Tuesday, 21 September 2021

When to keep dog on lead

WHAT is nicer than a breezy walk on a Sunday morning with the family and the dog?

“Put the dog on the lead, there are sheep in this field.”

“She’s all right.”

“That’s what they all say!”

“No, it’s what I say, she’ll do what I say.”

Yes, a black Lab, so she probably will, but is it good to let your children see you openly defying what the farmer has requested in writing for all to see? Would it hurt you or your dog to put it on a lead for two fields?

You can see the sheep have lifted their heads from grazing and are eyeing the dog warily; they may well be pregnant already and are visibly agitated, they do not know yours is a well-trained dog. Respect the farmer, this is his land. Yes, we have a right of way but he has a livelihood. Do not put our walks in danger through laziness and selfishness!

The fallow deer are grunting and bellowing in Stonor Park, trotting to and fro between the rival bucks, one group to the left of the main gateway and another hidden up in the woods to the right.

Now you can stop for refreshments at the Woodland Wonder Café and rejoin the path.

For Culham Park, where there is an equally active herd of white fallow deer, there is a well-marked path to the left beside the house just as you leave Remenham Hill, plunging down to join the Thames Path and then to Aston or to Hurley, where refreshments are also available. Dogs should definitely be on short leads in these parks!

In the garden the mild weather means that foxglove and borage are out, on seedlings which should not flower until next summer, the raspberries are in flower again and buff-tailed bumble bees are visiting the blue florets of the rosemary bush and the ivy. You may also see red admirals in a sunny corner.

The wild strawberries have produced a second crop — run your hand over their miniature leaves and you may find a glimpse of red underneath but examine carefully for slugs before eating!

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