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The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary is located between Godshill and Ventnor, on the outskirts of Wroxall towards the south of the Isle of Wight and is home to over 100 donkeys and ponies. The Sanctuary is open 7 days a week, all year round (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), from 10am until 4:30pm. It is free entry and free parking, welcomes everyone, and is very dog friendly, allowing dogs to go everywhere, as long as they are kept on a lead.

The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary has been awarded a Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Award in 2021, 2022, and 2023. In 2023 it was awarded Red Funnel’s Isle of Wight Award for Best Place For Dogs and Best Large Attraction, and was awarded Best Family Attraction in Hampshire & IOW from the Muddy Stilettos awards.

The Sanctuary is set in 55 acres within Wroxall valley and surrounded by beautiful countryside. The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary rescues and provides a forever home for any donkey in need. All the donkeys have very varied backgrounds when they are rescued, but all of them receive the same high level of care and welfare.

Whilst at the Sanctuary, visitors can take part in several free activity sheets available to pick up from the meet and greet hut, completing quizzes or trying to find all the donkeys. Visitors can also find delicious food in the Café, and a variety of items and gifts within the shop. Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics and make the most of the wildlife area or follow one of the public footpaths around the area.

The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary relies entirely on donations to continue their work. They rely on visitors adopting donkeys, fundraising, taking part in activities, purchasing food or shop products, or leaving a legacy. The Sanctuary survives because of the goodwill and generosity of supporters and visitors.

The Isle of Wight Sanctuary has 4 main elements:

To rescue and support the health of homeless donkeys

To act as an education centre and support and provide learning through apprenticeships, volunteers, students, and children.

To be a visitor attraction in which visitors can meet the donkeys, and interact with them through various activities, and hold a number of event and open days throughout the year.

To provide a therapy programme in which our donkeys visit people with a variety of needs.

Whilst at the sanctuary, visitors can follow an information trail and take part in a quiz, they can tick off the donkeys they see on a donkey spotting sheet and can also take part in activities (subject to availability). The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary is also home to Grazers Café and Browse and Brays Shop, where you can find delicious food and lots of fun, donkey related items. Alongside all of the adorable donkeys, there is also a wildlife area which is currently being developed to support the wildlife and a bridleway and footpaths that lead through the sanctuary and into the surrounding area.

The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary relies entirely on donations. It relies on people adopting donkeys, fundraising, taking part in activities, buying food and items in the shop and café, or leaving a legacy. The sanctuary survives because of the goodwill and generosity of supporters and visitors.

 

Donkey Adoptions

Adopting a donkey is another great way you can help the donkeys. An adoption makes a fabulous gift, too! If you have some questions about adopting a donkey, visit their FAQs here. 

What do you get?

Your adoption pack includes:

  • A certificate with two pictures of your donkey, a bio about them, and your name.
  • A Summer and a Winter newsletter, released in June and November.
  • A postcard (if a special message is included)

You can also choose whether to receive your adoption pack and newsletters via post or email.

From £25 per year or £2.50 per month, (minimum suggested donation).

Find out more about adoptions here


donkey sanctuary adoptions
Join the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary this half term: 25 May – 1 June.

Bookable activities this Half Term:

Donkey Experiences – every day: Spend 2 hours with one of the amazing yard team, getting a behind the scenes experience of the work they do and helping them carry out day-to-day tasks. These might include making and handing out feeds, mucking out, and grooming.

These need to be booked at least 72 hours in advance.

Donkey Grooming – Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: A lovely opportunity to give the donkeys a really good groom and a cuddle.

Pamper a donkey – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: A fun and educational experience, you’ll learn all about the history of the donkeys, how they came to the sanctuary and how the team care for their well-being. You’ll then give them a pamper and lead them back to their paddock or pen.

Pamper a Shetland pony package – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: One for the pony lovers! Get an insight into how the team care for their ponies and spend time with them, giving them a good pamper before leading them back to their paddock or pen.

Meet our donkeys – free guided tour. Free 30 minute tours are happening daily. Learn all about how the sanctuary care for the animals at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary and find out how they came to live there.

Bookings on the day only accepted if space is available. Please note there are age restrictions for some experiences. We are a working farm so sensible footwear and clothing is required. It’s likely to be muddy.

Please call 01983 852693 or find out more about the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary: https://www.iowdonkeysanctuary.org/

Come along to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary Fete, Sunday 8 September, 11am to 3pm

It’s a fun day out for the whole family as well as helping to raise money to support the work of the Sanctuary.

 They’ve got loads planned to keep you entertained including:

  • Opening ceremony
  • Performance by Raw Samba
  • Meet the donkeys
  • Discover the rare breed sheep and why they have them at the Sanctuary
  • Shetland in Hand show (book online to take part, limited spaces available)
  • TrackADog Team display
  • Dog show, categories include: best dog, best bitch, best puppy, best oldie and best in show. Enter on the day.
  • Pony and carriage rides
  • Live music
  • Static displays from C&O & Vectis Vintage Tractor & Engine Club
  • Stalls and much more!

Entry to the Fete is free. You’ll be able to take a walk around the Sanctuary to visit their herds and to find out how they provide refuge, exceptional care, and new beginnings for donkeys and other equines in need.

Their award-winning café will be open serving a range of food along with the shop with some unique gifts to choose from.

They can’t wait to see you all on the Sunday 8 September for a fun filled day!

Find out more here

 

Trip Advisor reviews:

Such a special little place. The donkeys looked so happy and well cared for. We really enjoyed walking around and reading the descriptions of each donkey. Free admission but we donated and spent money in the lovely gift shop – Laura

Such a lovely afternoon spent seeing and visiting this donkey sanctuary. Fell in love with a handsome donkey called hulk. The donkeys you can see and feel from their coats and so well looked after. Staff are lovely and even done a halloween thing for the kids which was lovely. Thank you 🙂 – Portia R

Wonderful experience and great cafe. We visit the sanctuary a few times a year and it is always a wonderful experience. It is so nice to see the donkeys and ponies being so well cared for in lovely surroundings. We visited the new cafe for breakfast with was really fantastic. Good quality food and good service. The cafe is nicely done with a good selection – TravellingLady

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