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“Lovely relaxing family experience”

Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Chestnut Centre is an escape from the bustle of life, in a secluded natural valley in the Peak National Park. The centre is home to 4 species of otters including the rare Giant Otter, 15 species of owl, tame fallow deer in the deer herd, foxes, pine marten and the elusive, endangered Scottish Wildcat etc. Truly a ‘Hidden Gem in a Hidden Valley”.
Reviewed September 10, 2013 via mobile

We like to visit the chestnut centre every year and each visit is different depending on what mood the otters are in! Kids love it. It is very difficult with a pushchair and easier to do backwards. Usually finish off with a jam and cream scone!

Thank LisaNorcliffe-Haigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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446 - 450 of 555 reviews

Reviewed September 1, 2013

We must have arrived at the same time and on the same day as Ifachef. We had to move our car to ensure there was another space but we were asked politely. When we left, the car park was full and poor parking - like mine, I admit it - would have lost them spaces and, probably, custom.

The main animal section is cleverly nestled in a deep valley around a stream and several smaller ones joining it. This does make the paths wind around, up and down, with steps and some bridges to cross. I was very impressed with the build quality of the bridges, viewing platforms and handrails. It's been made to last, and potential slippery surfaces had both chicken wire and square mesh to give a longlasting non-slip surface.

People with pushchairs were struggling with the slopes and steps. It's a long walk to the animals, through a beautiful deer park. And perhaps they should make this clearer at the entrance, together with a reminder that the only loos are already behind you. But nobody likes too many signs.

But signs are this parks specialty. I've rarely seen so much information displayed about the animals. They deserve a mention for this. And it's also repeated in language and format that children can understand and take in.

Animals in zoos seek their own privacy and it's always luck whether they are on parade. The better the enclosure environment the more opportunity to hide. They'd be very visible if they were in small cages with no shelter but for the animals' sakes those days are long gone. The animals here seemed content enough and certainly well cared for.

For a small local attraction I felt it was worth the entrance fee and I didn't feel ripped off.

Thank Two_Tankertonians
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carol H, Owner at Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2013

Thank you very much for the review we were very pleased you enjoyed your time at the centre. it is also reassuring to know you were met with a courteous manner when you were parking your cars.

Thank you again for taking time to submit your review.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2013

I think with this attraction you can tell that it was a place where wild animals were rescued which has eventually turned into a family attraction, as it isn't quite as commercialised as other zoos. There's a fair amount of (easy) walking involved, which I feel is part of the charm, as it means you can appreciate views of the surrounding countryside, whilst walking through the natural habitat of the animals which you've come to see. Other people have commented that the enclosures are messy and overgrown which I think is ridiculous seeing as these animals naturally live in woodland, and it would be cruel to keep them in an exposed glass box just for us to look at! I was pleased with the amount of animals which were out and about, including all the owls, the polecats and otters which you could see playing and interacting with people. Also the resident deer were very friendly, and I stroked a few, which was a bonus. My only issue was that all the information about the creatures and their habitats were aimed at young children, which I guess maybe is the centres target audience, although I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't learn anything new.

Otherwise, I must add there were a few lovely features such as a century-old 'dog graveyard' and a tree formed by 3 separate trees which appear to be hugging. Also as we sat on a bench in the meadow, there were hundreds of small birds (swifts or swallows?) flying around, right past our heads, which was unusual!

All in all I would say the Chesnut Centre is a fairly cheap trip out for a few hours, giving you the chance to see some of Britians endangered animals up close and personal, although probably ideal for families with young kids.

Thank Janeyw007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2013

This is not Longleat and that is part of its charm. The facilities are limited: simple cafe, nothing inside the park and the only toilets are outside the entrance. The paths are not ideal for prams but we got around (quite a few steps). I think the price reflects all of this. If you are prepared for that then you will have a lovely few hours. We got close to deer, saw the otters being fed and playing and there are lots of owls and all the enclosures are a good size. Most of the enclosures are in shaded areas which was not ideal for photos but we felt better for the animals. We didn't see all the animals but would recommend for a family especially if you like otters.

Thank Redewie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013 via mobile

Arrived 10:30 just on opening time. Was met in the car park by the owner who was telling people how/ where to park - without doubt one of the riders and most ignorant men I have met.
Had travelled to get there but website said there was cafe/ tearoom open so we were intending to have breakfast there. Bad idea - abysmal choice of snack food and limited drinks available at inflated prices.
Paid £7.75 each for a walk in the countryside. Despite the alleged number of animals here we saw very few - 2 otters some deer and a couple of owls. The enclosures looked unkempt and overgrown - there were other owls there but so far away it was difficult to see them. As for the giant otters and others - all we saw were empty enclosures. Information about the animals is sparse
The pathways are not easy to negotiate especially for the very young or the elderly.
The gift shop has mainly overpriced tat.
All in all a waste of a morning.

Thank Ifachef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carol H, Owner at Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2013

i have been in contact with the reviewer and have spoken to the the member of staff - not owner. He is concerned as he is not aware of this incidence. However, we have apologised for any upset caused unwittingly.
Our website says coffee shop serving light snacks etc. We do not suggest we can prepare meals etc.
You were indeed very unfortunate as most visitors see the majority of otters, pine marten, fox, polecats, Scottish wildcats etc and of course all the owls are sitting quietly in their aviaries as they are nocturnal. There are over 70 deer on the parkland and are always around. We arrange the otter feeds carefully so there are always otters in view. Some enclosure have one way glass so you can see the otters in their sleeping quarters if they are not playing outside. We also have 2 to 3 keeper talks per day. Our informative signs include much more information than is required by the Zoo Licence.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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