ABOUT OUR MISSION STATEMENT, CONSERVATION AND EDUCATION
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
To provide a safe and natural home for all our animals and birds, so they may live a healthy contented life; so that every visitor leaves with greater knowledge and understanding of the place, the animals and birds, and inspired through their experience and interaction; and provide a quiet place for relaxation and enjoyment in a natural environment, maintaining the special qualities of Exmoor National Park and this unique 15th Century Open-Hall Manor and Farmstead.
This National Trust historic 15th century farmstead with its thatched barns, part of the Holnicote Estate, provides a perfect location for our mixed collection of horses, tame and friendly farm animals, a large collection of aviary housed owls and birds of prey, gardens including our collection of British and Ornamental Trees and wildlife garden areas.
Within this setting to enable an understanding of the interaction and interdependence of all animals within their environment and ecosystems, through the keeping and display of owls and birds of prey as major predators at the apex of their food chains, encouraging knowledge and understanding by interaction with the birds and their behaviour, through 'hands-on', audio visual presentation, discussion and formal talks and displays to day visitors.
To encourage the keeping and housing of all birds of prey to be in open aviaries, to allow free movement. Aviary design to be constantly monitored to prevent self-harming in a captive environment when birds are kept at flying weight.
To provide a place where our horses are stimulated and content, with a variation in their daily lives through hacking, free schooling, horse agility, liberty training, arena schooling and dressage.
Maintaining the external historical features of the large collection of barns at West Lynch Farm, at the same time as making the the farmstead safe and viable useable spaces for exhibits and animal housing.
Maintaining the thatching on the two remaining barns, including rounded ends to the long linhay, and the thatching on the round house.
Maintaining the mill leat which runs through the small paddocks, providing clean fresh river drinking water for the livestock.
Housing a collection of animals living in harmony with one another and their environment as may have been found on a small farm in Medieval times. Note, however, that these animals are not bred for human consumption.
Housing a special collection of trained owls in aviaries for educational purposes, and keeping all our animals in a 'holistic' way, using natural remedies and well balanced diets as far as possible (mostly chemical free)
Planting of British native trees in the walled garden between the Owl Aviaries, suitable for local bird and insect populations for food and homes.
Planting of a large collection of ornamental trees within the walled garden to attract insect and bee feeders.
Establishing and maintaining three wildlife ponds within the grounds of the Centre - great crested newts, frogs and toads have all be sighted here.
Provision of a perpetual feeding station for garden birds.
Housing of a breeding programme of Queen Honey Bees for sale throughout the UK, kept by local bee keeper Peter and Sandra Little at Allerford
Maintaining a river trail walk suitable for local wildlife populations, currently home to badgers, otters, eels and trout.
Supporting an MSc thesis on A Study of Bat Activity, Jan 2011 by Julie Powell
We aim to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum in the following ways:
- recycling of kitchen and household waste
- planting of trees for household fuel; plant 3 trees for every one removed
- use of low energy light bulbs throughout
- use of FSC timbers in all furniture and printed literature
- purchase of local produce in tea gardens menu
- minimal use of own vehicle (less then 4000 miles per year)
- wood burners for household heating where possible
- building work and repairs with local stone and recycled timbers
All our birds and animals are trained using 'trust based' positive behavioural techniques, and we aim to share our knowledge and experience in assisting others with their own animals in our workshops and individualised clinics.
Our education programme aims to share our knowledge about the natural environment, the inter-relationship between animals, birds, each other and their environment, and species specific natural adaptation.
To share with others a lifetime experience in education conservation through demonstration by example, and through interactive flying displays, bird of prey experiences, and horse riding barefoot, bitless, and 'natural' training.
Through our 'Exmoor Barn', our display is about the natural history of Exmoor, and the history of the Holnicote Estate, our farm, and Dunster Castle and village.
We provide opportunities and experience for teenagers and young people to further their knowledge and understanding about the birds and horses, and our methods of training, through work experience and volunteering. Many progress into careers in this field, and some we retain as staff!
We encourage our visitors to discover and explore the local area, especially SSSI's such as Porlock Marsh
Within our website we have a written page on the History of West Lynch Farm, a specially fine example or a rare 'open-hall' manor house, found in as near original condition as feasible in the 21st Century! and open to share with our visitors on a daily basis. We have also included a written history of the Chapel of Ease, situated on the site of this lovely old manor house.