Mother and son are walking with a dog

Canine walks in the English countryside

Caroline Stringer is the Publications Officer at Battersea Dogs & Cats, and Editor of the Home’s quarterly magazine, Paws. Caroline shares her great day out to River Lee Country park with her dogs, including former Battersea residents Star and Alf.

Every dog at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home enjoys getting out to our exercise paddocks, sensory garden and agility courses. They love hurdling jumps (or knocking them over!), trying out the tunnel and balancing on the A frame.

I doubt whether my three dogs will ever scale the heights that some of our agility pros at the Home achieve, but they do like to make a valiant attempt.

So when we drove to the 1,000 acre River Lee Country Park, which straddles Essex and Hertfordshire, we discovered it was perfect for an agile day out, and several more days out since.

As well as delivering beautiful walks around the gravel pit lakes, on wide and solid pathways, and along the River Lee itself, the park made good on its promise to get close to nature (not too close – we kept the canine wildlife fanciers under control). Although we didn’t spot any otters, we could see their track-ways, and was that a bittern wading through the reeds?

After a brew and a sarnie at the Park Farm, which has enough furries to keep youngsters happy for hours, we continued our walk and found, guess what, a 500-metre outdoor dog agility course! This, believe me, is a rarity, but what a brilliant idea.

Jumps, hoops, a tunnel, high walks and an A frame – this was amazing fun; ten solid wooden obstacles spaciously laid out on level grassed ground and mostly in two sizes, so everyone could have a go.

The country park scored very highly for both canine and human enjoyment, stimulating their minds while chilling ours. It has loads of parking too, and the agility course is close to Cheshunt rail station.

Star, Alf and Sergei probably won’t see you in the Main Ring at Crufts next year – but they may well appear sometime very soon at Lee Valley.

For more inspiration on days out around the UK, see other Days Out blogs

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