Popular High Peak animal sanctuary to close

The centre will close at the end of the year.
The centre will close at the end of the year.

A popular animal sanctuary in the High Peak is to close at the end of the year, unless new management can be found.

The Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park in Chapel-en-le-Frith will close permanently from December 31 unless it continues under separate new management.

Owners Carol and Roger Heap have announced plans to semi-retire, allowing their son Ed (General Manager) and his wife Clare (vet) to continue running and developing their two other sites, New Forest Wildlife Park and Battersea Park Children's Zoo.

All the Chestnut Centre animals and birds will be re-located to the New Forest Wildlife Park in Hampshire, where they will continue to be cared for by experienced keepers under Carol and Roger’s direction. Some of the owls will be moved to the National Centre for Birds of Prey in Helmsley, Yorkshire which is owned and run by Carol and Roger’s elder son Charlie and his wife Vicki.

Originally, Carol and Roger assisted in ensuring that the wild otter population in the United Kingdom was afforded legal protection (1st January 1978) under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and later through the aims of the Otter Trust, of which Roger was a trustee and council member.

Over the years they have cared for and returned to the wild over 200 rescued otter cubs, countless owls and birds of prey including peregrine falcons and osprey. This work will continue at New Forest Wildlife Park along with their involvement with local and international conservation projects relating to otters.

Carol and Roger would like to thank all the schools, groups and visitors who have supported the Chestnut Centre over the years.

Thanks go to all the rescue centres, wildlife trusts, local vets and members of the public who have rescued and brought in native wildlife and in particular the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital in Cheshire.

Members of the public who have purchased adoptions, season tickets or keeper experiences should contact info@chestnutcentre.co.uk for further details.