Visitors welcome as family attraction near Ottery to stay open during coronavirus crisis

A family attraction near Ottery St Mary has announced it will stay open and continue to welcome visitors amid the coronavirus crisis.

Wildwood Escot, set in around 40 acres, said staff at the outdoor animal attraction were well used to taking measures to ensure the wellbeing of public health, and the methods taken to address the coronavirus issue had been ‘relatively simple’.

The family attraction said maintaining consistent staffing levels meant Wildwood Escot had to make only ‘nominal alterations’ to adhere to government advice, and continue to offer a close-to-normal service.

George Hyde, general manager, said: “We’ve followed the government advice closely.

“And we’re confident that our visitors will still be able to find some respite and normality in these difficult and uncertain times.”

“We’ve limited the opportunities for visitors to congregate in close proximity.

“The café is limited to an outdoor service, the indoor soft play is closed, and staff are regulating queues on entry.

“As long as parents exercise some reasonable judgement, kids should be able to enjoy everything the park has to offer without significant risk.

“It’s as near to business as usual as it is possible to be.”

Mr Hyde added: “Ensuring our staff would not be inconvenienced by the school closure was a priority for us.

“Those of our staff with children are able to bring them to work where our education team can provide fun, safe, educational activities whilst their parents can work as normal.”


Photo: Wildwood Escot.

Wildwood Escot is set in around 40 acres of open-air woodland and wetland. Its attractions include outdoor adventure play, a maze and walk-through animal exhibits.

Kerry Church, senior animal keeper at Wildwood Escot, said: “Being an animal attraction, biosecurity is a normal part of life here.

“Taking regular measures to prevent the transmission of pathogens between staff and visitors is a necessary feature of working with animals so we’re all very familiar with the principles.”

Paul Whitfield, Director General of the Wildwood Trust, the charity that runs the park, said: “As the complex situation we face unfolds, normality, consistency and familiarity will become increasingly important for our mental health.”


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