Compassion in World Farming's Dil Peeling on his perfect Surrey weekend

As the director of public affairs at animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming, which has its headquarters in Godalming, DIL PEELING has a pretty busy time during the week

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2012

As the director of public affairs at animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming, which has its headquarters in Godalming, DIL PEELING has a pretty busy time during the week – so, come the weekend, he enjoys taking advantage of the beautiful Surrey countryside to relax and unwind…

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Since my recent move back from Ethiopia where I was working as a vet, I have been craving all things British. Not only that but I have brought over my two children, who are nine and 11, and have never been to England before. Starting their adventure in Surrey has not disappointed.

I’m a big fan of cycling and my weekend often begins by cycling home to Haslemere via a new track through the Devil’s Punchbowl. The bike ride is great; trundling through the woodland spotting deer and listening to the evening birdsong helps me relax after a hectic week. The long uphill push is paid for by the long downhill coasting in the morning on my way to work.

One of the things I missed most about England was a good pint of real ale, so I stop off at the Fox and Pelican in Grayshott for a pint of Fuller’s latest seasonal ale. I waited five years for a pint of the dark stuff, so I don’t think that novelty will wear off any time soon. I’ve also enjoyed introducing the family to British traditions, and one of the things I like most is treating them to a Friday fish dinner at Frankie’s Traditional Fish & Chip Restaurant.

Friday nights out used to be cut short so I could get back home in time to watch my old favourite Have I Got News For You, but thanks to the genius iPlayer that popped up while I was abroad, I can watch it any time and take a leisurely journey home.

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On Saturdays, catching up with my friends who live in Farnham and Leatherhead is always a pleasure and usually involves them taking me to their favourite restaurants. I also enjoy eating at La Luna in Godalming. They recently changed their menu to include higher welfare meat, rather than the lower welfare, continental veal they used to serve. This of course gets the thumbs up from Compassion in World Farming! 

Down on the farmI’d forgotten how good spending time in the British countryside was, with so much open space – one of my favourite places to visit is the Manor Farm reserve in West Byfleet. This restored farmland has seen the welcome return of many different wildlife species. It’s a far cry from the farmland lived on by the nomadic tribes I worked with in Africa, and serves as a great reminder of why I work for Compassion in World Farming.

I would like to see the people of the world take pride in our livestock and how we keep them, making farming systems that are better for people, the planet and of course the animals. A return to the traditional mixed farms like Manor Farm would tick all the boxes.

Sunday often brings mountain biking with the kids up Box Hill. Stunning views are accompanied by a picnic with yet more British grub – strawberries and scones. And of course lashings of cream!

As much as I enjoy the great outdoors, I am not adverse to an afternoon at one of our great local cinemas. Borough Hall in Godalming and Haslemere Hall play old, quirky films and the original features really add to the whole experience. Another draw of moving to Surrey was that, if the urge for something more cosmopolitan arises, London is just 30 minutes on the train. I am yet to take the kids to a West End show but it is at the top of our ‘to do’” list.

For more information on Compassion in World Farming, see their website at