If you are a family staying in one of our Ullswater cottages, or even our Keswick cottages, take a trip to Wetheriggs Animal & Pottery Centre in the Eden Valley. It looked as though it may rain in the central Lake District today. Often when this is the case, you can expect the Eastern side of the Lake District to be drier, and indeed today it was. The sun shone and we had a wonderful time feeding the sheep and the goats, and seeing all sorts of interesting hens and birds. We were invited into the red squirrel enclosure and a cockatoo decided to join us for lunch at the café there. The famer brought out a fox who was only a few months old for us to stroke and everyone was really friendly throughout the day. There is an adventure playground and you can also take part in pot-painting activities too.
I was quite interested to learn that squirrels bury their nuts in order to make them go mouldy before eating them, and they love mushrooms too. The best part came when Daisy asked where the cockatoo was … and it was sitting on the back of her chair right behind her. She nearly fell off her seat! How I wish that I had got that on video.
Spaghetti Bolognese for the children was only £2.60 or £2 for fishfingers and chips. I reckon that this is a bargain. The café is run by Mel, a friend of ours from Wigan who is the only person I know who got chucked out of Rumours (now closed down) in Keswick for disorderly behaviour. What’s more her mother got escorted from the premises too and she’s 90! Seriously though, the food was very good.
As well as being an animal centre, it has a pottery which is based in a nineteenth Century industrial monument, founded in the 1860s and restored in 1994. There is a small museum with an engine room and steam machinery, and an original beehive kiln.
Given that is was the May Spring Bank Holiday half term week, the Animal Centre was not overcrowded at all – it is one of those gems that still have the working farm feel and has not been overcommercialised (yet). It is situated 4 miles south of Penrith – go through Eamont Bridge, keep going and follow signs for Wetheriggs Pottery or Wetheriggs Animal Centre (it’s just in the process of changing its name). The full address is Wetheriggs Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre, Wetheriggs pottery, Clifton Dykes, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2DH – Tel: 01768 866 657.
From our Ullswater cottages it will take about 15 minutes by car, or from our Keswick cottages it is about half an hour. Our cottages in Caldbeck are also half an hour from Wetheriggs, as are our Orton cottages.