Monday, 9 August 2021

A Horse, A Horse... Kingdom for a horse!

Rosie, like her Mum before her, is fond of horses. At the weekend she was with us for a stopover [sleepover is definitely a misnomer] and on Saturday we left the builders digging out the foundations for the garage, and went off to the nearby town of Aylsham, to visit the Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

With five sites across England and Scotland, Redwings is the largest horse sanctuary in the UK, having begun in Norfolk in 1984.

Rosie loved walking between the paddocks, looking at the ponies and donkeys, reading the information bards, and learning new facts about our equine friends.

It got rather wet and windy as we came to the end of our walk - and we were glad to get inside "Red's Shed" - a large room used for school parties, and other young visitors. Lots of interactive games and activities, well maintained and appropriate for all ages.

Then into the shop and the Nosebag Café. Plenty of pocket money stuff from £1 up [and photos of the ponies, suggested donation 20p] as well as more expensive equine related toys and gifts. The menu was good to, snacks and light meals and plenty of hot/cold drink options.

Rosie earned her stickers for spotting certain ponies on the walk round.
The charity has over 1500 animals at the five sites, plus another 500 'rehomed' horses, which live with 'Guardians' - but still belong to Redwings, and can always return if situations change. 

Adopting a pony costs £15 per annum, and the money goes towards feed, shelter, farriers and vets fees etc.

The staff are all very enthusiastic and spent time chatting with Rosie about horses and answering her questions. She clearly enjoyed her visit. 

This place definitely gets a rating of ***** in my book

It was easy to find, with free parking [and plenty of disabled access] The toilets were clean and throughout the site, good covid protocols in place. [I imagine they will keep the one-way system, it works so well!] Staff friendly and helpful. Good coffee shop. Lots of information well presented so that confident readers- and younger non-readers, could work things out for themselves. The ponies were in good condition, and clearly happy. Here's a Redwings story narrated by a well known Norfolk resident.

And all this was free! No entrance or parking fee. Coffee shop prices were competitive, and as I said, you could get a souvenir without breaking the bank. And although they are keen to get families involved in the adoption scheme, there was definitely no hard sell. At the start of the visit, a staff member explained what there was to see, how to get round, and gave Rosie a sheet with the ponies to look out for - and then briefly mentioned adoption and £15 a year. But no pressure to sign up, or making people feel guilty for not signing on. "Just ask us at the end, if you think you'd like to know more" she said.

I'm sure we will be taking Rosie again [and probably George and Jessica too] I would definitely recommend this as a good family outing [but do check website in advance- they are not open to the public every day, even though the horses are cared for 24/7]


  1. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit! I'm sure Rosie enjoyed it and didn't need one of those "fidget pops" you mentioned in your earlier post! :)

    1. She was utterly entranced the whole time, eager to see, to learn, and to do the activities. Very grateful for that. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious

  2. What a lovely outing! Somehow little girls seem even more attracted to ponies and horses than boys. Our granddaughter got the "bug" and is now an accomplished teenaged rider who knows how to tack up and handle a horse. No problem with presents - a horse book or magazine subscription, or voucher for horse and rider supply store, or funds for extra lessons are all acceptable. The only thing grandma won't provide is a horse, they are far too expensive for city people to have stabled and fed!


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