Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Chestnut Centre

We had a wonderful day out yesterday at the Chestnut Centre in Derbyshire with my father-in-law, sister-in-law and her partner. It was exceptionally cold which was exacerbated by that fact that it is difficult to take photos while wearing mittens!

The day didn't start too well after I had relied on Google for driving directions. Unfortunately it directed us down a narrow road through the village of Wash. A few miles down this road you eventually reach a sign that states "Not Suitable for Motor Vehicles". I can't fully blame Google for this as when I looked at a pink (1:50,000) OS map I would have used the same road -- it was yellow and not white. I then compounded the problem by directing us down another road which also became single track. It then became exceptionally steep and covered in ice, at which point the car slid backwards a bit and we had to take a third route to the centre. I was not popular with the driver! Fortunately the rest of the day was so enjoyable I seem to have been forgiven.

The Chestnut Centre is billed as an Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park and the main attraction for me was seeing otters up close for the first time. The star otter is Manoki -- currently the only giant otter in the UK.

There were also a number of other species of otter including a family of Asian Short Clawed otters and a couple of highly photogenic North American River otters.

As well as the otters there were a number of other mammals but unfortunately most were hiding out of the cold. There were, however, plenty of Owls on display, including a Snowy Owl and a Great Grey Owl, as well as yet another very tame Robin.

Having done some falconry on the honeymoon I wasn't as impressed by the Owls as I would have been in the past but it was still nice to see some species that I hadn't seen before.

Just when we thought we just had the gift shop to explore we found we still had harvest mice to see.

I've only put up a small selection of the photos I took, but if you want to see more of the day then you can also look at the photos my father-in-law took.

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