This area is the habitat of farm buildings and barns. Animals like mice, rats and barn owls often live close to people in farms and other buildings. You can see them here in a real barn!
The Copse is the location of Britain's first Walk-Through Red Squirrel Enclosure. With no barriers between you and the squirrels you can walk among them in their woodland home for the kind of close-up viewing almost impossible in nature. The Copse features a number of wildlife habitats such as woodland edge, grassland and scrub. Muntjac browse the vegetation, while late in the afternoon the badgers come out to forage.
This outside area is the location for the owl display held every afternoon on open days. You'll see five species including the tawny owl, barn owl and the magnificent eagle owl. See them in all their glory at this free-flying demonstration.
The Hedgerow is home to many small creatures like hedgehogs, rabbits, stoats, weasels, mice and voles as well as an observation bee hive!
The smallest British owl and the most commonly seen as it is sometimes out during daylight hours. Introduced into Britain in the 19th century, it is now found throughout lowland England and Wales. A pair of little owls can be seen
in the outside aviaries.
Our pair of long-eared owls joined us in spring 2010 and are on display in the outside aviaries. This shy and secretive owl is a British native with golden eyes, prominent ear-tufts and a tall slim stature. A pair of long-eared owls can be seen in the outside aviaries, plus one that features in our owl flying display.
American mink was brought over to Britain by fur farm operators. Though farming has ceased, many mink had already escaped into the wild and have had a devastating effect on native wildlife, in particular the water vole. We a
non-breeding pair named Mork and Mindy!
The muntjac is a small deer originally native to China and other parts of eastern Asia. It was brought to private estates in Britain about a hundred years ago but has since escaped and is thriving in the wild throughout southern England. Our muntjac reside in the Copse with the red squirrels and in the deer enclosure with the roe deer.
This unique enclosure, housing rarely seen native night species, was opened by Chris Packham in March 2012. Featuring specially designed reverse lighting, the Nocturnal House allows you to observe the mysterious night time world of bats, hedgehogs and dormice during the day.
Hugh Clark / BCT
Our main outdoor picnic area, just outside the Visitor Centre, is great during fine weather, where you can relax under the shade of low trees and in case rain appears you can take shelter in the nearby Coffee Shop. There is also a picnic area in 'deer corner'.
The pine marten is rarely seen in the wild. They are agile hunters with attractive colouring and features. We currently have four, called Hamish, Buttons, Bonnie and Clyde. Their enclosures are linked by overhead runs and Hamish enjoys viewing visitors from on high.
We have a growing colony of red squirrels, with several breeding pairs and a number of youngsters (kits) each year. Many of these have been released into our new Walk-Through Red Squirrel enclosure, the first of its kind in the country, located in the Copse. In spring 2011 our first litter of kits were bred and born in the walk-through enclosure.
Our male short-eared owl 'Fawkes' is on display in the outside aviaries. This striking native owl has penetrating bright yellow eyes. A short-eared owl's ear tufts are rarely visible but displayed when the owl is alarmed or in defensive mode. Unusually for owls it a ground nesting bird and hunts by day and by night.
Snakes: Adders & Grass Snakes
You'll have to look very carefully to see the snakes as they are well camouflaged in their natural habitat, but when the sun's out they are often seen out basking to soak up the warmth. In spring you may be lucky enough to witness the adders 'dance', when two males compete for a female. Their bodies rise up and intertwine in an attempt to force each other to the ground.
Usually found only in Arctic and Scandinavian regions, the snowy owl does visit Scotland, although it has not bred there for several years.
We have two adult snowy owls. The female named Hermoine lives in the outside aviaries. The male, named Hedwig, can be seen in full flight at the owl flying display, held every afternoon on open days.
We have a rolling programme of unique wildlife films made specially for us. The theatre also features in scheduled school visits.
All the facilities you need for an enjoyable visit including the wildlife Gift Shop and the Coffee Shop, which serves hot & cold drinks, sandwiches, pastries, cakes, ice creams and snacks.
The water vole is one of Britain's most endangered mammals, and is now rarely seen. We are breeding water voles here for future release in our wetland nature reserve, and with a bit of patience they can be seen here in their pond, especially when their food is put out.
Over 600 metres of boardwalk takes you into our developing wetland nature reserve (currently 20 acres but growing), with wonderful views and a huge variety of wildlife moving in, including a group of resident nesting herons.
In Britain they are found only in remote parts of Scotland. Larger and fiercer than the domestic cat, the wildcat has distinctive markings, short dense fur and a thick bushy tail. We have four on display. In spring 2010 four wildcat kittens were born here, after a gap of five years.