Today's visit took the donkey weekers to Woods Farm where they had the first opportunity to take donkeys for walks as well as groom and cuddle them.
The donkeys all seem excited to see us when we arrive. Many are stood waiting and bray happily to see us.
Some of the donkey weekers made their way into one of the barns where Ian Humphries, one of the Sanctuary lorry drivers, was giving a fascinating talk about his work and travels to Europe transporting donkeys back to the UK. Not only were the donkey weekers listening, but there was a line of donkeys at the back with their ears all tuned in listening!
On a walk round to the fields, I found Carol Daniels sitting with her donkey Horace, who she had relinquished to the Sanctuary in 2007 due to her ill-health. He came into the Sanctuary with his Shetland pony friend, Pepper, who unfortunately passed away.
It was also Carol's first year at International Donkey Week and she was spending the day sitting and relaxing with Horace, a handsome Andulucian donkey. Carol said Horace always thought he was human, so it's taken him a while to realise he's a donkey ... with the help of all the donkeys.
Walking back through the farm, I caught a lift on a trailer ride with other donkey weekers heading up the hills to see the stunning view of the valley with Woods Farm sitting below. Over to the left was Sidmouth with views out towards the blue sea and fields of bright yellow from the rapeseed flowers in fields to the right.
Back down at the farm, Joe Anzuino was giving a talk about the Sanctuary's work overseas. Just as before, the donkeys were standing at the back of the barn with all their ears forward - a sign of them being alert and interested!
The day's visit was coming to a close, and the coaches were waiting to take all the donkey weekers back to their hotels. Some of them had booked tickets for this evening's bingo, which had been organised by our sister charity, the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys at its centre in the grounds of the Sanctuary.
Tomorrow's trip will be to East Axnoller Farm in the county of Dorset. Out of all the farms, East Axnoller Farm is one of my favourites, as there's a very special donkey there called Panda. I met her for the first time as a donkey weeker myself back in 2005 and every year since, I have looked out for Panda and have taken her for many walks and cuddles.
I was fortunate to drive over to East Axnoller Farm last month to take some photos of donkey 'turnout' and I took the opportunity to give Panda an extra cuddle!