I love a donkey. So why have I never taken the time to visit the Flicka Foundation before today?
This wonderful charity was founded by Mary Berryman more than 20 years ago and since then has provided a safe place and rehabilitation for more than 600 animals.
Today the sanctuary cares for around 100 donkeys and horses in the small village of Mabe, not far from Falmouth. I decided to pop in as I had heard that their patron, the actress Caroline Quentin, had been there to officially open a new barn for them.
The first thing I noticed, while walking down past the meadows where most of the donkeys were out grazing in the sunshine, was how many they have here to look after!
Its obvious that each donkey has its personality and its own history. You can read about each individual’s story on Flicka’s website. Many of the older donkey’s wear collars with their names on, so it’s easy to learn about what brought them to the sanctuary. Sadly much of it doesn’t make easy reading. All the donkeys here have been rescued from abuse, neglect or abandonment.
The second thing that surprised me, considering what many of the donkeys have been through, was how many of them actually looked for human contact. They would often come right up to the fence and ‘ask’ to be petted. I find a good rub between the ears is always appreciated!
In the meadows you will also spot ponies, mules and miniature donkeys as well as the rare Baudet Du Poitou donkeys, which look like shaggy bears, or dare I say yetis.
The new Marybelle Barn, named after the sanctuary’s first rescue donkey, is looking wonderful and today was the first time that all the donkeys had access to it. And it caused a bit of excitement.
The barn provides an extra socialising space for them. With a sandy floor, salt licks and plenty of balls and toys to play with, the donkeys seemed to love it!
The Flicka Donkey Sanctuary is a working charity, now run by the founder’s daughters, Judy and Laurie and by local volunteers. It survives on donations and when you consider the four-legged residents cost around £60,000 a year to feed and care for that is no mean feet!
It is free for visitors to visit, although of course you are encouraged to leave a donation, buy something from the little gift shop or have a piece of cake in the Tea Bray’k Room.
And of course you can adopt a donkey for the bargain price of £25.
Do take the time to visit, I know I will be going back for more!
For more things to do in Cornwall go to my Things To Do page!