Why Surrey’s countryside is so good for our four-legged friends

Surrey is a haven for man's best friend

Surrey is a haven for man's best friend - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This month Paul Kerensa waxes lyrical on the benefits of the Surrey countryside for us and our four-legged friends

This issue’s overhearings span two coffee shops: one in leafy Surrey, and the other in an up-and-coming urban habitat just to our north-east, called London. It’s a bit built-up. You wouldn’t like it.

Well the feeling’s mutual according to one visitor to a Surrey Hills café. The Londoner at the next table asked her local friend why on earth she didn’t live in London.

What could Surrey possibly offer that the capital couldn’t? Her friend simply gestured out of the window, to the leafiness beyond.

The next day in a London café, I overheard a conversation about the lack of dog-walking spaces. Coffee-drinker 1 lived in North London, a half-mile walk from her nearest postage-stamp-sized patch of green.

Coffee-drinker 2 said she had wanted a dog, but given the lack of parkland, chose a hamster instead. At least you don’t have to walk it, she said.

We got a dog last year, and while I can’t say her daily walk is a constant joy, it’s got our legs moving and opened our eyes to Surrey’s rural treasures. We’re five minutes from the North Downs, yet before, we rarely visited.

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We’re regulars now, enjoying farmland views to the south, and green and pleasant landscape to the north, punctuated by Guildford Cathedral, Woking tower blocks and Heathrow Airport in the distance.

Look towards London on a clear day, and there’s Canary Wharf, housing big business but little for dog-walkers or greenery-seekers. For them, we’re here for weekend visits. Come on down, London: Surrey’s open, with free admittance.

Yorkshire may be nicknamed ‘God’s own county’, but I’m pretty sure He frequently tends to Surrey. Perhaps we’re the divine allotment, kept nice for visitors. We live in one giant National Trust garden.

Do visit the gift shop (and if you stop via the café, just bear in mind your conversations may be overheard and turned into magazine articles).

Of course, many don’t have a choice where they live. But to any Londoners who can’t understand why on earth anyone would live out in Surrey, come and walk our earth, take a lungful of our air home with you.

Enjoy a walk around one of our parks or commons, or the view from Newlands Corner or St Martha’s or the Chantries. If it makes you green with envy, you’ll simply blend in.

Twitter: @paulkerensa

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