Visiting our sanctuary is a pleasant and enriching activity for many people. Read our guidance on how to enjoy your time with our donkeys in a safe way.

Advice for visitors to The Donkey Sanctuary

Visiting any centre with animals is an enjoyable and educational experience for many people, particularly children. We want you to enjoy our donkeys and some will probably come up for a scratch – they are inquisitive and friendly animals.

However, such visits can never be free from all risks. Any animal, even those that look clean and healthy, carry infections that can be harmful to people. Donkeys do not present as much of a risk as some of the farmed animals, but we want your visit to be safe as well as enjoyable.

Germs in the animal’s dung or on their skin will be on the animal’s body, fences and surfaces around the farm. Touching animals, fences and other surfaces can therefore lead to infection, as you may pick up germs and accidentally pass them to your mouth.

Also be aware of treading in dung as this may stay on your footwear and be a risk when you handle them or surfaces you walk on. It only takes a small number of germs to cause infection.

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after you have had contact with animals will reduce the risk of infection.

What to do when visiting us


    • Do wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have touched animals, fences or other surfaces in animal areas
    • Do wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or drinking
    • Do supervise children closely to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly
    • Do eat and drink in picnic areas or the restaurant only
    • Do wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after removing dirty shoes or boots that have been worn at the sanctuary.

    Do not

    • Do not put hands on faces or fingers in mouths while petting animals or walking around the animal areas
    • Do not kiss animals or allow children to put their faces close to animals
    • Do not eat or drink while touching animals or walking around the animal areas. This includes not eating sweets, crisps or chewing gum
    • Do not eat anything that has fallen on the floor
    • Do not use gels or wipes instead of washing hands with soap and water. Gels and wipes do not remove germs that are in dirt
    • The hand sanitisers we have provided will work on a reasonable amount of dirt and will kill germs on contact. They also continue to protect you for a period of time

    We have put measures in place to protect you:

    • We do not allow animals in any of the areas that we have allocated for eating, or use fencing so they cannot be touched
    • We have handwashing stations or hand sanitisers in all areas where you can touch our donkeys as well as areas designated for eating
    • We regularly power hose yards and clean up all dirty bedding
    • Any sick animals are immediately isolated from visitor areas – along with their companion.

    The measures we’ve implemented to help ensure visitor health and safety are taken from the National Farm Attractions Network Industry Code of Practice.