Last Friday we made our way to Sidmouth in Devon to The Donkey Sanctuary situated there.
The Donkey Sanctuary is a charity and there is no entrance fee although you are requested to give a donation. It is set in a marvellous location and some really good work goes on here looking after many hundreds of donkeys from all over the world.
Look at the colour of the sky when we arrived - very hard to believe that it is a photo of the sky at the end of October!
Shortly after our arrival we picked up a guide which showed us the various walks that could be done.
We opted for a walk which would take us around 45 minutes to an hour and which would enable us to see donkeys in the surrounding paddocks.
We set off in earnest looking here and there for some donkeys. Alas, we couldn't see any! This led to Our Daughter re-enacting the joke by Fraser in Dads Army. The platoon are in a barn and Captain Mainwaring gets the men to gather around as Fraser is about to tell them a story about the Old Empty Barn.
He starts off by saying - "I'll tell ye the story about the old empty barn - there was nothing in it!" That is the story!
Our Daughter said in a Scottish accent mimicking Fraser "I'll tell ye the story of The Old Donkey Sanctuary - there were no donkeys in it!" Of course, there were hundreds of donkeys in it as will soon be revealed!
But before we get to the donkeys a few photos of some of the things we saw along the way!
We followed the route on the map but couldn't quite work out where we were meant to go! The Other Half spotted a lady walking her dog and asked her if she knew where we were on the map. She said that she'd never understood the map either! She lived locally and said that she walked her dog at the location every day and could point us to where the donkeys would be! We headed off in the direction that we were directed to and lo and behold we could hear a familiar sound - hee-haw, hee-haw!
We came to a stabling block but there didn't appear to be any donkeys there. The lady we'd met had informed us that this was where the french donkeys were. Shortly after our arrival at the fence a worker at The Sanctuary appeared with a bucket containing some food and all the donkeys came out of their stable!
I'd never seen donkeys like this before. Far bigger than the donkeys you get on the beach and with long shaggy coats and particularly large ears! They are Poitou Donkeys from the Poitou region of France. They are also known as Mammoth Donkeys - looking at their coats and size you can understand why!
The staff member was very informative and told us all about these donkeys and how rare they are.
She then took us to another location where there was a very tiny donkey - which looked as if it was a youngster but was actually an adult just very, very small. Our Daughter thought that the donkey was very cute but it was being anti-social and wouldn't come to say hello! Mind you it was so hot - the poor thing probably just wanted to stay in the shade!
We then entered the yard where most of the donkeys can be seen - many donkeys were located in a big barn, some in nearby paddocks and some roaming freely in the yard being fussed over by children and adults alike. There is something about donkeys that makes you want to stroke their ears - which were nice and warm to the touch!
Some of the donkeys in the big barn! They all had their name tags on - so many look alike!
Although quite small this one was very loud! Definitely a HEE-HAW! HEE-HAW!
"Can someone get me some ear muffs!"
Such gentle creatures!
This one was one of our favourites - the name on the collar said that it was Clementine!
"Can you slip the bolt and let me out of here!"
"I knew I shouldn't have had that last drink!"
Another photo of Clementine!
A really enjoyable day out for free. Well, not quite as we did leave a donation to assist the charity in their good work! If you want to see some more visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/
On the way home we drove past Branscombe and decided that as it was so warm that we would go to the beach and watch the sun going down!
More on that in a later posting!
Until next time,