Donkeys host free family fun, wildlife bingo and a botany walk to celebrate the first Sidmouth Biodiversity Festival

Wildlife bingo and a free botany walk will be held The Donkey Sanctuary as part of the first ever biodiversity festival, beginning in Sidmouth today (Monday, June 5, until Sunday, June 11).

The animal sanctuary’s ecology and conservation team will host a botany walk on Thursday, June 8, from 10am until noon, and wildlife bingo on Sunday, June 11, from 10.30am until 12.30pm. Tickets are free and can be booked online.

The Sidmouth Biodiversity Festival, organised by the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group, features a week of wildlife-themed talks, guided walks and children’s activities.

The sanctuary’s botany walk, on June 8, will take visitors through the grasslands in the Weston Valley at the Sidmouth site.


Donkeys at the sanctuary.
Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary.

A spokesman at the animal sanctuary said: “The donkeys share the valley with dozens of native plant species, including pignut, birds-foot trefoil, vetches, black knapweed, meadow vetchling and common-spotted orchid, and guided by the ecology and conservation team, visitors will be encouraged to see how many they can spot.”

He added: “Grazing by the resident donkeys have helped some of the rarer plants flourish in this area, as they eat a wide variety of plants and happily take out the coarser and more dominant species that might otherwise shade out or outcompete herbs and fine grasses.”


Bee orchids in flower at The Donkey Sanctuary.
Photo: with permission.

On the final day of the festival, June 11, visitors will be able to join in The Donkey Sanctuary’s wildlife bingo walk.

The charity’s spokesman said: “The walk will include a tour around the sanctuary’s wildflower plots, permanent grassland and skylark bank, where visitors can look out for wildlife to tick off their bingo sheets.”

The festival aims to inspire and inform people about the rich diversity of wildlife in the valley, and the importance of taking steps to increase biodiversity.


Wildflower meadow at The Donkey Sanctuary.
Photo; with permission.

Pascal Bisson, apprentice ecology and conservation officer at the sanctuary, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the sanctuary as part of the Biodiversity Festival, and hope they get to appreciate the amazing wildlife that the sanctuary has to offer.”

For more information about the festival and to book tickets to The Donkey Sanctuary events, see here for the botany walk, and here for wildlife bingo.

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