Taking Your Dog Camping

For some people, taking your dog camping with you is the most natural thing in the world – after all, they are part of the family, so it makes perfect sense. Others might break out into a cold sweat at the idea of coping with another “person’s” needs on top of everyone else’s.

Well, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you will all have a great time and there are lots of wonderful camp and glamping sites out there that will cater to Fido’s every need.

Will My Doggy Cope? (And Will I?!)

A lot of people think of dogs as hard work. And let’s face it, some can be! A lot depends on breed, age, living arrangements at home, etc and behaviour can therefore be variable.

We have always been fans of terriers (or terrorists, depending on which way you look at them!) and have found them to be great characters, very personable and almost human in some cases. Also, being petite is handy for fitting in around the small mountain that you need to take with you and manoeuvring around in the more “cosy” dimensions of your living quarters.

Taking your dog camping
Taking in the views

Having said that, we have friends with much bigger dogs and they all cope well and enjoy the company of each other. This is an important factor to consider when taking you dog camping with you – Does your dog socialise with other dogs regularly? If they don’t, going away and mixing with strange dogs will be stressful for you and them so try to integrate opportunities for this at home before embarking on a trip with them.

Most dogs do really enjoy going camping because they are with their best buddies (you) and of course, spending lots of time outside.

Taking your Dog Camping at Haw Wood Farm
Dog Walking Field at Haw Wood Farm

Campsite

It sounds obvious, but make sure your destination is dog friendly when booking. Some sites don’t allow dogs, or they do but have a gigantic list of rules suggesting that they are not that keen on them and will keep you under close surveillance for the duration of your “relaxing” holiday!

So, check out what is available at your campsite: A big designated dog walking area, doggy wash points or even doggy showers are all good signs that the campsite understand the needs of dogs and their parents.

Most campsites, whatever their take on dogs, will require that dogs are tied up whilst on site. This is an obvious health and safety precaution because of feral children on the loose, other animals on site, etc. So do make sure you take an extra long lead or perhaps even set up a zipline, so they do not feel over-restricted.

Taking your dog camping to Red Shoot Camping Park
Relaxing at Red Shoot Camping Park

Entertainment

When taking your dog camping, do make regular use of the “dog walk” areas and take the opportunity to explore the area around you with your faithful friend. Involve your children as well – many won’t need asking as they love to play with their best pal, but take toys and balls and play fetch for as long as you can manage. Of course, the more purposeful exercise you do with them, the quieter and happier they are likely to be at camp (this applies to children as well as dogs!)

Taking your dog Camping
Fun with friends

You may have some family days out planned away from the campsite. Always check that where you are going is dog friendly be it the beach, nature walks or particular family entertainment spots such as theme parks, castles, museums, etc.  For some of these it is highly likely that dogs would not be permitted so prior to your trip, it would be worth checking if your campsite is able to help or if they know of local, reputable “dog-sitting” services to save someone missing out on the trip.

I know it sounds obvious, but don’t leave dogs in the car for day trips such as this – they can cope for short periods, but longer ones make them miserable and, in the summer, the temperature quickly rises inside cars.

Taking your dog camping - Doggy friendly beach essential
Doggy friendly beach essential!

Packing

Dogs are simpler to pack for than children as they need far less clothes (lapdogs an exception), but this will still need some thought to ensure your trip is stress-free.

It is worth having a designated doggy bag with their stuff in so it’s easy to find and after all, they are a family member. The obvious inclusions are bed, lead, toys, food and bowl. Make sure you also take a bottle and bowl when you are mobile, so they have regular access to water when you are out and about. A good stash of old towels is useful after walks, beach trips, submerging in swamps, etc as you want to keep your tent as clean as possible. You might consider having a designated “wet area” in the tent if you all come in from the rain so that you can keep sleeping/living quarters clean and dry.

Oh, and poo bags. In every pocket. Of everything you own.

Taking your dog camping to Herding Hill Farm
Taking in the views at Herding Hill Farm, Northumberland

Selection of Lovely Camp and Glamping Sites that welcome dogs:

Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

Herding Hill Farm, Northumberland

Point Farm, Pembrokeshire

Deepdale Backpackers and Camping, Norfolk

Haw Wood Farm, Suffolk

Greenway Touring and Glamping Park, Shropshire

Petruth Paddocks, Somerset

Stowford Meadows, Devon

Forest Glade Holiday Park, Devon

Red Shoot Camping Park, Hampshire

Camping in Spring – Campsites with Baby Animals

The Easter holidays are upon us and new life is sprouting everywhere from the abundance of blossom in the trees and hedges to the lambs kicking up their heels in the spring grass.

It is a perfect time to get the children interested in the nature and animals that surround them. Time to go hunting for tadpoles in the brook, to watch the ducklings attempt their first swim on the pond, to grow carrots in the garden. It is also a great time to see baby animals in the wild and on farms.

If you are keen to get camping in spring, there are many campsites based on farms or that have pet areas where children can get involved in feeding lambs, stroking rabbits, giggling at pigs and learning about a variety of animals. This can provide a fantastic extra dimension to your holiday and help cement some magical memories.

For those that are heading further south over the Easter holidays, we have found 5 campsites with baby animals on site where the children can get involved and make new furry (or woolly) friends:

1. Fontmills Farm

Fontmills Farm Campsite in East Sussex is based on a 140-acre family farm so you will be surrounded by green space and fresh air.  Easter marks the peak lambing season for the family with their Blue Texel flock.  This means that lucky campers will get to see the tiniest of lambs over the Easter holidays and see them playing in the fields around the campsite (who needs TV?!)

The Davis family are ably assisted by Floss the border collie sheep dog (when she fancies it), the horses Jonesy and Harry, and the cats – Ethel and Ernie who enjoy the occasional chat with campers.

2. Stowford Farm Meadows

Stowford Farm Meadows in North Devon, is set amongst an incredible 500 acres of rolling countryside and mature woodland providing fabulous views and a safe environment for your perfect family camping holiday.  From there, you can explore the blossoming hedgerows and woodland to find chicks in nests, rabbits, hares and numerous wild animals.

You could also venture into Petorama, their indoor petting zoo where you can see and touch baby goats, piglets, rabbits, guinea pigs, degus, plus lots more.

3. Walton Court

Walton Court is a small working farm in the heart of the welsh countryside. As you enter the site, you will pass by their pond that has an abundance of wildlife: from the regular visiting mute swans, moorhens, wild ducks, a kingfisher, woodpeckers and herons to the frogspawn and tadpoles during spring.

Camping in spring time at Walton Court means that you will see their flock of sheep adjusting to their new little ones, with “lamb gangs” in full force.

4. Petruth Paddocks

Petruth Paddocks offers wild camping in wide open spaces where children are free to climb trees and hide in the hedges, fish for tadpoles in the rhynes (ditches) or take a ride on the back of the quad bike with Jules.

Their animal section includes pigs, goats and sheep and they offer animal tours every weekend during the summer where they encourage campers to come and say hello to the team.

5. The Farm Camp

The Farm Camp in Wiltshire offers something a little different where the family can become truly immersed in countryside living. Over Easter, they are in full swing with “lambing live” and have dedicated staff to offer experiences in farm craft and sheep herding amongst a raft of other activities.

A beautifully rural site, within fields and woodland, this is prime memory-making time for the whole family as you relax into the beautifully furnished bell tents with wood burning stoves to keep you cosy.

Many wait until summer for their holiday, but they could be missing out on some of the magical moments up for grabs by camping in spring. Having a look for campsites with animals could be a great way to get an early holiday in – just remember to take a few extra layers!

7 Amazing Days Out for February Half-Term

Are you looking for some fresh ideas to try out over this February half-term with your family?  Well, we are passionate about finding great experiences for families interested in nature, animals and being active outdoors. So, we have found 7 amazing experiences to help you create beautiful memories with your loved ones:

1. West Midlands Safari Park

Mammoth fun to be had this February half-term!
From 16th February, West Midland Safari Park is open daily for the main summer season and to kick-start the year, they will once again be holding their annual Explorers Week!

During the event, guests will be invited to help onsite palaeontologist, Dr. Nock find some missing Ice Age animals. They will do this by exploring the Park’s new Ice Age exhibit, collecting facts about the animals they encounter. Once they have completed this challenge, they will be able to collect a prize. There will also be the chance to do some fun arts and crafts in the Discovery Room and be in with the chance of winning a Safari Park Annual Pass, by taking a selfie with the woolly mammoths.

To find out more click here.

2. Oaker Wood Leisure

Oaker Wood Leisure is an outdoor activity and Glamping Centre based in Herefordshire. This February half-term we have 2 great outdoor activities for children:

Multi-Activity Day for children aged 7-12 years.

Wed 20th Feb – 9 -3.30pm – £24.50

A full day of outdoor activities including Assault Course, Zip Wire, Climbing, Woodland Krypton Adv trail and more.

Teen Paintball Afternoon

Wed 20th Feb – 12.45 – 3.30pm

£15pp

For more information click here

See this video for more info about our Childrens activity days in school holidays

3. Trentham Monkey Forest

Why not monkey around this half term… get outdoors and walk with 140 free ranging monkeys!

Trentham Monkey Forest, located in Staffordshire, reopens just in time for February half term. The ancient Staffordshire woodland is home to 140 free roaming Barbary macaques. With no cages or bars these endangered monkeys live in freedom within the 60-acre forest. Visitors can walk the ¾ of a mile woodland walk to get an up-close insight into the lives of this fascinating species.

Monkey Forest reopens from the 16th February. For more information, seasonal opening times and to book online visit www.monkey-forest.com.

4. Wicksteed Park

You can expect oodles of excitement at Wicksteed Park this February Half-Term! There’s something for everyone and every weather!

Zoolab will be visiting with their creepy crawlies and furry friends and letting you get up close and personal whilst learning all about them! We have a new orienteering course ready to test your skills and our Archery course will be available too! Our amazing clip ‘n climb and play factory will be open as usual and we have a special ride wristband price of just £10 for 12 rides that will be available throughout the day!!  That’s less than £1 a ride and you can go on as many times as you like!! Wow! Even more amazing, if you book online you can get 15% discount!

Some of these sessions need to be booked in advance so head to our website to find out more and book while there’s still space! www.wicksteedpark.org/FebHalfTerm

5. The Jungle Hut

Visit The Jungle Hut – a unique jungle explorer themed hut in Earlswood near Solihull – and get up close and personal with some amazing exotic animals. They offer a Jungle Ranger 5*, value for money, unique and personal exotic animal encounter that no one else offers!

Have a family bonding adventure, share first-time experiences and make memories together, while meeting creatures that include millipedes, chameleons, geckos, tortoise, snakes, tarantulas and much more!

The young ones of the family will also receive a signed junior explorer certificate from the jungle ranger at the end of the tour. Great for a weekend or holiday visit, birthday party, educational groups and so much more, The Jungle hut also has a unique gift shop selling fair trade hand made products and gifts from around the world.

For more information or to book your visit, go to the website (no payment required on booking.)

6. The Heights of Abraham

Head for the Heights (Matlock Bath, Derbyshire), open from the 9th of February, and every day during half term. (10am – 4.30pm daily). The spectacular award winning tourist attraction takes visitors on a stunning cable car ride with views across the Derwent Valley to a hilltop 60 acre landscaped woodland Estate. Once you arrive by cable car all the attractions are free. Indoor Galleries and Exhibitions, Adventure playgrounds, guided tours through illuminated showcaves deep underground, cafes, snack bars and a fully licensed restaurant with fine views across the valley.  Visit the website for more details and purchase your tickets online for the best deal!

Also, Valentine’s Day marks the start of a four-day Heights of Abraham special occasion celebrating friendship and family (Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th February.) Check out our video to find out more about our “Love is in the Air” special event.

7. Hoglets

If you’re heading to Amerton Farm in Staffordshire for a day out this February half-term, then join Hoglets in Billy’s Farm Barn as they ‘create a love’ for our British Garden Birds!

You’ll find them in the party room from the 18th-22nd (9:30am-4:30pm) where you can choose from a variety of bird-related activities – decorate your own bird box, make a bird feeder or create your own British bird!

All activities are priced between £3-£5 but please note that this is in addition to Farm Barn entry fees!

Once you’ve finished creating, learn some facts about our favourite, feathered friends by completing some fun, FREE educational activities!

Every participating child will receive a FREE bird spotting sheet to take home and a FREE bird glider!

For more information click here