Changes afoot at Ferne Animal Sanctuary

Feb 17, 2023

For over eighty years, during which time approximately 40,000 animals have been cared for, animal welfare has been the key charitable purpose at Ferne Animal Sanctuary. Started in 1939 by the late Lady Nina Duchess of Hamilton & Brandon, other key milestones include 1965 when it became a registered charity and 1975 when the home of the sanctuary moved from Dorset to its current location in Wambrook, Chard, Somerset.

As part of its’ charitable work, Ferne aims to educate people about how best to care for their animals. Whether it’s a pet, of very many species, or livestock, equines, poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, and various other small pets; the team at Ferne care for them all and share their expertise with those who visit and the wider community.

The work Ferne does is constantly evolving, and this coming Spring sees further changes planned at Ferne Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary shall close to public visitors at 5pm on Sunday 19th March, reopening at 10am on Saturday 1st April. There shall be a preopening day on Friday 31st March for all our registered supporters, and contact shall be made with them separately to invite them for that occasion.

Visitors to the sanctuary from 1st April onwards should notice the following changes, amongst others:

  • Entrance to the walk will be made at the relocated Visitor Centre, adjacent to Nina’s Café at the top of the car park, working its way through the sanctuary until it reaches the relocated shop adjacent the conference / function room. Feedback had been received that the uphill tour is difficult for some visitors; this has been listened to and the tour shall now be largely downhill or flat terrain.
  • The cattery will receive new fencing, signage, and modernisation to the exterior. The amount of mesh fencing shall be reduced, visibility of the cattery maintained, and information about the cats enhanced.
  • A new art, crafts & education room will be open. Opposite the equine stables and the barn, our events & activities coordinator, Katherine, will be on hand to engage with visitors, mixing learning & play, education & fun, with animal welfare education.
  • Our silhouette animals will become part of the learning, bringing accurate anatomical terms to understand each part of our approximate 300 residents
  • Willow Walk & the 5 Animal Freedoms shall be brought to life. New sculptures and enhanced information will be used towards the end of the walk, delivering a welfare message that we can all bear in mind when caring for animals.
  • The recently installed FerneHenge shall be curated, alongside Willow Walk. This will focus on the benefits to the land, environment, and other species, that these huge ‘bug hotels’ will bring.
  • Guided Tours are bookable online, as are all entry tickets. Following the great feedback received about the October Half Term tours, these will be a constant at Ferne, enabling visitors to go off the beaten track with one of our animal experts providing detailed information about the work of the sanctuary.

Throughout the year Ferne will host a Spring Fayre, Annual Dog Show, Christmas Fayre & Animal Blessing, amongst other events. The Sanctuary is open 362 days a year (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day) and an Annual Pass is great value, paying for itself with the third visit. We look forward to welcoming you in 2023.