Camping, Food, Photography, Travel, Walking

Camping with Lizzie in the Peak District Day 2 – Otter Sanctuary

Day 2 of camping in the Peak District was supposed to be spent walking, however it was still raining when we woke up so we laid in for a bit and then went looking for local attractions which would allow greater opportunity to hide from the rain if necessary.  Lizzie had found a brochure for a local animal sanctuary the Chestnut Centre which has lots of owls and otters and a nature trail so we decided to head there.First though we had to tidy up from last night, some animal had got into our bin  and spread rubbish across the field which we spent a while picking up.  Today was the first day Lizzie drove my car and she had fun learning how it was different from hers.  Unusually I wasn’t nervous at all about someone else driving my car like I usually am.

“Looks a bit dodgy out here, time to go back to bed”

Yep, that’s where I’m going back to!

View across the campsite, convincing me not to go walking around these hills today.

On the nature walk in the Chestnut Centre, there are deer here somewhere.

Deer!

A wild Lizzie appears!

Lizzie contemplates a tree…

Actually it is several trees “hugging each other” the sign next to it encourages you to hug the tree…

I always knew she was a smelly hippy!

The sanctuary seems to be located in the old ornamental gardens of a Victorian house so there are lots of little streams, pools and waterfalls with paths through flowers and trees.  So here are some pictures of all of those things to amuse you.

Now we have entered the animal sanctuary part and the first thing we came across was this sign behind the glass on an enclosure.  Unfortunately there were no degenerate badgers to be seen rehabilitating!

This is the biggest pond on the site.  You can stand on this viewing platform and look down on it.  Unfortunately right now it is empty.

This heron is not part of the sanctuary but is here to steal the fish fed to the otters!

These are giant river otters.

And it is feeding time!

After the giant otters, there were more otters of normal size.

The other thing they have lots of, besides otters is owls.  These are burrowing owls.

We stopped half way round the animals to eat our packed lunch.  Despite there being only one rest bench marked on the map, there are actually many benches and picnic tables scattered around and we found one with a nice view of a stream to sit for lunch.  The weather was getting nicer but it was still cold when sitting still in the wind so we ate quickly and drank hot coffee to keep warm before carrying on.  There is quite a lot to see here and I was surprised at how long took to see all the animals.

One of the many otter pens.

Yet more otters.

Presumably in family groups.

After spending hours walking through otter pens and owl cages, we were suddenly back on the path to the car park.  There is certainly plenty to see at the Chestnut Centre if you have a spare afternoon.  I should mention that there are a lot of owls in the sanctuary but I couldn’t photograph them through the wire mesh of the aviaries.  There were also allegedly badgers and foxes but they weren’t coming out to play when we were there.  We did see a wild cat and a polecat though.  The polecat was hilarious, repeatedly dragging straw out of its nest box and pulling it into a tube that led up to a higher part of the cage.  It would immediately come back out of the tube, bringing the straw with it and leave the straw outside the entrance to the tube.  It then went back to the nest box, got fresh straw and repeated the process.  After we had watched for 5 minutes or so there was a trail of straw several inches deep from the tube to the nest box and the polecat was still at it and showing no signs of stopping.

On the way back to the campsite, we ventured into Buxton in search of a tea shop to have some coffee and cake but unfortunately all we found were kids who were painting willies on things with silly string and an outdoors shop with a massive sale.  So we bought more warm clothes for tonight.  I was getting tired and hungry and a bit grouchy so we headed back home to have dinner.  Cooked and ate outside in the cold again but it wasn’t as windy and didn’t rain this time.  The night wasn’t nearly as cold but still cold enough to drive us under the covers early.

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