We want to keep you informed about our response to the coronavirus outbreak. Here are the answers to some of the most common FAQs we receive.

The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth plans to reopen to the public on Monday 17 May 2021.

Visitors can expect a return of the sanctuary’s high-quality visitor experience, but with some Covid-19 measures still in place to keep visitors, staff and donkeys as safe as possible.

The Kitchen, Gift Shop and more of the indoor attractions will be open, as well as greater access to the wider walks around the sanctuary providing plenty of opportunities to interact with the resident donkeys. The Play Area will also be open, but The Maze and Hermitage Woods will remain closed at this time.

We very much look forward to welcoming visitors and supporters back to the sanctuary and would like to thank everyone for their continued support throughout the pandemic.

We will be providing an update on opening our other public-facing centres across the UK, Ireland and Europe soon, so please keep an eye on our website for updates.

Frequently asked questions

Donkey welfare

Can I still call if I am concerned about the welfare of a donkey?

As we adapt to the situation and most recent government guidance we have had to make significant changes to the way we work to keep each other safe and still reach donkeys most in need of our help.

Our welfare office team is now working from home but we are still on hand to provide advice and discuss any donkey welfare concerns you may have.

Our team of Donkey Welfare Advisers will review any welfare concerns reported to us and respond accordingly.

Action

If you are concerned about the welfare of a donkey or mule in England, Scotland or Wales please get in touch.

You can complete our online checklist or alternatively, call our welfare advice line on 01395 578222 Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.30pm to speak to our experienced welfare team.

If your concern is an emergency and falls outside our normal office hours you will be directed to our emergency help line.

Advice for donkey owners and Donkey Guardians

If you are a donkey owner or Donkey Guardian worried about caring for your animals during the Covid-19 outbreak, we are still here for you. Please read our specific guidance on what you can do to help your donkeys and mules if you self-isolate or become unwell.

Visiting our sanctuaries

When will you be reopening?

The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth plans to reopen to the public on Monday 17 May 2021. Please note that this date is subject to change in line with any updated guidelines from the government.

Do I need to pre-book my visit?

No, we are confident we can facilitate a safe and enjoyable experience based our capacity and the number of visitors we expect to have, but please check our website and social media pages for the latest information and updates.

Are you restricting the numbers of visitors on site?

We will be monitoring and managing the number of visitors coming to the sanctuary on entry to the car parks, but with greater access to the wider sanctuary increasing our capacity, we are confident we can facilitate a safe and enjoyable experience based on the number of visitors we expect to have.

Procedures are in place to manage visitor flow and react if crowding becomes an issue. Rest assured your safety and the safety of our staff and donkeys is our priority.

What are your new opening hours?

We plan to open the sanctuary every day from 9am – 5pm, but please check our website for the latest information and updates.

Will I still be able to see the donkeys when I visit?

Yes, and we plan to reopen the wider walks around the sanctuary providing plenty of opportunities to interact with the resident donkeys. Please DO NOT feed the donkeys, their diets are carefully managed by our staff to ensure they receive the appropriate food.

What are you doing to keep staff and visitors safe?

We have introduced a number of new hand hygiene stations / sanitiser points. Our staff will be wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.

Tables in The Kitchen and picnic benches have been reconfigured to ensure distance between seated parties. Please do not move tables or share tables with anyone not in your group.

We have installed hygiene screens at the tills in The Kitchen and gift shop.

We have introduced enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the day, which seek to disinfect high frequency touch points.

We have marked out parking bays so you can park and disembark safely.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

As per government regulations, you will be required to wear a face covering indoors, including the Gift Shop, The Kitchen (not when seated at your table) and toilets, unless you are exempt from doing so. There are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

Can people catch coronavirus from donkeys?

There is no evidence that people can catch coronavirus from donkeys.

Can donkeys catch coronavirus from people?

There is no evidence that donkeys can catch coronavirus from people.

Which indoor and outdoor areas will be open?

The Kitchen, Gift Shop and more of the indoor attractions will be open, as well as greater access to the wider walks around the Sanctuary providing plenty of opportunities to interact with the resident donkeys. The Play Area will also be open, but The Maze and Hermitage Woods will remain closed at this time.

Full details will be announced in due course, so please keep an eye on our website for the latest information and updates.

Will you be running an activity trail for families?

Yes, we will be running an activity trail for families to enjoy while visiting and the full details will be announced on our website very soon.

Can I bring my dog?

Yes, dogs are welcome at the sanctuary but they must be kept on a lead at all times. Please note, dogs are welcome in the restaurant but they must be kept under your table and out of the walkway at all times.

Will you be accepting cash?

Yes, although cards are the safest payment method for you and our staff.

Will you be resuming donkey experiences when you reopen?

Due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we do not plan to resume donkey experiences for the foreseeable future. We understand this is disappointing, but the safety of our visitors, staff and donkeys is our top priority.

Will your other centres reopen to the public on Monday 17 May

We will be providing an update on opening our other public-facing centres across the UK, Ireland and Europe soon, so please keep an eye on our website for updates.

Adopt a Donkey

If I adopt a donkey, will I still get my adoption pack in the post?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey, you will still receive your adoption pack in the post. We aim to get this to you within 14 days of receiving your order.

Will I still receive updates about my Adoption donkey?

Yes. We are currently still able to send out updates about our adoption donkeys. Remember to follow Adopt a Donkey on Facebook and Twitter to see regular updates from all of our adoption donkeys.

I’ve just renewed my adoption; will I still receive my new portraits?

Yes. Thank you so much for renewing your adoption for another year. We are still able to send you your new portraits. We aim to get these to you within 14 days.

I pay for my adoption by Direct Debit, will I still receive my new portraits on my anniversary?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey by Direct Debit. We are still able to send you your new portraits following the anniversary of your adoption. We aim to get these to you within 14 days.

I paid for my adoption with a one off payment, will I still receive a reminder when it’s time to renew my adoption?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey. If you paid for your adoption with a one off payment we will send you a reminder to renew when your adoption is due to expire. Don't forget you can always renew your adoption online.

Can I still visit my adopted donkey?

Due to the UK wide Covid-19 lockdown our sanctuaries are temporarily closed to visitors and service users.

Where is Ruby?

Ruby has moved to Shelter 1 with her friend Wonkey. Ruby prefers flatter ground so she is moving now before the Main Barn herd are let out onto the hilly Weston Valley. The fields and sand rolling area at Shelter 1 are flat, so this shelter is better suited to Ruby’s needs. There is a webcam at Shelter 1 and Ruby can easily be spotted as she will be the largest donkey in the group.

Can I still see Ruby when the site reopens?

Yes, when visitors return, she will be in a field so close and personal you will easily spot her. Shelter 1 is very close to the visitor car park and easily accessible to visitors with a public footpath running alongside her field.

Donations

Will you be processing my recent postal donation?

Yes. Postal donations will be processed, however, we have a smaller than usual team onsite, so there may be a delay in the processing.

We kindly ask that you consider donating online for the time being. This will mean that the money reaches us straight away and it will not need to be manually processed.

Online Shop

I have received a gift catalogue, can I still send in my order?

Yes, we are able to process gift catalogue postal orders.

What has changed for EU deliveries?

You can still place an order on our Online Shop. However, please note that you will be required to pay additional import duties and taxes when your order reaches your country.

As a consequence of Brexit, from 1 January 2021 all shipments to the EU are sent DAP (Delivery At Place). This means that any eventual import duties and relevant taxes are charged upon arrival in the destination country.

EU customers are no longer charged VAT on purchases through our Online Shop.

Will you be processing my recent postal order?

Yes. If you have any queries about your order please send us an email.

(Updated: 07/04/21, 08:33 GMT)