Raystede is an animal charity and welfare centre based in Ringmer, East Sussex. Relying entirely on donations, the sanctuary rescue, shelter and re-home unwanted and abandoned animals.
I recently visited Raystede to see how the centre operates its 43 acre site. Open to the public, the centre houses many animals, including goats, rabbits, dogs, cats and hens as well as horses, donkeys and exotic birds. Each group of animals has its own dedicated section within the sanctuary, including the many breeds of wildfowl which live on two large lakes.
My first encounter when entering the visitor centre was with a very happy lady and a greyhound named Muffin, who stood patiently by her side. She went on to explain that, after registering her interest, Raystede found an ex-racing dog for her to adopt and she collecting him now. Well aware that many animals arrive at the centre having been neglected and without the best start in life, Muffin’s new owner was fully prepared for the challenging but ultimately rewarding times ahead.
Raystede receive many applications for animal adoptions, which are carefully monitored and new owners found. We visited cats and kittens, most of whom had been reserved, many rabbits and a surprising number of parrots on our tour, with the horses, ponies and donkeys a highlight for my excited eight year old.
A handy map enabled us to explore Raystede at a leisurely pace, past the alpaca fields, around the lakes and on to the paddocks. Weekends offer animal meet and greet sessions with the education team, plus you’ll also find a dog friendly discovery trail, picnic & children’s play area, café with terrace and charity shop on site.
Entrance is free, with donations encouraged and collection points placed at regular intervals around the centre. Visitors appeared happy to give generously – and seeing first-hand what a real difference donations make to animals in need, this certainly prompted us to do the same.
Raystede is open daily from 10am – 4pm. For more information go to www.raystede.org