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Dogs are not just ‘accepted’ at Riverdale Lodges, we actually LOVE to see you bring your dog(s). We don’t see dogs as a nuisance that we have to deal with, we really like to have dogs around at the park and we see dogs as a joy and enrichment that brings out the best of what we have to offer.

Many guests have nicknamed Riverdale Lodges to be Doggy Paradise and we have a lot of extra facilities in place for dogs and provide a lot of extras to make your stay with your dog(s) even more enjoyable and worry-free. As seasoned dog-people ourselves, we know the practicalities that will make your holiday with dog(s) even better! We provide dog beds (call it our doggy pillow-menu, as we will ask you what type of dog bed your friend prefers, or even a crate on request), dog-towels, bowls, brushes, toys, etcetera.

And, maybe unusual but for us no doubt about: dogs can be off the lead and play and run around at the park, as long as you supervise your dog(s) and clean up after them. We love to see dogs playing and having a good time, rather then seeing them dragged from the car to the lodge on a tight lead! Actually, if you allow them a sniff around on arrival (please do!), we think that dogs can smell that other dogs felt happy and relaxed here, and we believe that this is one of the reasons that dogs settle so well at the lodges.

Dogs also love to have a swim in the river, and even water-shy dogs got the hang of it thanks to the shallow water at the pebble beaches along the nearest walk, the “long-way-around” to get to the village. Then there is the hot-shower dog wash that makes life a lot easier if you are out and about on a muddy winter day and want to cuddle up on the sofa when you return from a good walk.

A browse through our reviews will quickly show you that there is a huge difference between “accepting dogs” and being truly and utterly dog-friendly, and which side we are on! In fact, if we on a rare occasion have a reservation without a dog, the first thing we do is checking that the no-dog guests at least LIKE to see dogs around, and tell them they’ll be the only one without a dog, because you would be at the wrong place if you don’t like dogs. This will make you feel a lot more welcome with your dogs than when you constantly have to worry about how other guests feel about your dogs! You will be amongst dog lovers, all the way!

We have a lot of doggy pictures made by our guests. Please have a look! And even more in the album “Guests Pictures” on our Facebook page, constantly growing!

Being utterly and truly dog-friendly asks for some general understanding from everyone at the park on how to manage their dogs and live in harmony, so we do have quite a large section in our Terms and Conditions dedicated to dogs. It’s more a practical guide though than the typical list of restrictions that you’d expect in T&C’s.

The main issue that could arise, is that we do NOT ALLOW DOGS IN OR ON THE BEDS. It is our only red line regarding dogs. Welcoming 2, 3 or even more dogs per lodge, and at the same time maintaining the highest 5* standards of cleanliness, means we have to be extra vigilant to prevent dog hair soiling our lodges and precious bed linen. We are sure that most dog owners will understand that keeping dog hair at bay is something that we need to keep on top of! We will help you to keep the dogs away from the beds by providing a dog gate to put in front of the entrance to your bedroom, if simply closing the door between the living room and the bedrooms doesn’t work for your dog (e.g. for dogs with separation anxiety). Please read on to see the ‘doggy’ part of our Terms and Conditions. And don’t hesitate to give us a call if you still have questions. You can call us anytime to talk about dogs! We are near the phone from 10 am until 10 pm, every day of the week.


- number of dogs
Please contact us first if you want to bring more than 2 large dogs, more than 3 medium sized dogs, or more than 4 minis. Usually, we will be able to accommodate your request, but we like to discuss with you how we can ensure that all dogs will fit in, how we can adjust the dog beds, and we’d like to be sure that a lot of extra dogs will not annoy other guests. So please tell us about your plans and how you manage your oversized dog-pack before you hit the BOOK NOW button!

- house-trained a must
It should go without saying that we expect you to only bring dogs that are house trained*(see 1) and that will not have ‘accidents’ in the house and on the decking**(see 2) that surrounds your lodge. I apologize to all the owners of well-trained dogs that I have to mention being house-trained at all!

At *(1): We can only accept dogs that are trained to go outside to wee and poo. We cannot accept dogs using wee pads. The use of indoor toileting aids will leave a smell that no chemicals can hide from the next visiting dogs who then might get confused.
At **(2): We can see why "the decking" is a tricky one for new arrivals! One can very well understand that a dog would think that the decking is part of the outdoors where he is allowed to do his business and/or mark a fence post or planter.
Please watch your dog(s) closely when you have just arrived and they are exploring the decking, so that a well-timed warning will make the dog understand that the decking around the lodge belongs to the no-potty zone and that the garden (and his ‘marking zone’) starts outside of the terrace, just a few steps down. And we can tell from experience: even a very well-trained dog (especially the boys!) may need some guidance on this, when just arrived!

- dog beds and throws
We supply a flatbed or a basket for small and medium-sized dogs. For large and extra large dogs we provide a a variety of flatbeds. We have very deep and fluffy dog beds, we have memory foam dog beds and flatter dog beds for dogs that will only get too hot in a deep fluffy bed. We will ask for the preferences of your dog when we prepare your arrival. We do request to NOT allow dogs in bedrooms. If your dog gets on the sofa, then we ask you to use the special sofa covers. In the cupboard in your lodge, you will find full-size sofa covers, a stack of dog towels in different sizes, and 'doggy' throws. Please don't give your dogs the more luxurious ‘human’ throws that are draped over your sofas’ armrest or backrest and are there for your comfort. We are sure you wouldn’t appreciate to find dog hair in the throw that you drape around your shoulders when it’s getting chilly on the decking on a summer evening. And please, do not bring the bed throws into the living room. There are plenty of throws in each lodge to keep the basic plain dog throws and the luxury throws for humans separate, and to leave the bedroom throws in the bedroom.

Our sofas and dog beds are sanitized with power steam equipment to make sure everything is clean and hygienic and nothing is transferred from one dog to the next. We wash the dog throws and the soft inlays of the dog baskets (in a separate washing machine that we use only for the dog stuff) so they are hygienically safe and clean, but you will nevertheless spot dog hair on the dog beds and dog throws – it will be washed dog hair that has survived the washing cycle – dog hair simply does not wash out completely.
- NOT on or in the beds (dog gate available)
We do not allow dogs on or near the beds in the bedrooms. This is where we draw the line between extreme dog-friendliness and our high standards of hygiene/top-grade facilities. Please do NOT book a lodge with us if the dogs must sleep in or on your bed.

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As an extremely dog-friendly accommodation we attract a lot of visitors that are inseparable from their dogs, and we can imagine that your dog in an unfamiliar setting wants to be close to you, but please make sure that your dog does NOT get in or on the beds and does not get in contact with our bed linen made of the finest Egyptian cotton. Our bed linen is serviced by a company specialising in servicing 5* hotels and all used bed linen is screened before washing and rejected if it is soiled with dog hair.

If your dog cannot sleep separated from you, you can move their bed down the corridor so they can still see you, and we even provide a dog gate that you can install just in front of the entrance to your bedroom to prevent the dogs from entering the bedroom. Or you can bring a small or medium sized crate to put in the corner of the bedroom. We can provide a dog crate (size XL, 70 x 100 cm floor size, available on request, please notify us in advance), but it’s quite large for the bedroom and too large for the corridor.

Please make sure that your children do not take the dogs on the beds during the day and their play. If we find evidence that dogs have been on the beds, then we will charge you for the replacement of our bed linen. In our experience as dog-owners, dog hair never washes out completely, and throws and sheets with dog hair will need to be replaced when rejected at the laundry. Our guests with and without dogs need to be confident that we will not let our dog-friendliness affect our high standards of hygiene.

We do NOT accept the policy that guests can bring their own bed linen in order to allow dogs on the beds. We cannot accept your ‘doggy bed linen’ as dog hair will already be present in your own bed linen and will soil our mattress toppers. Please do NOT book a lodge with us if the dog(s) must sleep in or on your bed.

- dog gate or crate
We provide a child gate (or better to say a dog gate in this instance) that you will find in the back of the wardrobe of the first bedroom and it can be installed within seconds. This will help you to keep the dog(s) out of your bedroom, if you need eye contact and can’t simply close the door. We can demonstrate how easy it can be installed just outside of the bedroom entrance, or do this for you, when we show you around in your lodge at check-in. We also have a dog crate at your disposal, should that be easier (please book this in advance. It’s free of charge but availability is limited).

- not without your company
It is not advised to leave your dog(s) alone in the lodge without your supervision. Please contact the park manager if you want to make plans where you cannot take your dog along, and we might find a better solution than leaving them behind all alone in a place that’s not their home. But this is a rule that's not set in stone: we can imagine a situation where a well-travelled dog is completely happy to have a snooze after a long walk, while his owners visit the only restaurant nearby that does not accept dogs. And we have seen a young puppy so fast asleep in its crate after a busy day that it was no concern either, he slept all the way through the absence of his owners. But you must inform us before a dog is left alone in the lodge, so we can keep an eye (and an ear) to know all is well. And we can provide a crate (size XL, 70 x 100 cm floor size) if that’s any good for your dog.

Alternatively, I can offer to keep an eye on your dog, or put the crate with me in the office if it’s just for an hour or two, or I can take my laptop and do my office work in your lodge if that’s preferred. We can now formally offer this dog-sitting service without worries about all the red tape regarding licensing, liability and insurance cover for dog-sitting, thanks to, an intermediary that covers all of this. We can discuss this when you arrive and instantly book it on to benefit from this service. You will find all the details with this link:
If I can’t free up time to keep your dog company, or if you want to go away without the dog(s) for longer than a few hours, then we can give you the contact details for our local doggy daycare and dog walking service, right here in West Tanfield.

- on the lead / off the lead
Most of the time, there is no reason to request that your dog is kept on the lead at the park. As far as we are concerned, you can let them run free, play, and have a good time. Dogs love it here, and every guest tells us how relaxed the dog is at Riverdale Lodges. Probably because we don't restrict their freedom from the moment they hop out of the car, so they can sniff out the territory to get familiar with their new surroundings and feel it as their home away from home. But we CAN ask you to keep your dog on the lead or close at heel if other guests are scared or annoyed by your dog, or if there are concerns that dogs don’t get along. Please don’t let your dog run over to other dogs without making sure the other dog owner welcomes your dog to have a play. Keep your dogs away from other dogs that are on the lead. Although we prefer to see dogs off the lead, and enjoy it if we see them play together, we want Riverdale Lodges to also be a safe place for dogs that cannot be allowed off the lead or for dogs that don’t appreciate the attention from other dogs.

- fully enclosed decking area
The decking around your lodge is fully enclosed (with a locked gate) and there you can let your dog enjoy the fresh air without any supervision. From the tiniest Chihuahua to large Greyhounds and GSD’s, the fencing around the lodge will usually do to keep them in. Obviously, a GSD that can easily master a 7ft fence COULD jump the 4ft railing around the decking, but so far we never had one trying it.
It is not allowed to leave your dog outside your decking and to roam the landscaped grounds of the park without your close supervision. You can use the more than 3 acres, shared by only 4 lodges, as your garden to let your dog(s) play and run, as long as you are watching your dog(s) and clean up after your dog(s).

- fencing around the park
The park is fenced nearly all around, but, obviously, the park is not closed off in front of the reception where our drive enters the park. The fencing around the park is post and rail with sheep wire, on average 3 feet high, with (newly planted) hedges and shrubs in front. On the riverside, there is just a very unassuming ‘old sheep wire’ fence that doesn’t hinder your view, 4 feet high. Having a fence around the 3 acres of landscaped grounds will help you to control your dog (compared to open spaces), but it’s not suitable or allowed to let your dog roam the park without being supervised. The fence is NOT escape-proof. Large dogs can jump the 3’ fence and smaller dogs will find gaps and slip underneath the fence or through the bars of the field gates.
Therefore: please be extra careful when you notice there are sheep in the field to the East side of the park (behind Lapwing Lodge), as can be the case during the winter months.

- cleaning up after your dog
Please bring your own poo bags. The extra roll of poo bags (in the kitchen cupboard with the brushes and mini-torch), is meant for emergency use only, should you accidentally be without. Poo bags can be disposed of in the main waste bin within the palisade halfway between reception and the lodges.

The area just outside the park's borders is all natural and 'wild', no one will expect you to follow the dog with poo bags when they roam the rougher parts and shrubs on the river bank, as long as they don’t do their business right at the walking track. We need to keep the grounds of the park, the walking tracks and the access road clean. The field behind Lapwing Lodge, on the track of the Ripon Rowel Walk, has a small flock of sheep grazing at some times of the year (usually only in winter), so it’s for animal health reasons that we then ask you to clean up after the dogs in this field as well.

- hot-water dog-shower and drying facilities
The hot-water dog-shower and drying facilities (shampoo and towels provided) makes it easy to flush off the excess dirt (dogs and wellies!) if you've been out and about in the mud. Or after a swim in the river, no worry if your dog decides to do a good mud-roll on the way back, it will be easy to flush off. The dog wash is situated next to the reception, strategically at the entrance of the park. After walking back to your lodge on the gravel paths, your dog will be drip dry even if you don’t use the drying facilities, so everything stays clean and tidy. You will also find dog brushes and grooming equipment at the dog wash, and there is a set of brushes in your lodge too.
The washing machine and tumble dryer in the dog-wash room are NOT for guest use and not meant to wash or dry dog towels or dog beds. There is a washing machine for your private use in your lodge but we ask you to not use it for hairy or muddy dog stuff. If you need fresh dog towels, then simply ask us or take them from the dog-wash room if you can’t ask us. We can provide as many dog towels as you need, and are also happy to take your private dog stuff and wash it for you in our dedicated ‘doggy’ washing machine (that is not at the park).


There is a 6 kg washing machine in your lodge and a few wash pods provided as well. Please use the machine in your lodge only for your personal items. No need to wash the towels that we provide. We provide at least 2 sets per person on arrival but you can ask us if you want fresh towels during your stay, as it is a lot more economical and eco-friendly if we do the towel washing in bulk.
Don’t use the machine in your lodge for muddy and hairy dog stuff. Let us know if you want your dog beds or dog blankets washed as we have a separate machine for this (not at the park) and like to keep the ‘human’ washing machines free of dog hair.

Please note: the washing machine and tumble dryer in the room next to reception (the dog-wash room) is for staff use only. But let us know if you need to dry things in the tumble dryer and we will be happy to help.