AN UNUSUAL park opened in Hurworth, near Darlington, last weekend.

Dog Haven is a space for dog-owners to take their dogs, ensuring plenty of exercise for their canine companions.

This may raise the question, ‘Why not take a dog to a conventional park?’

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The answer to this is, not all dogs cope well with being in a busy park, and some don’t get on with other dogs.

The Northern Echo: Dog Haven is run by a family of dog-owners. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTDog Haven is run by a family of dog-owners. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Some dog-owners experience issues when walking their dogs in public places and thus are hesitant to let their furry friends of the lead, meaning making sure their dog gets adequate exercise can be more difficult.

Dog Haven, located at Copse Haven, Roundhill Road, Hurworth Moor, Darlington, is a space for owners to bring their dogs and let them off the lead without worrying about their pet getting into bother.

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Although very popular in the United States and Australia, dog exercise parks are few and far between in the UK.

At Dog Haven, a maximum of three dog-owners with a maximum of three dogs each are allowed to be in the park at any one time as there is only parking capacity for three.

As a family-run business, Fiona Lennox, who is running the dog park with her sister and brother-in-law, was keen to emphasise that they are not running a big commercial facility.

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Fiona said: “We’re not running a huge operation in the hopes of making millions. We just thought, we’ve got the space so why not let people bring their dogs to get some exercise without the fear and dread that can come when letting a dog off the lead in a busy public space.

“We live here so we’re not a faceless corporation with a commercial field, this is our home.

“We have dogs ourselves so we can empathise with dog-owners. They have to be free to run around and get rid of some energy in a safe environment.”

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Fiona mentioned the park can also be used to socialise dogs in a safe space and for training purposes.

Having applied for planning permission back in Autumn 2020, the plan was approved in February 2021.

Fiona said: “It’s been a long time coming but we’re excited that it’s finally happening.”


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