Published in Sixtyplusurfers












Choosing a property on a retirement estate can be a complicated decision with buyers, understandably, wanting to make the right long-term decision. For those who have a dog, the choice becomes even harder; while over-55 accommodation is designed to be future-proofed, it often isn’t suitable for pets.

John Lavin of Cognatum says, “Pet ownership in retirement is on the increase. Pre-lockdown, around 10% of our 2,200+ residents owned a dog and the figure has risen over the last three years and now stands at around 20%

“The physical and mental benefits of dog ownership are overwhelming. They help owners settle into a regular routine, provide excellent companionship, reduce stress, and provide a good point of contact for conversation and friendship – it’s very easy to strike up a conversation with neighbours and locals when you already know you have an interest in dogs in common. Dog owners walk at least once a day, whatever the weather.

“Most of our estates are set in dog-friendly grounds, many have areas of woodland or pasture, or access to rivers, streams or lakes, so they are ideal for dog owners. Residents generally find that non-dog-owning neighbours are willing to help out with walks and feeding when required.

“Dog owners looking for a later life home should choose wisely. Suitable space is obviously vital – with adjacent outside space early morning and late night comfort breaks, and walking areas on the doorstep that don’t require a car.

“One of the reasons we’re seeing an increase in dog ownership in later life is that there are so many ways for owners to get help with walking, or care during absences.

“Specialist organisations such as connect dog owners with dog borrowers for walks weekends and holidays, while connect dog owners with sitters who exchange their time, care and expertise for interesting homestays.

“A useful contact for dog owners is The Cinnamon Trust, a national charity that works in partnership with pet owners, and which Cognatum is a member.

“The Trust has volunteers who will step in if dog owners are unable to care for their pet, either temporarily, or permanently. They provide a fostering service for pets whose owners face a spell in hospital, or long-term care for owners who are no longer able to keep their pet.

“Owning a dog is no longer restrictive for those wanting to use their retirement or semi-retirement for short or long term trips and travel, or for those who feel their health or fitness may make dog ownership difficult.”

One of Cognatum’s newest retirement estates, The Canopy, is set in its own woodland in Chigwell, a perfect spot for a local stroll, but with fantastic walking countryside a little further afield. The development of 25 luxury apartments for the over-55s is designed carefully to meet the criteria of later life buyers.

The large communal roof terrace is a perfect spot to enjoy views over the development’s green and leafy landscape and further afield. London’s Liverpool Street Station is a 30-minute tube ride away, while the M11 and M25 are easily reached.

Other on-site facilities include highly efficient communal heating system, and on-site Estate Manager to ensure smooth running of the estate and to be on hand in emergencies or when residents are absent.

Prices are from £545,000 (part exchange available).

For details click here

Cognatum: 07548 558802 / 01491 821170; Butler & Stag: 01992 667666.









Orchard Yard in Wingham, Kent, is an equally attractive proposition for dogs and dog owners. Nine houses and six apartments sit in glorious grounds that include an orchard, gardens that have been planted to encourage wildlife and diversity, vegetable gardens and greenhouse.

There are a whole host of communal areas including a club house with stretch studio, gym and large terrace with barbecue. Located in the Garden of England, with numerous footpaths on the doorstep, and just a few miles from the north and east Kent coasts, Orchard Yard is dog heaven.

Prices are from £725,000.

For details click here

Cognatum: 01491 821170; Winkworth: 01227 456645

Petersfinger Farm near Salisbury, is a development of four barn conversions set in 37 acres of Wiltshire wildlife including wildflower meadows, orchards and ancient oak trees. An enchanting walk through arches of trees and water meadows, pausing to identify an orchid or a butterfly, leads to the banks of the River Avon where a small summer house offers a spot to sit and rest and contemplate the view. It’s a canine paradise.

Prices are from £730,000.

For details click here

Cognatum: 01491 821170

The Rivus in Wantage is a new development for the over-55s with a choice of spacious one, two and three bedroom apartments set in a landscaped courtyard garden, along with a large open air upper terrace, members lounge, and fully equipped Wellness suite.

Wantage is a charming Oxfordshire market town in the Vale of the White Horse and surrounded by the beautiful countryside and villages of the Berkshire Downs and close to the Ridgeway, a 140km scenic trail that largely follows a ridge of chalk hills along an ancient track. It’s a perfect location for dog owners, whilst being within easy reach of both Oxford and London.

Prices from £265,000 (part exchange available).

For details click here

Cognatum: 01491 821170 /

About Cognatum

Cognatum, an independent not for profit company, has over 60 retirement estates across central and southern England. All are in prime locations within vibrant market towns or villages, within walking distance of shops and restaurants.

Each estate benefits from thoughtful architecture, landscaped grounds, and a dedicated estate manager.

For more information about Cognatum visit

* Property shown and prices are subject to availability.