Wetheriggs Zoo and Animal Sanctuary
Wetheriggs Animal Rescue is a registered UK charity (Charity No. 1131536). Wetheriggs is an international animal rescue centre now located on the A66 just outside Barnard Castle in County Durham, England. The rescue centre takes in a wide range of animals apart from domestic cats and dogs. Many of the animals were previously pets which could no longer be looked after. The majority of the other animals have been rescued from around the UK. Some of the animals have also come from other animal centres on the world as part of swaps.
The pottery was established about 1855 as a brick, tile, and pipe works to supply building materials. In the 1860s when it was taken over by John Schofield and Margaret Thorburn, it started producing housewares. After World War II a market developed for decorative ware, and the pottery became a tourist destination.
The pottery was scheduled as a National Industrial Monument in 1973, and at the time was the only steam-powered pottery remaining in the United Kingdom. It was restored in 1994, with the steam equipment restored in 1995 by Fred Dibnah. The original beehive kiln is still standing, and is now a showcase for pottery that has been produced at the site over the years.
The Animal Rescue Center was opened on the historic Wetheriggs Pottery site in 2006. In 2008, because of its work in the attempted re-creation of the Cumberland Pig, its work with rare poultry breeds, and work with native newts, it became the Wetheriggs Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre. It was re-branded to Wetheriggs Zoo and Animal Sanctuary in 2011.
Towards the end of 2014, the rescue centre was forced to relocate all the animals to a new home at Thorpe Farm Centre near Barnard Castle in County Durham. The move came about when the site they were residing on was put up for sale.
The centre is home to alpacas, sheep, goats, cows, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pigs, donkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, hedgehogs, budgies, quail, skunks, tarantulas, snakes, lizards and more.
Currently some of the exotic animals the centre cares for are off display to visitors.
The centre depends on the generosity of the general public to keep running. Visitors to the site pay admission into the site and all the money goes directly to the animal welfare work. People can also donate money directly to the centre.
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