?
Chris Packham’s favourite dog-friendly beaches
Broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham lives in the New Forest with his miniature poodles, Sid and Nancy.