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Neighhhhh we love Redwings!

Completely FREE and totally awesome fun for all the family, it's clear to see why Redwings won our Best Family Attraction Muddy Award 2019. 

It all began with the rescue of a single pony named Sheba in 1984. From that one life saved, Redwings Horse Sanctuary has become a national animal welfare charity responsible for more than 2,000 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in five centres across the UK. The charity is 100% funded by donations and at £10 million a year to sustain their vital work – that’s a whole lot of horse love!

I recently had the pleasure of visiting their Caldecott site near Fritton Lake which cares for over 1,500 rescued equines and was excited to see lots of new developments including stables, a rehoming centre and café/shop. Plus a little donkey told me there might be a new play area and wedding/self catering venue in the pipeline (Esther will tell you anything for a carrot).

Rain or shine – Redwings at Caldecott & Aylsham are a brilliant place to let the kids run around, splash in the mud and make some adorable furry friends along the way. There are always lots of interactive activities including guided tours, pony grooming and a fun filled programme of events during the school holidays (at a small extra cost). My mudlings particularly like the sound of becoming a mini farrier or horse dentist for the day!

Entry is completely FREE (I kid you not) – making this an acccessible day out for families, schools, charities and community groups which gets a big Muddy thumbs up from us!

I’m not a particularly horsey person, however it’s hard not to fall in love with the likes of the ‘The Gangsters’ – six adorable miniature Shetlands who arrived at Redwings in 2011 from a site in Birmingham after their owner sadly passed away. This cheeky little group who include Ronnie, Reggie and Baby Face Nelson (above) love to cause havoc but most of all they absolutely love having cuddles from their adoring fans.

Every horse, pony and donkey has a home for life no matter how complex their health or behavioural needs. The passion for this charity is clear in every staff and volunteer member you meet and is what makes Redwings so very special.

Every resident has a name, personality and story – which makes it impossible to resist their “Adoption Star” scheme. We recently welcomed Cookie, Zippy, Rumpel, Arya and Minnie to the family and at only £15 per year it’s perfect for kids who have always wanted to own a horse without the hard work and expense of looking after them!

Caldecott is currently building a Memory Garden for supporters to remember lost loved ones, both people and pets and is already home to a stunning life-sized horse sculpture by Norfolk artist, Connie Adam. Modelled on former Redwings resident Welbeck, an ex -police horse who served at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and lived happily at the Sanctuary for 13 years.

Alongside Redwings’ rescued residents – a further 700 horses and ponies live on permanent loan in loving Guardian homes – pop along to Roarr Dinosaur Adventure and say hello to donkey friends Addison & Arnie. Interesting fact – donkeys are sensitive souls  and like us need a friend to prevent them feeling lonely. Therefore, if possible it’s better to rehome as pairs – oh crikey if only I had a bigger back garden.

They also campaign for horse welfare rights – see their ‘Stamp out Strangles’ campaign and offer free advice and seminars for local horse owners on things such as winter horse care and how to load a horse into a horse box.

I am completely flabbergasted that Redwings find the time to share so much with the public and if like me you’re a soggy sandwich packed lunch mum, I urge you to try and give a little and help them continue their great work! It doesn’t take much – a cake in their lovely café, adopting a pony for £15 a year or treat the kiddos to some of this gorgeous merch!

Redwings at Caldecott & Aylsham open Fri – Mon, 10am-4pm throughout the year and dogs are welcome on leads. For more information visit www.redwings.org.uk

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