4 of the Best Animal Sanctuaries to Visit in Cornwall
September 06th, 2021
Make the most of your family friendly holiday in Cornwall and get to know some of the local inhabitants with a trip to an animal sanctuary!
Cornwall’s breathtaking landscape is home to a vast array of native wildlife, including seals, dolphins, lizards, adders, turtles, and so much more. There are numerous brilliant animal sanctuaries across the county that do wonderful work to protect and rehabilitate all sorts of animals from Cornwall and around the world.
Each wildlife sanctuary offers a unique experience, with many including other great attractions to entice you and plenty of ways to support the animals on a long term basis.
We’ve narrowed down some of our favourite Cornish animal sanctuaries below.
1. Paradise Park and Jungle Barn, Hayle
Situated along the north Cornish coast, Paradise Park and Jungle Barn is the place to go for birds of every kind. This exciting bird sanctuary is home to over 130 species of birds from all over the globe.
You’ll also find red pandas, farm animals, Asian seals, red squirrels and miniature donkeys.
Things to Do and See at Paradise Park
There’s lots to do here with plenty of opportunities to see rare birds you might not find anywhere else. You’ll find everything from flamingos to kookaburras, bald eagles, penguins, golden eagles – and lots more.
The tropical aviaries are a must-see – these awesome exhibits include areas where you can sit or meander and watch the birds as they fly above you. Don’t forget to catch one of the brilliant bird shows where you can learn all about these wonderful animals.
From there, take a tranquil stroll through the tropical gardens where birds fly free amongst the beautiful botanicals, streams and ponds. Here, you’ll also find a children’s play area, bee garden and other features to explore.
Stop by the Fun Farm, where the kids will adore the chance to get up close and feed the sheep, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs and miniature donkeys. You can then head to the Jungle Barn indoor soft play area for even more fun.
Conservation at Paradise Park
Additionally, Paradise Park is home to the World Parrot Trust and the brilliant Cornish conservation project – Operation Chough.
Thanks to the great work of Operation Chough, you can see some of the red-billed choughs the charity is working hard to bring back to the area permanently.
Ticket Prices for Paradise Park
- Adults: £14.75
- Children: £10.75
- Family of 4: £47.50
- Over 60s: £13
(Add a couple of extra pounds for entry tickets to the Jungle Barn)
2. Porfell Wildlife Park, Liskeard
Porfell Wildlife Park is another fun-packed adventure. As Cornwall’s largest exotic animal sanctuary, you can expect to see all sorts of animals here, with plenty of great opportunities to learn about the natural habitats they would usually call home.
Things to Do and See at Porfell Wildlife Park
The park is home to more than 250 animals who live in enclosures designed to replicate their natural environment. One of the most memorable sections is The Great Rift Valley which contains an authentic Maasai village constructed using traditional methods.
Native animals surround the village to replicate the beautiful way the Maasai people and local wildlife cohabitate. Inside the village, there are all sorts of artisan crafts to enjoy as well as insight into the clothes and the history of the people.
Another stand-out space is the Ancient Woodland, where you can follow the many trails to learn about the wetlands. You’ll also find woods filled with ancient Cornish ash, willows, alders, oak, plants and lots of other native botanicals.
The Children’s Farm is also tons of fun with everything from pigs to chickens, chipmunks, rabbits, sheep, goats and more. Ultimately, it’s a great day out with an enormous range of animals from around the world to see.
Tickets Prices for Porfell Wildlife Park
- Adults: £10
- Children: £7
- Family of 4: £31
- Over 60s: £8
3. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek
The beautiful Cornish coast is famous for its population of grey seals and lesser numbers of common seals. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is part of The Sealife Trust, a charity that comes to the aid of Cornwall’s grey seals when in need.
Things to Do and See at The Cornish Seal Sanctuary
At the sanctuary, alongside grey seals who are rehabilitated then returned to the waters, you’ll also find common seals, South American or Southern sea lions and Humboldt penguins. Out in the paddock, there are also ponies, goats and sheep.
There are lots of great ways to see the seals and other marine animals during your visit. You can join the morning rounds on the Cornish Seal Sanctuary’s Breakfast Tour to uncover why seal pups end up getting rescued.
Or, why not discover how the seals are looked after on the Keeper For a Day Tour? For a private afternoon visit that starts with an exclusive Cornish cream tea, check out the Afternoon Seal Tour.
For an extra special experience, you can see the seals, sea lions and penguins up close with a visit to the underwater viewing experience.
Ticket Prices for The Cornish Seal Sanctuary
- Adults: £15
- Children: £12.50
- Family of 4: £48
- Over 60s: £14.50
4. Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary, Looe
Wild Futures is a UK charity dedicated to the conservation and welfare of primates in need. The Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary is home to 40 primates, including Barbary macaques, capuchins, marmosets and woolly monkeys.
Things to Do and See at Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary
Alongside the monkeys, the children’s Wild Play Area will provide plenty of fun. This area has lots of room to run around, plus an adventure playground, children’s craft workshops, face painting and sanctuary-themed activities.
The Monkey Sanctuary’s south-facing garden is a resplendent space, surrounded by woodland and meadows with views across the coast. You’ll find over 285 types of wildflowers, 23 species of butterflies, 60 species of birds and lots more within the grounds.
Watch the bees busy at work on the live feed in Bumblebee Corner, then take a quiet moment to sit and spot all the birds from the Bird Hide.
Before you go, visit the Wildlife Room to learn about all the animals and plants that inhabit the site’s nine acres, as well as the essential work done by Wild Futures.
Ticket Prices for Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary
- Adults: £9.50
- Children: £5
- Over 65s: £7
A trip to any one of these attractions is sure to make your holiday to Cornwall one to remember!
To round off your perfect Cornwall break, you’ll need the perfect place to stay. Take a look at our luxury award-winning cottages today and start planning your next break.
Image Credits: Visit Cornwall
LOCATION GUIDE: NANJIZAL BEACH – PENWITH BEACHES
June 11th, 2021
If you’re looking for a quiet, secluded and dog-friendly beach while on your holiday, then Nanjizal Beach might just be the location for you! Especially if you’re staying in one of our dog-friendly cottages in Truro, Cornwall.
Where is Nanjizal Beach?
Nanjizal Beach is a beautiful and secluded spot in the Cornish town of Penzance. Full of natural stone sculptures, caves and freshwater waterfalls, it’s a truly stunning location that is well worth the trip.
How to Get to Nanjizal Beach
When we say secluded, we’re not exaggerating. Nanjizal Beach is about an hours walk from the nearest road or car park, but we promise it’s worth the journey!
How to Get to Nanjizal Beach by Car
As one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets, you won’t find any signposts to this beach. But fret not! With our directions, you’ll be able to find it with no problem.
From The Valley, take the A30 towards Penzance but turn off when you see the directions for Land’s End. Before you reach Land’s End, keep an eye out for a signpost for Trevascan. Turn left here, and you’ll find a place to park either on the road or in a lay-by in the village.
On foot, head past the Appletree Café, and you’ll see a bus stop on your right. Behind the bus stop, you’ll find a small courtyard of houses, head down the home’s left-hand side, and follow the footpath towards Trevilley Farm.
Make your journey through the farm and fields, and head towards the sea. After several fields, you will reach a kissing gate. Follow this path towards the coast and make sure you keep right when the left turn appears. Follow the path along the top of the valley, and it will eventually lead down to the small cove of Nanjizal.
How to Get to Nanjizal Beach on Foot
However you travel to Nanjizal Beach, it will involve a trek – which is perfect if you’re on a hiking holiday!
There are two main ways of walking to Nanjizal Beach. You can make the 47-minute walk North/ North-West along the South West Coastal Path from Porthgwarra Beach to Nanjizal Beach. Or, if you want to make the most of all Cornwall has to offer, you can follow the path South/South-East from Land’s End and make it to Nanjizal in half an hour.
Whatever way you decide to take, make sure you bring water to keep hydrated and maybe even a picnic so you can bask in the beauty of the Cornish coast.
Are Dogs Allowed on Nanjizal Beach?
Another brilliant aspect of this hidden gem is that dogs are allowed all year round! That means you can make the trip with all the family. Plus, by the time you’ve made it back to your car, your furry friend will have dried off after the inevitable splash in the shallows!
What is at Nanjizal Beach?
As far as facilities, there are none. What makes Nanjizal Beach so magical is how unspoilt it is. It’s all part of the charm.
There is plenty of wildlife to see, making it an excellent spot for bird watchers; Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Blackcap breed here. There are also a few large rock pools in the area that could house all manner of sea life.
The thing Nanjizal is known for is the fantastic and naturally occurring stone structures, one of which being the famous Diamond Horse; this nickname is due to it having a quartz vein running through it which sparkles in the sun. You can find this structure on the north side of the cliff.
On the south side, you’ll find the magnificent rock arch called ‘Zawn Pyg’, also known as ‘Song of the Sea’.
Nanjizal Beach is one of the most beautiful, best-kept secrets in Cornwall, but there are some things to note. Depending on the time of year and the recent tides, the beach may not be a golden, sandy haven but a slightly rocky cove. There’s also no lifeguard cover for this beach, so take extra care with swimming or snorkelling.
This trip is a must when visiting Cornwall, and if you plan it right, you’ll have an adventure the whole family can join – even the dog!
Wildlife Watching Spots in Cornwall
July 10th, 2020
Cornwall is home to a range of diverse, unspoilt landscapes that make it the perfect spot for a range of wildlife to settle down!
From marine mammals to wild horses, there is an interesting mix of wildlife in Cornwall, with plenty of opportunities to try and spot them.
If you are an animal enthusiast or would love the experience of spotting whales and sharks off the coast, then there are many ways in which you can catch a glimpse of the wonderful natural world while on holiday. We share some of the ways in which you can enjoy wildlife watching while in Cornwall.
Lizard Point is the southern tip of the Lizard Peninsula. As the most south-westerly point of the British mainland, it offers stunning views of the surrounding sea.
From here, you’ll be able to spot a whole host of marine life, including dolphins, sharks and seals. In Cornwall, the common dolphin and the bottlenose dolphin are the most frequently spotted. You’ll see the common dolphin travelling in pods of up to 100 dolphins, jumping out of the water as they swim.
The south coast of Cornwall offers a slightly warmer climate than most areas, drawing in a wide range of sea life. Falmouth is one of the best areas for spotting wildlife, as the deep Falmouth Bay and surrounding rivers and beaches provide the perfect place for a diverse selection of marine life and sea birds.
In Falmouth Bay, you’ll have the possibility of spotting minke whales, bottlenose dolphins, basking sharks, sunfish – and if you’re lucky – humpback whales.
Over at Pendennis Point, you’ll also find several small colonies of seals lounging around on the rocks, while the nearby estuaries are home to a variety of wading birds.
A trip to Falmouth will present you with plenty of opportunities to get a better view of the wildlife from the water, with a range of sea safaris and river cruises that will bring you closer to the assortment of fascinating creatures that call Falmouth home.
At Godrevy Point you’ll find Mutton Cove, which at low tide is home to a colony of grey seals! You’ll be able to see them from the cliff tops above, as it is best to avoid disturbing them on the cove.
The best time to spot seals is in the autumn and winter, as pupping season lasts from September to January, and you’ll be able to spot all of the adorable baby seals and their mothers. During January, it’s not unusual to spot up to 100 seals in this sheltered bay area!
Away from the sea, there is also plenty of wildlife to spot inland. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bodmin Moor is home to a range of animals, including 10,000 cows, 50,000 sheep and 1,000 horses and ponies!
While local farmers own the ponies, they are free to graze the moorland, so you’re likely to spot some if off on a trek around the area.
With surrounding ocean views to lose yourself staring into, Land’s End is the perfect spot for some wildlife spotting, with the area being a hive of activity for basking sharks, dolphins and seals.
As well as sea life, Land’s End is also popular with a range of birds, including gannets, choughs and falcons.
Cornish Seal Sanctuary
If you want the guarantee of spotting some sea life, then head to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Here, seals and other marine life, such as sea lions, penguins and otters are rescued and rehabilitated, with the aim of returning them to their natural environment.
Home to incredible open spaces and an impressive mix of wildlife, a visit to Cornwall is a must for any nature lover. Located in a secluded spot within acres of garden and woodland, The Valley is the perfect place to stay for a luxury Falmouth holiday, with plenty of wildlife watching on the cards!
There’s plenty more to do while staying in Cornwall too, with a wide range of outdoor attractions now open to visitors!
Visit beautiful Looe Island on your Cornish escape
February 23rd, 2016
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust-run Looe Island is soon to open for the 2016 season, showcasing its glorious natural landscape and abundant wildlife.
Looe Island, also known as St George’s Island, and historically St Michael’s Island is a small island a mile from the mainland town of Looe in Cornwall with you now able to book your place to visit this stunning nature reserve.
The haven is home to a large variety of nesting birds such as oystercatchers, shags and cormorants as well as Cornwall’s largest colony of the black-backed gulls. In the next few months the island really comes alive with sea birds breeding and wild flowers blooming in preparation for spring.
Keep your eyes peeled on the boat ride to the island with grey seals and dolphins usually seen frolicking in the boat’s wake.
A guided walk takes around three and a half hours which includes an informative slideshow in Jetty Cottage with the warden, or you can explore the Island on your own.
All the guided walks are afternoon events and cost £25 per person.
Dates this year are: Wednesday April 6, Wednesday April 20, Thursday May 5, Friday May 20, Saturday June 4, Monday July 18, and Thursday September 29.
Plus there are two speciality guided walks, both afternoon events, costing £25 per person.
Sunday July 3: Birds of Looe Island with Derek Spooner, and Thursday September 15, History of Looe Island with Mark Camp.
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Photo by: Paula Goddfellow
More Humpback Whales spotted in Cornwall
January 21st, 2016
They were spotted last week swimming around off the shores of St Ives and it seems there must be something around the Cornish coast that they like as more have been spotted this week too!
Surfers spotted the Whales again off Droskyn Point as the mammals breached the surface before their tales signalled them diving for the deep.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust says Humpback whales are the only species of whale in our waters that lift their tail before diving!
Experts say Humpback whales feed on krill and small fish including herring, sardine and anchovies, all of which are all found in the Cornish waters at this time of the year. The Gulf Stream current brings in warm water from across the Atlantic bringing an abundant amount of life to the nutrient and food-rich waters.
Other interesting facts about these magnificent animals include:
- An adult Humpback whale can grow to an average length of 40-60 ft long and weigh as much as 44 tons. That is twice as long as a London bus and as heavy as almost nine African elephants.
- These marine mammals are generally either a dark grey or black colour with white patches on their stomach and knobs (known as tubercles) covering their head.
- The whale’s back is largely flat with a small dorsal fin located down the far side of its back, however when swimming the humpback may arch its back and flukes causing its back to look like a large hump.
- These marine mammals are known for their massive size and haunting whale songs that are often produced during mating season when male humpback whales sing to compete against other males for the right to mate with a female humpback.
With The Valleys luxury cottages in Cornwall you have the perfect home away from home to come and explore Cornwall and its fantastic marine life…. Just remember to bring your binoculars!
Photo by: Zorankovacevic
Three Cornish gardens you must visit
December 17th, 2015
Cornwall has something for everyone, but the main focus is its beautiful natural landscape which varies from coastal coves to sparse moorland. There are a host of magical spots to explore and experience the history of Cornwall and here are three you must include when taking advantage of our luxurious accommodation in Cornwall. (more…)
Autumnal Equinox in pictures: how can you take advantage of it, and what does it mean for you?
September 23rd, 2015
As the Autumnal Equinox officially marks the arrival of autumn, here at The Valley we thought we would celebrate the changing of the seasons with a flurry of pictures and information on the season that brings us a warmth of colour and cosiness in the way that only nature can.
Newquay Zoo proud to announce the arrival of two rare endangered South American parrot chicks
July 23rd, 2015
Newquay Zoo, a frequently visited family attraction for our luxury lodges, Cornwall has officially announced the arrival of a pair of rare and endangered parrot chicks to their existing collection of exotic birds.
VIDEO: Amazing scenes as white-beaked dolphins captured on film in Falmouth Bay
January 20th, 2015
There are three things you are guaranteed when you come to our region of the UK, the highest rated cottages, Cornwall views like no other, and amazing Cornish wildlife. And following the scenes that took place just before the new year whereby wildlife watchers out at sea on a local Wildlife Cruise trip were wowed by the sight of some sleek white-beaked dolphins playing off Falmouth just reinforces our point- and what a spectacular way to do so!
Wildlife and nature to look out for in Cornwall this Autumn
November 04th, 2014
Including the area surrounding our luxury holiday cottages, Cornwall is known for its stunning, serene countryside, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife and nature delights. This is especially so in the autumn, when the change in the landscape brought about by the season brings out new wildlife to spot. The Cornish Wildlife Trust has provided information on the wildlife highlights that you may spot this autumn, so keep an eye out for these while exploring Cornwall on an autumn day’s walk:
A common product of the autumn, when the trees shed their foliage, hazelnuts can often be found in the Cornish woodland in shrubs and along river banks. They are also an indicator of wildlife living nearby, as many animals have adapted to crack them open to survive in the winter, such as dormice and bird species. They also make an ideal autumn snack when roasted, so you may also be tempted to forage any hazelnuts you come across on your walk.
Due to Cornwall’s extensive and varied coastline, grey seals often come to breed here, preferring sea caves and cliff-backed beaches. The seals can be spotted on the North coast from Cape Cornwall to Boscastle, and along the South coast at The Lizard and the Fal estuary. Autumn is the ideal time to see the grey seals as October is often when the pups are born, giving you a rare chance to see these wonderful creatures together with their newborns. Following dolphins and whales, they are the largest predators in Britain, weighing in at around 200kg, with Cornwall being home to the largest grey seal colonies in the UK.
Mushrooms are often an underappreciated aspect of the natural landscape, but if you look closely, you can learn to appreciate the diversity that they add to the surrounding nature. Toadstools are especially common in the woodland in autumn, and can measure up to 25cm across. Some toadstools grow tiny hair-like roots which can attach themselves to tree roots, allowing them to extract nutrients and feed off the tree.
With a number of bird species migrating over Cornwall in the autumn, including those who are typically found in continental Europe, Cornwall is an ideal spot for birdwatching. A rare and unusual example of a bird species found over Cornwall in the autumn is the Wryneck, a woodpecker-like bird which is now largely extinct in Britain due to the decline in the number of their traditional orchard habitats. Named after the way that they appear to twist their neck to point their head in the opposite direction to their body (though this is actually an optical illusion), they are notoriously difficult to spot, with their grey and brown plumage enabling them to blend in with the tree branches.