Saturday, 16 May 2015

For pooch or not for pooch - that is the question

I am often asked just how friendly we are - not in the "have a nice day" kind of friendly - no, far more important than that. 

Just exactly how dog friendly are we here in Northumberland?

Well, let me give you a little flavour of what is on offer and then you can decide for yourself.


Beaches - renowned for them we are - lots and lots of them, all gorgeous, mainly lovely sand, usually deserted. 

Miles and Miles to Play

More than 30 miles of beautiful, Beagle friendly beaches and breathtaking scenery including an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and areas of Special Scientific Interest, Nature Reserves, wild bird breeding grounds and migration haunts.

Ross Beach

Psst. keep it to yourself but Ross is our favourite. 

Miles of sand where the seals come ashore to bask in the sun.  

Ross to Lindisfarne
We especially love setting up a BBQ in the dunes for breakfast and then run with the dogs while we watch the sun come up over Holy Island and Bamburgh
Budle Bay to Lindisfarne
Of course the water is award winningly clean. So splashing Springers can splurge and splidge until their Springer has sprunger.  
St. Aidan's Beach to Bamburgh

St. Aidan's is a lovely stretch from majestic Bamburgh to the little fishing village of  Seahouses. Lovely views to The Farne Islands - a really nice chase from one end to the other - and back!

Image courtesy of the National Trust
Farne Puffins

If you fancy getting up close and personal with the seals, whales, dolphins, shags and puffins (and the many other wonderful birds that breed on the Farnes), then a canny canine catamaran cruise might be right up your street. 
Seal - Photo Courtesy of
Serenity Boats

Many boat companies allow pooches onto their trips, including Golden Gate, Serenity and Glad Tidings

With a different beach for every day of your stay, the sand and space is second to none - allowing for hours and hours of ball catching, frisby fetching frolicking for your Flat Coat Retrievers  - all year round. From Berwick to Amble, each little cove or huge stretch of beach has its own distinctive charm, some with amenities, some just with the weather. Maybe your Affenpinscher will ask to go to Alnmouth,  your Cavalier clambers for Cocklawburn, your Newfoundland needs Newton by the Sea, or you simply  want to wear out your Waimaraner in Warkworth. Northumberland will have a beach that is sure to be just right for you - whatever the weather, whatever your fancy.

And if your Vizslas enjoy a vista - well how about this? 
Bamburgh Beach September
Majestic Bamburgh castle

NT 1112 (8) Dunstanburgh Castle and Low Newton

Or This?  

OK -  think you get my driftwood - there are more castles in Northumberland than anywhere else in the UK.  

Image courtesy of the National Trust
Breathtaking Clifftop Walk from
Craster to Dunstanburgh

Many of the county's countless castles are visible from the beach walks, and some allow dogs in the grounds but not always inside. 

Warkworth and Dunstanburgh both allows dogs on leads for example.  

And when you have had enough of the beach and castles, why not head inland to wander the National Park?   

Whether you want to challenge yourselves on the Cheviots, have a Game Of Thrones moment while hiking Hadrian's Wall, or even getting your head around the history and invention of Cragside, there are lots of interesting walks and diverse places to explore with pooch. 

English Heritage staff at Hadrian's Wall in their cloaksImage courtesy of Visit Northumberland

Some places do not allow pooch inside but all of the places listed welcome dogs in the grounds.
Image courtesy of Northumberland Tourism
Dog friendly Barter Books

And if you fancy resting weary legs, there are many other places that welcome dogs in Northumberland, including the world famous Barter Books.

When hunger hounds your Hovawart, there are many friendly bodacious bites to be wolfed down in pooch friendly eateries - all washed down with a big slurp of water from one of the many water bowls left out.  More and more bars and restaurants welcome our four legged family members, meaning they don't miss out on wall the fun.  The list ever grows, and this is current as of blogtime, but some of the most popular include The Bothy, at the Barn at Beal; The Crown and Anchor on Holy Island; The Joiners Arms, Newton by the Sea; Craster's The Jolly Fisherman; The Victoria Hotel in Bamburgh; The Black Swan, Seahouses; The Hope and Anchor, Alnmouth; Warkworth House Hotel, Warkworth; The Black Bull, Wooler; The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses; The Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel in Embleton; Berwick's 1 Sallyport; Beal's The Lindisfarne InnThe Schooner in Alnmouth; The Ship Inn at Low Newton; The Apple Inn, Lucker; The Sun Inn, Alnmouth; The Lord Crewe, Bamburgh; The Ship Inn at Holy Island; The Shoreline Cafe, Craster; The Schooner Inn, Seahouses; Cafe Crema, Berwick; The LInks Hotel, Seahouses; The Dandelion Cafe, in Alnmouth; The Mason's Arms, Warkworth; The Anchor Inn, Wooler; The Craster Arms in Beadnell; The Pack Horse Inn, Ellingham; The Ocean Club, Seahouses; Tankerville Arms, Wooler; The Barrels Alehouse, Berwick; The Blink Bonny, Christon Bank;  The White Swan, Warenford; The Red Lion in Alnmouth; The Cottage Inn Hotel, Dunstan. Paws for thought though - please contact them before turning up to check they are still as woof welcoming, and that they have availability. Over and above this great choice, nearly every other eatery that has outdoor space also welcome pooches, and most offer water.  And if your little legs are too tired to walk there and back, Croft Cabs will even allow you to take pooch in the taxi with you if you pre-arrange it (07803496278).

If you want to visit somewhere that does not allow your Parsons or Poodles there are good doggie daycare facilities in Northumberland too - but you need your vaccination certificates. We use Tollfield Boarding Kennels in Belford (01668 213607), but there are others around the area - some charge by the day, some by the hour, so there is bound to be one that works best for your needs. 

And of course, you still need somewhere fabulous to stay.

Budle Bay Croft is Quality in Tourism awarded 5* and Pet Friendly (and Family, Walkers, Cyclists and Dark Sky Friendly for that matter too but we don't like to brag).  


What we do offer pooch are private enclosed gardens..., treats, towels, comfy bed and bowls.

There are acres of grounds to explore…


...and even a river to cool down in too. 

And importantly, no charge for dogs to holiday with us.  

So, please let us know your thoughts. Are we dog friendly

Fliss in the 

Budle Bay Croft Forest

Thanks to The English Springer Spaniel Club, The Kennel Club, Affenpinscher ClubBeagles UK, The Newfoundland Club, The Weimaraner Club of Great BritainThe Hovawart Club of Great Britain, the Hungarian Vizsla Society, Trip Advisor, The Evening ChronicleNational TrustNorthumberland BeachesVisit Northumberland, The Good Dog Guide, Rover Recommended, Doggie Pubs, Tollfield Boarding Kennels and to all of the Northumbrian bars, cafes, restaurants and attractions that welcome our dogs!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Daffodils and Dark Skies

Has spring finally sprung?

The temperature is finally creeping up - it has been 12 degrees at Budle Bay Croft over the last few days. Nights are still cold (often frosty with FABULOUS skies - more on this later!), but with that day time temperature, we all start to get excited. This means that the annual cycle of birth and rejuvenation has started!

The daffodils have burst into golden loveliness, adding much welcomed colour, warmth and instant sunshine to the grounds.

Budle Bay Croft Bulbs Blooming!

The grass starts to grow (goodness do we need that - the sheep would have been nibbling each other if winter had gone on much longer!).

The ducks start a laying (and treading and nesting)...

Duck Eggs All In A Row

...and the hens become broody!

Healthy Broody hen

The biggest excitement in springtime however is lambing.

That sun is so bright!

Our girls are starting to "bag up" - yep - it means that you think it does and their udders are getting large.  They are going through more licks than we can get a hold of (high energy, multi vitamins and minerals essential to prevent Twin Lamb Disease). 

Ladies Scanned and Pregnant - Hurrahh! Thank Ewe Lee and Geoff!

Twin Lamb Disease is nasty for the ewes and can cause abortion of the lamb and death for the ewe. It is really easy to treat but hard to prevent. The lambs grow very fast during the first couple of trimesters, but they are small so the demand on mum is quite low. However, during the last 6 weeks or so, they start to get much bigger and place huge demands on mum's body nutritionally, and take up a lot of space limiting what mum can eat. However, she has to eat much more to feed them and often sacrifices her own fat supply to top up their needs. You might think that you just feed them more - which I did until last year when tragedy happened for us. Unfortunately though, if you over feed the ewe, she can struggle to deliver her lambs as they become too large. Now this is more common in singletons, not twins, but none the less is still heartbreaking when she is struggling to deliver a healthy lamb and eventually the lamb suffocates and dies. This happened to us last year and we were heartbroken. Sophie Snow White had gone into labour between my 2 hourly checks during the night and her beautiful boy had to be delivered by me but was already dead. I rely very heavily on the expertise of Lee, Geoff and Graeme to help me keep the flock healthy,  and crucially to rapidly treat any suspected ewes.

Lambs at play

Happily though, mostly we deliver healthy lambs from strong, fit mums.  The lamb images are last year's babies, to whet your appetite for impending news. Hot water and sheets at the ready (well, fresh straw and pens made up as nurseries in the stables!)

Bottle Feeding the Orphans

Oi! What Ewe Looking At?

Before I sign off for now, wanted to share some great news. We have been awarded Dark Sky Friendly at Budle Bay Croft!

This is not really surprising when clever photographers can get shots of the incredible Northern Lights and Milky Way like these!

Amazing Image of the Northern Lights in The Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty close by Budle Bay Croft, expertly taken by I Glendinning and kindly shared by Visit Northumberland
Majestic Shot of The Milky Way over Lindisfarne
 It deservedly stole the Visit Northumberland's judges hearts in the Winter Dark Skies Competition!

And while we cannot promise you will always see skies like these, the Northumbrian clear frosty spring nights offer a great opportunity to increase your chances!  Feeling inspired? Then why not book a stay with us, set the alarm and try to get some images to enter into Visit Northumberland's Spring Dark Sky competition Best of Northumbrian!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Wor Horse - Jaspar's Carrots

You have met the sheep, the hens and the piggies. Now to introduce you to one of the most well loved croft animals, "Wor Horse" Jaspar the rescued Shetland pony.

Jaspar is like a great big fluffy teddy bear and a family and guest favourite. He loves cuddles and especially his top lip being tickled! He seems to grow through the winter when he gets his wooly bear coat, then slims down to super slinky Jaspar in the summer!

Shetland ponies are a small hard working breed that has been around for more than 2000 years.  For their size they are the strongest of all horse breeds and were well used throughout the UK, and especially in the North east of England as pit ponies. Thank you to the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society for the background to this remarkable breed -

We are so grateful to have this little man. He was abandoned in a farmers field when the poor farmer went out of business. A passing vet pulled over a farm worker in a nearby field and asked if he knew who the pony belonged to because if he was not taken off the grass immediately he would die!  He was so fat and could barely move. Apparently (according to our farrier Mick) Shetlands will walk all day in their native country for a few blades of rough grass. When not in their natural habitat, Shetlands, with their barrel belly, are very greedy, and prone to obesity and laminitis. Laminitis is a nasty disorder for horses.  According to Wikipedia, laminitis is a progressive disease that can eventually lead to the horse having to be put to sleep. It does not just affect horses surprisingly, but any ungulates, although horses seem more prone.  For more information on laminitis, please check out  In Jaspar's case, the kindly farm worker rescued him and took him off the field to his own smaller garden to graze.

As luck would have it, the farm worker was none other than our own guardian shepherd Sinky (of the Thank Ewe blog fame;postID=7016434076975598527;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=3;src=postname).

And as these things sometimes are destined to be, one time when he was tending our little flock, I mentioned we would love a small pony. So, off we all trooped to Sinky's garden to see the cheeky chap up close. And it was love at first sight.  Within a day or two, he was our latest addition to the croft.

He is such a nice natured Shetland - which I have since found out is unusual. He does however have their cheeky streak, and he does like to try to show us he is the boss.  But as with most Shetlands, Jaspar can be trained with food. We just shout his name and he knows if he runs over, he will be rewarded with a juicy carrot!

Jasapr was put on healthy diet, and given lots of exercise.

After a few months, we decided to see if he could be ridden. Off he went to a fabulous local riding school, Slate Hall ( and the team led by Marion and Paula, worked their magic on Jaspar.

We went up regularly to help:

From being a muddy field pony, he quickly became the heart melter for the pony club, and when ever we went to see him, he would be brushed to a shine, with hooves perfectly polished and pretty braids in his hair. He was transformed!

He was also broken in and we were told he was one of the nicest Shetland's they'd ever worked with, despite struggling to find a saddle and tack small enough! Check him out jumping here:

It has turned out that our little Jaspar is bomb proof in all areas - riding school, jumping, grooming, transporting,  road and beach walking, even good amongst heavy traffic (well, bin lorries - there is not that much heavy traffic up here usually).  We would often see him being ridden around Seahouses by the pony club girls.  And he loved the other ponies' company too.

But we missed him. Terribly.

So, back he is, at the croft, and we are searching for a little field mate for him. He likes the pigs, ducks, hens, dogs and sheep, but he would love a pony pal. The search is on - in earnest - someone needs to share Wor Horse's carrots!

You can see more of Jaspar and his home at:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Flying Pigs

Yay! The piglets have arrived!  We knew yesterday they would not be very long in coming because mummy had built a big nest to farrow in, and she just could not settle.

She kept coming up to us for back rubs; she made mud wallows; she paced the holding area; she stood up; she lay down; she stood up again, but nothing was comfortable for her, poor thing.

She had a huge feed last night and then this morning, when I crossed the field to the stables, I expected to hear her usual squeal for breakfast but all I heard and saw was Flossie. I quickly fed Flossie then ran into the stables to be greeted by 3 little pigs! They must have flown out!

Mum was still uncomfortable though. She kept standing up, then sitting down, then lying down and in between pushing with her contractions. After an hour of watching her struggle, she finally delivered her fourth and last piglet, and compared to the other three, this one was much bigger.  So that would explain her distress!  What was especially sweet though was how, even as she pushed through the pain of her contractions, she was aware of her other babies and adjusted her tummy so they could still feed! Amazing instinct from this young first time mum!

Check out this You Tube video if you want to see the actual birth:

The piglets have soft downey hair, blue eyes, stuck back ears and the cutest little curly tails! They already know their mum's grunt and she knows their squeaks. When she lies on her side, they sometimes can't reach the top line of teats, so mum wriggles to reveal her lower row to save them stretching too far.

So, after an eventful few hours, and thanks to the grace of Mother Nature, we have Budle Bay Croft's first ever pigs born.  Mum is knackered. Piglets are greedily feeding. What is so adorable to see though, over and above the gorgeous little piglets and their clever mum, is Snooty's pal, Flossie, snuggling up next to them all and looking out for her extended family - so sweet!