The Animal Centre
The new Animal Centre, which was opened in 2007, is based in the old granary and is enjoyed by children and adults alike. The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere gives them the opportunity to see animals well cared for in a happy environment. Visitors can have hands-on, supervised contact with some of the animals, providing an enjoyable and educational visit.
The poultry section has numerous colourful and eye-catching breeds, housed in poultry arks and the breeds are changed frequently. There are also waterfowl, ducks and geese.
In the paddock, you will find unusual sheep breeds; the variations in size, shape and colour of the different breeds all in one paddock make a fascinating contrast. Alice, the donkey, is a great favourite and enjoys a chat with visitors, as do Beebee and Lily, the two British alpine goats!
The original castle pig sty has been brought into use again after being empty for many decades. The two rare breed piglets change each year at the end of the season as they are sold locally for breeding. The piglets love to have their backs scratched and this tends to have a therapeutic effect on visitors.
Inside the granary there are pet lambs and small animals, such as rabbits. In the first half of the season, children can help to bottle feed the lambs and this has been found to be one of the highlights of schoolchildren's visits. Daisy, the wooden cow, is used by both adults and children to try their hand at milking.
There is an incubator on dispay and a brooder with newly hatched chicks. This is very popular with young and old visitors who delight in having hands-on contact with a chick. Visitors also marvel when an egg is 'candled' and they can see the chick at various stages.
Safety and hygiene are of paramount importance; all the animals are given regular health checks. Naturally, all animals carry a range of micro organisms some of which can be transmitted to humans. While the hazard from infection is real, the risks are low and readily controlled by everyday common sense measures that will make the visit safe.
Visitors are asked not to take dogs to the animal centre.