How We Got Here....
Our family have lived and farmed at ‘Lions Den’ since the 80s. It is thought the farm originally got it’s name from ‘Mr Daniels’ that lived here…Daniel and the Lions Den!
My background has always been in animal behaviour, specialising in dogs. I have trained dogs privately, lectured in animal behavior and currently work for an assistance dog charity. I wanted a project to get stuck into, but one that would really benefit dogs and owners in our local area and beyond. I knew that there are already some fantastic dog exercise fields around here that people love using, but there was nothing that featured landscape other than a grass. Knowing that a happy dog is a sniffing dog, we set to work figuring out if we could open up our unused, overgrown area of woodland, ‘Linghowe Plantation’.
The first step was to seek planning permission, and after this we booked our fencing contractor. We then waited until the crop of wheat that was in the field was ready to harvest, and nesting birds had flown off before we could start work. The farmers of the family were more than happy to allow me use a section of their field for this venture, as historically is has never produced the best crops with being on the North side of a wood.
My Husband, Father and I (with a little help from our 2-year-old) set to work clearing fallen branches and briers from the wood. Not only did this leave space for people and dogs to enjoy, but it gave our beautiful old trees a chance to prosper.
The fencing was put up in a record two days in early September! At 1.94m high, dug into the ground, and featuring a double gated entry system we were really pleased with how it turned out.
Whilst my Husband and Dad focused on bringing running water and a dog wash to the area, I worked tirelessly designing, making and painting the dog play equipment. I wanted to provide equipment for dogs to climb and explore, but also wanted it to be safe and accessible to all types of dogs. This is why I designed wider equipment at a lower height. I also made an investment in the best rubber chip surface which provides grip and helps to prevent any injuries from dogs slipping. I have so many ideas for more play equipment to include in the future…watch this space! Whilst it was very hard work for us all doing this whilst working, harvesting and trying to be the best parents that we could, I secretly really enjoyed the challenge!
My Dad expertly turned a fallen old tree form the Plantation into a bench, and upcycled a horse box, fitting it with comfy seating and creating ‘Leo’s Lair’.
Finally, it was down to our gorgeous 13-year-old Izzy dog to test out the area, and she gave it a big WOOF of approval!
This project has been a real labour of love for myself and my family. It is has been great to watch an area filled with nature and history finally become somewhere that everyone can come to enjoy with their four pawed friends. We hope you fall in love with it, and make memories there just like we have.