We’ve wanted to take Phoebe and Frank to a freedom field for so long, and over the weekend, we finally made it down to Paddocks for Paws, in Bradnop, Staffordshire.
The three acre field costs £8 for 50 minutes, with £1 per additional dog, which is plenty of time for them to wear themselves out!
Phoebe and Frank never go off leash on regular walks for a number of reasons. Over the last three years, we’ve been working with Phoebe to reduce her fear-induced reactivity to other dogs, and therefore, wouldn’t want to risk an unfortunate incident setting her back. We always thought Frank could go off leash perfectly fine, because he’s a real velcro dog – but we wouldn’t want to let one off and not the other. Not only that, but they’ve not had much recall training, which is something we’d have to work on a lot before considering off leash walking.
But Paddocks for Paws offers a safe and secure place to let your dogs run around to their hearts content, with new smells, new sounds, new experiences, without the worry of having another dog come bounding over.
The purpose built enclosure features six-foot fencing all the way around. Before letting Phoebe and Frank off, we of course double checked there was no damage to any of the fencing, or gaps they may try to squeeze through. The field is open from 5.30am to 10.30pm every day of the week, and is flood lit, making it perfect for early mornings, late nights, or as we head towards the autumn/winter season.
We parked up on the private car park and made sure to lock the gate behind us before letting the scamps off their leads. Phoebe was, as expected, straight off exploring and scent marking, whilst Frank was a little more cautious about wandering off. That said, he soon warmed up to the adventure, and ran laps around the field, frequently checking in with us for a bit of frankfurter, which we’ve discovered to be a fab recall reward.
Inside the paddock, which is on a quiet road overlooking a field of sheep, there is a bench under a shelter that owners can sit on whilst their dogs run around. There is also a poo bag dispenser in case you’ve forgotten your own, and a bin to dispose of your waste in. for the dogs, there is a paddling pool for the warmer weather, and a selection of toys provided by the lovely family that run the business. You’re more than welcome to take your own toys, which we also might do next time we visit, as Phoebe loves playing tug-o-war.
Near the entrance of the field, there is a washing up bowl that you can fill up from the large water butt to offer tired dogs a fresh drink, which Phoebe and Frank kept coming back to between racing around the field.
As the weather had been on the miserable side all week, we donned wellies to the field, but their drainage is brilliant and the ground wasn’t at all wet! Obviously, I can’t promise it will never be muddy, but we were impressed by the fact we didn’t need to bag up our boots after the session. But don’t worry, if your dogs do get a bit mucky in the field, there’s a little station where you can hose off their paws before they jump back in the car!
Phoebe loved one of the balls she found in the field, and was trotting around the place with it teasing Frank. The pair of them chased each other, and us, around the field, and we found that after about half an hour they were done in. During the last 20 minutes of the session, mum popped into the Honesty Paws Pod to get us all a cuppa and a slice of cake.
The pod sells homemade cakes and biscuits, dog treats, fresh eggs, dog collars and gifts, as well as hot drinks, for a small price tag, enough to cover costs. There is an honesty box by the brew-making station where people can post change for what they buy. Outside the pod, there are also plants and flowers for sale, and over the wall beside the pod, you’ll be able to spot the chickens that have laid the eggs on sale – you can’t get much fresher than that!
The Victoria sponge was delicious, with proper fresh cream and thick jam – and the cup of tea was just what we needed to warm up before hoping back in the car. Just be sure to pop any rubbish in the bin before you go, and if you need a wee, there is a porta-cabin on site for visitors to use.
Paddocks for Paws gave Phoebe and Frank the opportunity to burn off some energy, as well as offer mental stimulation, in a safe environment where as owners, we could relax and just let them enjoy themselves. We loved the field so much, as soon as I got home, I booked them in again for in a fortnight’s time. The dogs were shattered all evening, and even the next day!