Sanctuary Reopening FAQ
As so many of you have asked us, we're pleased to announce that we are now OPEN again for ADVANCE BOOKING ONLY to limit the number of people on site and allow you to easily distance from other households.
This is one of several safety measures we have had to put in at the sanctuary 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 few months, 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: 17/04/2021)
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! Please remember to BOOK IN ADVANCE of your visit so that we can limit the number of people on site at one time and help you to distance from other households.
Advance bookings are available every hour. We ask that you arrive within the hour you have booked, but you are welcome to stay as long as you like once you have arrived!
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 created a one-way system around the sanctuary, with areas that cannot be made one-way closed (don’t worry, we have moved some animals around so that you can still see them!). Markings are also being used on fences to aid distancing, and we have produced additional signage for your information.
We will be selling tickets in advance with specific dates/times to control visitor numbers and reduce cash transactions. Those of you with annual/sponsor passes will still be able to use these too, just select the Annual Pass option and don't forget to bring it on the day!
We will not be allowing 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 11am 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?
In line with Government advice, we are asking that visitors wear a face covering if possible whilst in our café/shop area. Once outside it is entirely up to you if you would like to keep it on or remove it.
Are the toilets open?
Our disabled/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 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?
While our grassy play area and picnic area is open, in line with Local Authority guidance we have temporarily had to cordon off our play equipment for the time being. We're very sorry for the disappointment and hope to get this open to you again very soon!
Can I bring my dog still?
YES! We absolutely love meeting your waggy friends. We have also almost finished work on our brand new enclosed run for your dogs, but for now, 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.
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 very 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. Although the risk has now dropped, we are still legally obliged to ensure good biosecurity to prevent any possible spread to our rescued birds.
For the time being we are having to keep one of our groups of ducks inside their aviary and not out on their pond where you would usually see them as this is visited by wild birds and we are currently not allowed to let them mix. Nigel the goose and Malcolm the Emu next door are still outside as they are exempt due to needing to graze.
You will notice our chicken enclosures are looking a little sparse at the moment - this is to make them easy to disinfect each day. As soon as the threat drops to Low again we'll make sure they have lots of bark chippings and soil to walk on and play in again!
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. We will have a disinfectant foot mat that you are also welcome to use at our entrance.
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.