Sanctuary Reopening FAQ
As so many of you have asked us, we're pleased to announce that we are now OPEN again following what felt like a very long lockdown!
We have implemented several safety measures so that we can provide a safe experience for everyone at this time.
We hope that you will enjoy meeting our animals and see a little of what we do here whilst re-connecting with nature (as Brockswood is a predominantly open-air site) after another long lockdown.
Over the past year, we’ve had to implement both Coronavirus and Avian Influenza precautions to keep our team and animals completely safe, as well as ironing out some issues that the winter has caused us, and we still have a little work to do first so please bear with us looking a little rough around the edges in some areas - we're working harder than ever right now and have big plans for the year!
Please see the FAQ we have put together below with more information about our re-opening. Please note this is subject to change as information and advice alters (Last Updated: 01/08/2021)
Can I Visit Brockswood?
YES, after having to remain closed for so long during lockdown, we are happy to announce that we are now OPEN every day!
We thank you for your patience over the past year and for everybody who has helped us by using our booking system. We are happy to announce that we have had the green light to take this down for now and revert to our usual walk-in admissions - you no longer need to book your visit in advance.
What precautions are being taken?
The health, safety, and welfare of our visitors as well as the Brockswood team members and our animals are our absolute highest priority, and we are taking every precaution to ensure this remains paramount.
The following measures are currently being put in place:
We have now taken down some parts of our one-way system but left some areas in place for the time being. Don't worry, we are moving most of our animals around in the mornings so that you can still see them on your new route around the sanctuary!
We are, unfortunately, still unable to allow feeding or petting the animals until further notice. It is thought that animals may act as a “fomite” for the virus - a fomite is usually an object/material which is likely to carry infection, such as ourselves with clothes and hard surfaces. Therefore, there is a risk that if a person with the virus on their hands was to touch Groot the Goat for example, and then one of our keepers touch him afterwards, this could transfer to us.
We know that you love to get up close to some of our animals, but this is an important measure to protect not only you but also them and our team, as it is not yet fully understood how the virus can interact with animals - and as you may have seen in the news, some animals are known to be susceptible to the virus.
All visitors will be issued with Health & Safety guidelines that you will be asked to follow during your visit. This is particularly important and key to us being able to remain open, so we are relying on your co-operation at this time.
Hand washing facilities and sanitiser will be readily available to you.
Enhanced cleaning regimes will be implemented in high traffic/contact areas to keep you safe.
What are the Sanctuary's opening hours?
We are open every day of the week (including bank holidays) from 10am to 4pm, with last entry at 3pm.
Can I use my Annual Pass?
Absolutely! We realise many of you will have missed out on using your pass since we have been closed and we will be extending these for you. Just select the Annual Pass option when you book your visit and you won't have to pay admission - don't forget to bring it with you along with your ticket on the day!
These are still available to purchase here.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
You may see some members of our team wearing face coverings, but following the easing of restrictions on 19th July, it is now entirely up to you if you want to wear a face-covering whilst in our café/shop area. Please do whatever makes you feel most safe and comfortable during your visit, but please respect our other visitors and team members.
Are the toilets open?
Our accessible/baby change toilet will be open for use by all visitors (with an enhanced cleaning routine), but we have had to close our other toilets for now so that you can easily distance yourself from other households.
Is the café open?
Our café will be open for takeaway only at the moment, but you are still welcome to sit out on our picnic benches/play area. We will only be selling cold snacks and drinks at this time.
We created a "Charity Cabin" last year but have been unable to open this throughout the pandemic as it is not big enough for you to safely distance inside. We have temporarily re-arranged the shop area of the café to create a shop area here, selling a range of gifts as well as well as your kindly donated preloved items to raise money for our animals!
Is the children's play area open?
Yes, we are very happy to announce that following the easing of restrictions in May, our play area is open again!
Can I bring my dog still?
YES! We absolutely love meeting your waggy friends. We welcome well-behaved dogs on leads - our animals are very used to seeing dogs, so it's a great opportunity to socialise your dogs and encourage them to behave appropriately around farm animals.
We have now also opened our brand new enclosed run for your dogs.
Is there any reason why I should not visit the Sanctuary?
We respectfully ask that people take responsibility for their own health and the health of the community before visiting us. Please do not visit the Sanctuary if you or anybody within your household are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have any underlying health conditions that may put you at risk. If you are vulnerable in any way at all, it is your responsibility to make the right choice for yourself and others around you. Please follow the official Government advice given at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Can the animals contract the virus? What are you doing to protect them?
Experts worldwide are still learning about the effects COVID-19 has on both humans and animals. As you may know, Coronavirus has been found in a small number of cases in companion animals, zoo animals and in a considerable number of mink farms in several countries around the world.
We are following the recommended guidelines provided by the Government, Local Authority, World Health Organisation (WHO), and various relevant animal-related organisations such as the British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA), as well as our Vets.
Our Animal Keepers are taking every precaution to safeguard our animals, and appropriate biosecurity measures are in place, as always.
Our animal care team continue to ensure that all animals at the sanctuary receive the same care, love, and attention that they are used to receiving all year round.
What about Avian Influenza?
As well as Coronavirus, this year we have been battling an Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) epidemic - in fact, the worst the country has ever seen. From November to the start of April, the UK was declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone which affected every bird keeper in the country, including us. Thankfully, the risk has now dropped to Low but we have kept some of our enhanced biosecurity measures in place in order to continue to safeguard our birds from this deadly virus.
You will notice that some of our chicken enclosures are looking a little sparse at the moment - this is to make them easy to disinfect each day. Some of our chickens have been moved into our rabbit runs - this is because their aviaries are now so old and unfit for purpose, we decided to move them out of them until we can purpose-build new homes for them. More about this appeal HERE.
You may see our team using disinfectant foot dips around the site - don't worry, our birds are all healthy and we have had no evidence of Bird Flu at the sanctuary and this enhanced hygiene is just a precaution.
For more information about Avian Influenza in the UK, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
How can I support Brockswood during this difficult time?
Thank you very much for your continued support. This is always important to us but right now we need you more than ever. We understand these are uncertain times for everyone and we are so grateful for any support you can give, no matter how big or small. It costs us around £3,000 per week to run our sanctuary and the pandemic has hit us hard.
You can help us to raise this money for our animals by continuing to visit us, making a donation or even setting up a regular gift to us, buying supplies, sponsoring an animal, volunteering your time with us, or even just spreading the word about us so that more people are aware of our work here with these wonderful rescued animals. We have achieved a lot, but we have big dreams and want to do so much more here! You can read more about our plans in our Three Year Strategic Plan.
For more information about supporting our work during the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Support Page.