On Friday, with time to kill in Peterborough, we headed to Rutland Water but never reached it because about three miles out we came across a local country park. Wow! Ferry Meadows was the best find we have had in ages. The car park is huge (fees apply) and with a number plate recognition system you can even pay online if you can’t find a machine or even forget to pay! Ferry Meadows is part of the Nene Park Trust which is not state funded, so we were happy to pay up.
People used all sorts of transport within the park. We saw dog strollers, push chairs, bikes and one aspiring little Jensen Button used his blue motorised car, complete with parasol, to keep him cool. That’s him on the right of the picture.
The range of activities stunned us, with something for everyone. You can walk, cycle, play, horse-ride, take a train ride, go fishing, exercise the dog, jog and explore meadows, lakes and woodland. With outdoor learning opportunities for children, easy access for people with disabilities and a wide ranging ongoing programme, this is a really interesting place. It is a veritable treasure, less than three miles from Peterborough city centre!
There is a code of conduct for visitors to the park and as dogs were asked to be responsible and to care for everyone and everything, which of course we did.
We were most interested in facilities for doggy days out and the first thing we noticed was a permanent agility course.
Although Josef hasn’t done agility since he was injured about two years ago, he was ready for the off. Jumping through the tyre and the tunnel, over the jumps, on the board walk and then weaving to perfection, we were impressed. Who says dogs have no memory! Josef thinks Ruth Harris would have been proud of him.
One dog we will always remember is Milo, the cutest little dude you ever saw. He came and talked to us when we had a snack at the café. His Mum told us he was “only a mongrel” but we weren’t having that! Some people might call him a designer dog because he is a Chinese Crested cross poodle of whom his family are justly proud. We loved him. Meet Milo!
Ferry Meadows has a vast acreage where dogs can run freely and experience all sorts of new adventures, with some mown and some rough grass, trees, and tarmac tracks, although as it was hot on our little paws, we avoided the hard standing areas. Our picture shows just one tiny area.
With schools still out, there were loads of children about, but as Ferry Meadows is so huge they were quite widely scattered so we hardly noticed them. Whether people come here alone, with their families, or dogs, this is like a land of discovery.
Signposts point you in all directions, from play areas to wildlife hides, bluebell woods to a miniature railway, and a café where dogs are heartily welcomed and treated like royalty by the young, enthusiastic staff. There are plenty of picnic tables for visitors, and a magnificent ice cream place, where adult and child size cones are served. Josef’s was child sized!
As if that were not enough, there is a huge lake, where some of the local lovelies were sitting to enjoy their victuals and take in the view.
If you have good sea legs, you can even take a boat trip around the lake, embarking at a little landing stage near the visitor centre. As Mum took our stroller to carry the kitchen sink she brought with us, we decided against a boat trip this time.
Some of the stuff in the park was both decorative and useable. Mum took a shine to a beautiful wood carving of a duck with her little ones tucked into her side. It was big enough to sit on, and several children enjoyed some happy play time on Mrs. Duck.
Mum was very keen to see the miniature railway, so we sat under a tree to wait for it to come past. It was very exciting, and it even had a stroller carriage, which was full. Perhaps when the children are back at school we will try to get a ride on this little train ourselves.
Our final visit of the day was to the Visitor Centre Shop, where the staff made a huge fuss of us and were impressed to learn we were journalists and intended to write about them! This is an exceptional gift and souvenir shop, with many unique items, and plenty of dog orientated goods, some of it hand crafted. It is wonderful to find a shop where nothing on sale is familiar, and you’d like one of everything. We should have confiscated Mum’s credit card!
One more thing, they asked us to let all our readers know about a special day of activities they have planned just for dogs on 10th September. In our opinion, you would be barking mad to miss it.
Find out more by visiting;- http://www.neneparktrust.org.uk
Woofs Emma Teckel – Repawter