I love a donkey. So why have I never taken the time to visit the Flicka Foundation before today?
Mary Berryman founded this wonderful charity more than 20 years ago and it provides 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 popped in as I had heard that their patron, the actress Caroline Quentin, had just 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!
Meet the Donkeys
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 and 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 surprises me, considering what many of the donkeys have been through, is how many of them actually look for human contact. They come right up to the fence and ‘ask’ to be petted. I find a good rub between the ears seems to do the trick!
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 is the first time that all the donkeys have 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, plenty of balls and toys to play with, the donkeys loved it!
The Flicka Donkey Sanctuary is a working charity. The founder’s daughters, Judy and Laurie, run the charity with the help of local volunteers. They survive on donations and when you consider the residents cost around £60,000 a year to feed and care for . . . !
When to visit and how you can help
The sanctuary is Free for visitors to visit but you should definitely consider leaving 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!