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“Whats happened to Wetheriggs?!”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre - CLOSED

Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre is a small family run animal sanctuary now based at Thorpe Farm Centre near Barnard Castle having previously been situated in Clifton Dykes near Penrith since it started in 2006. The centre is currently home to over 600 animals, many of which have been pets in the past and are now looking for new homes. Some of the animals are brought in from the RSPCA and other animal rescue organisations and centres. There is lots to see, and visitors have the chance to get close to many of the animals and even feed some of them. We offer talks and animal handling sessions during weekends and local school holidays, and we are always happy to go the extra mile for our visitors, so if there is any animal you'd like to hold or learn more about please just ask.
Lincoln, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Whats happened to Wetheriggs?!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2014

I can remember visiting Wetheriggs many years ago when it was a pottery - what a delightful experience that was! However, things have changed... Having been in the area visiting other local attractions we decided to have a look and see what the new "Zoo" had to offer. We were bitterly disappointed to say the least. Based loosely around the old pottery itself, the "animals" on show were pretty much running free and most in poor health/condition. A lot of areas were out of bounds to the "general paying public". I have since found out this is because Wetheriggs Zoo have actually had their Zoo Licence revoked. On that basis, I am not entirely sure how they can open to public and charge for entry in the first place? I can see why this decision has been made though, given the conditions the animals are kept in and the fact it appears staff actually live in the gift shop/admissions area! I really would not recommend this as a place to visit.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank Julius G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

135 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2014

My friend and I found this place after typing in things to do with children when in Penrith as we were on holiday in The Lake District with our families, well it is NOT a place to go with children or in fact to visit at all if you want to enjoy yourself! Upon arrival the place looked very run down and less like a zoo and more like an old run down shed. We were greeted in the entrance by an overwhelming smell of dirt and the floor was at least an inch thick with what looked like dog hairs. The girl who took our money for the pleasure of being there was helpful and friendly though so that was the one good thing. The cafe area looked as unclean as the rest of it with unswept floors and dog hair, I can't imagine that food hygiene standards are complied with but wouldn't dare purchase anything from there to find out! When you go through the doors to see the animals the smell hits you, it's not just animal poo, which covers the entire area of where you walk and where we pushed our daughters pram it's just the smell of dirt, I know this is apparently a rescue centre with volunteers but how long does it take to sweep up and clean the paths?! It was absolutely disgusting and of all the charity based organisations I have visited I have never seen anything like it! The goats and pigs are all running about and the parrots are also free to come to you with just signs explaining they will bite, animals that are caged are in tiny cages which look far too small. My main concerns with this place are the fact that pigs and goats that are just absolutely covered in poo can come and jump up or sniff round the children walking around and the parrots could basically come and bite anybody at any point! Also the cleanliness of the cafe and gift shop area is an absolute disgrace, I cannot imagine anybody in their right mind choosing to eat there. This place clearly doesn't have enough cash put into it to be open to the public as an attraction and the animals should be cared for in much nicer cleaner surroundings.

Visited July 2014
7 Thank Merm81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Horrible experience”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2014

After seeing the Wetheriggs zoo and animal sanctuary website we were looking forward to our visit with our animal loving 3 year old daughter. Warning bells began to ring when we pulled up outside to find that whew we're the only car in the car park and the frontage looked a bit jaded. However, we made the terrible decision to go inside. The reception/cafe was absolutely filthy and had a terrible smell and the gifts for sale looked like they had been there decades. Once through the door, I can only describe as absolute horror. The footpath was covered in animal poo and a goat jumped up my friend covering her jeans in it. The chickens were kept in tiny pens which were that small they could hardly stand up. The same for the rabbits. My daughter was so scared by the goats and pigs that are allowed to run loose, which surrounded us, that she was crying hysterically and we had only been there 5 minutes. The animals were kept in filthy conditions and the staff were just sat around doing nothing. The children's play area was rundown and again the grass area was covered in animal poo. The whole experience left an unpleasant aftertaste and we could not wait to leave after 20 minutes. It is a misrepresentation to call the place a zoo. As an animal sanctuary it would be helpful for some description as to where the animals a came from as it is hard to believe they were saved from anything worst than where they are now. The cafe was an environmental health issue as it was so dirty and smelly. It is a complete rip off and the are misleading people to part with their money under the current advertising of the venue. My daughter summed it up perfectly when she said " I have had a bad day mummy".

Visited July 2014
5 Thank 414Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 11, 2014

the zoo is a place to visit. its a friendly run zoo there animals wondering about that you can feed.
you can spend easily 2 hours wondering about. its different to other zoos it more interesting to be at. well worth the fee to get in. the café and shop is well worth looking at. go and see what you think about it.

Visited July 2014
Thank stephen r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Chamber of Horrors”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2014

I went to Wetheriggs because I just love animals and I take time and love to care properly for mine at home. What I saw however made me want to cry. Initially everything seemed normal with pretty wee animals running around one`s feet, but on further inspection of their cages and food bowls/water bottles - it was obvious to me that the person in charge cared little for the welfare of the animals, in fact he/she appears totally ignorant of their requirements. The smell to me was not a problem, but the space allotted for each animal was completely inadequate. e.g.(1)
the Rock Hyrax - an animal that loves to bask in the sun amongst rocks/vegetation was kept in a very small bare cage in the dark(2) The Meerkats are kept on a hard base, perhaps concrete, but in the wild they love to dig in soft sand/earth (3) The Llama was far too big for its very small enclosure (4) The Rabbits are kept in hutches that are far too small for them. I question too why so many animals are kept indoors when in the wild they love the outdoors. Surely a sanctuary is where animals are sent to live happily and lovingly for the remainder of their lives. Compared with the many sanctuaries I have visited, this is one of the worst I have experienced. These animals do not deserve to be kept in such conditions.

Visited June 2014
3 Thank genie1Westyorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark T, Keeper & Administrator at Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Hi, first of all i'm very sorry to hear you did not enjoy your visit to Wetheriggs. It's a shame you didn't bother to speak to any members of staff during your visit, because if you have you would have found answers for the things you have mentioned in your review.
Please remember we are an animal rescue centre. This means many animals come needing certain requirements which they wouldn't normally need in the wild. Some of the animals have been poorly treated in the past and come in extremely nervous, or some can only be kept in certain enclosures for one reason or another. Also some animals are kept in temporary enclosures whilst new ones are built, or until the animal gets rehomed.
About the Rock Hyrax, this is one example of how rescued animals sometimes need different requirements to ones in the wild, and like I said earlier, if you bothered to ask a member of staff, you would discover that the Hyrax we had gets nervous extremely easy and seemed to be more comfortable in a darker enclosure. You would have also discovered that the Hyrax was being rehomed just a couple of days after your visit, and is now living with another Hyrax in a bigger enclosure.
About the Meerkats, did you not see the sand?? Yes the main floor is concrete, but there is a thick layer of sand over this. We are also planning to build on the back of their enclosure to provide them with an outdoor area. Something else you would have found out had you asked anyone.
The Llama is only at Wetheriggs temporarily due to an injury the animal received. We know the enclosure is not ideal, but we also know had we put him in one of the large paddocks which only have low fences, he could have easily jumped out and possibly caused more damage.
With regards to the rabbits, the ones in hutches are all males, and as you seem to know so much about animal care, you will of course know you cannot keep groups of male rabbits together as they will fight, sometimes to the death. We of course want these rabbits in bigger cages, and we are actually planning on building runs for the rabbits, but this takes time and costs money, two things we are often short of. All our building work is done by a small team of amazing volunteers, and they are constantly building or repairing enclosures.

Please do not think you know more than us about how to keep and care for these animals. There is never one single way to keep an animal, and rescued animals often need completely individual needs due to their past.
I know I keep saying it, but if you had just bothered to speak to someone a lot of issues could have been discussed and possibly resolved.

If you would like to discuss any further issues, feel free to get in touch through our website.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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