Frequently Asked Questions

Is the sanctuary open all year?

Yes. We are open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. In the summer the sanctuary is open from 10.00am until 5.00pm with last entry at 4.00pm. In the winter the sanctuary opens at 10.00am and closes at 4pm with last entry one hour before.

What can I expect to see?

Ferne is first and foremost an animal sanctuary. We have over 300 resident animals but we don’t make them perform for visitors. This means that we cannot guarantee what animals you will see. Often with the larger animals we have to move them around different grazing areas according to their dietary requirements and the weather so they are not always near visitor paths. This is why we only make a modest admission charge.

Can I pet or feed the animals?

We don’t hold petting sessions at the sanctuary. Most of our residents have come from difficult circumstances, some have suffered at the hands of people and as a result, have some behavioural issues or anxiety around people. Many of them also have complex dietary needs and extra food could make them ill.

How long should I allow for my visit?

Most of our visitors spend 2-3 hours wandering around and enjoying the sanctuary, many stay much longer and treat themselves to a delicious lunch in the café.

Is the Play area open?

Yes, the play area is open in line with government guidelines. We are not cleaning the equipment as it is not practical to do so, however regular safety checks are being carried out. Please be aware of the need for social distancing and give other playground users space. If there are too many people on the equipment please come back later (note there is a one-way system in place as required by the government). Do not use the play area if you or a member of your family have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating. Remember to use hand sanitizer regularly and consider wiping high touch areas before use. Remind children not to put their mouths on equipment or put their hands near their face. The play area is shared equipment used at your own risk. Do not consume food or drink in the play area. Please dispose of your litter properly or take it home (this is the disposal of gloves, face masks or any other PPE).

Is Ferne accessible to wheelchair users?

Ferne has a very good network of tarmac paths but due to the operations of the sanctuary we have a large number of gates so we recommend that wheelchair users are accompanied by an able bodied person. We have designated parking spaces for wheelchair users and visitors with special needs next to our Visitor Centre as well as in the main car park.

Do we have to pay to park?

Parking at the sanctuary is free but space is limited so we recommend you arrive early to avoid disappointment. The main visitor car park is about 100m from our Visitor Centre with several disabled parking bays;  3 additional spaces for visitors with special needs are just outside the Visitor Centre for easy access.

Do you have a café?

There is a café on site, currently serving takeaway hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, cheesy chips, snacks and ice creams. Designated seating is provided for customers just outside the café.

Can I bring my dog?

Well behaved dogs are welcome to visit the sanctuary. They must be kept under control on a short lead. Dogs are also welcome in the café.

Sanctuary entry purchased through Groupon

All vouchers purchased through Groupon must be validated through Groupon’s website prior to arrival at the Sanctuary. Ferne reserves the right to refuse entry to any voucher holders who have not validated their vouchers before arrival, due to the limited number of Groupon bookings permitted each day. Please visit for more information on this offer.

How can I contact the Sanctuary?

If you have a specific query about visiting the sanctuary please email or ring us on 01460 65214.