Safe as houses: where to buy dove­cotes

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

and are able to fend for them­selves. Then, the whole cy­cle starts all over again—un­less the spar­rowhawk, the mor­tal en­emy of doves, has in­ter­fered.

It sad­dens me that the prac­tice of keep­ing doves has be­come less com­mon. Al­though the sight of a lone dove­cote, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas, isn’t un­usual, it still comes as a shock when you see the birds in res­i­dence or gath­ered on a rooftop nearby. Could it be that we’re dis­in­ter­ested, thanks to the dom­i­nance of pet cats and dogs, or per­haps we just don’t know enough about it.

What­ever the rea­son, surely now is a good time to en­cour­age a resur­gence, es­pe­cially in ur­ban gar­dens, where the lit­tle white an­gels could give so much vis­ual plea­sure, sur­prise and in­ter­est to own­ers, fam­i­lies and passers-by? I can only hope that some read­ers will feel in­spired to feather their nests. Not­ting­hamshire fam­ily busi­ness The Dove­cote Co hand­crafts a range of post-mounted and wall-mounted dove­cotes plus feed ta­bles and hom­ing boxes. Dove­cotes from £105 (0115–953 1167; www.the­do­ve­coteco.co.uk)

With Sav­ille’s Dove­cotes, you can choose your shade of Far­row & Ball paint. From £425 (www.dove-cotes. co.uk; 01924 471755) Welsh Dove­cotes has rather en­dear­ing minia­ture coun­try-house-style cre­ations —The Him­ble­ton (above) fea­tures a tim­ber-shin­gled roof. From £55 (029– 2021 2779; www.welsh­dove­cotes.co.uk)

As well as tra­di­tional dove­cotes, Kent-based an­i­mal- and bird-hous­ing spe­cial­ist Grand­dad Rob De­signs of­fers one based on the Brighton Pav­il­ion (right) and an­other in the style of a Chi­nese pagoda. From £700 (www. grand­dadrob­de­signs. co.uk; 01233 822457)

Low main­te­nance but highly ro­man­tic, doves are a heart-warm­ing ad­di­tion to any gar­den

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