I think a lot of people think of Tiggywinkles as a hedgehog rescue place; and, yes, they are. But they are so much more than that. They are a Wildlife Hospital. They care for sick and injured hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, deer, wild birds, reptiles and amphibians.
They are open for wildlife casualties, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That costs a lot of money, they are a registered charity, and also rely on the generosity of the public.
Click here for a link to their website.
I paid a visit on Friday, it's near Aylesbury, and took some food, and bits and pieces with me, and then had a look round the Visitor Centre.
A lot of animals are still undergoing treatment, and obviously these can't be seen.
But a lot can.
A large pond,
where various ducks, geese, gulls and Herons that have been injured or sick at some time, now recuperate.
Even healthy wild birds drop in from time to time.
In one of the large aviaries, two female Ravens live quite happily together.
Neither could survive in the wild, but they seem to love the company of visitors. I was told to talk to them when I saw them. I did, and they seemed content to listen, and observe this strange thing looking at them. I'm told they even mimic some of the sounds they hear. One of them being the sound of Red Kites.
There are three very large aviaries for these magnificent birds that have at some time been injured, or become sick.
One large aviary is for the birds that will never be able to be released into the wild, for various reasons.
A second is for birds that are gradually recuperating, able to fly, but still not 100% fit.
And the third is for the birds that will very soon be able to fly free again.
One big enclosure houses injured Badgers. Being nocturnal animals, I didn't manage to see these, but another, separate, large enclosure houses some Foxes.
Not often you can get to see these beauties up close,
and going about their daily lives.
Areas for Deer, (some I could see, and some I couldn't), and other areas with various wild birds, hedgehogs, and goodness knows what else.
The thing to remember is, it is not a zoo. All the animals here are being cared for and will eventually, wherever possible, be released back into the wild. Some, who's injuries are too severe to enable them to be able to survive in the wild, will stay here, and receive the care, attention and love they need, to live out the rest of their lives.
Every visit will be different. Some animals will have left to go back to doing what they should; be free and wild.
And sadly, some new animals will be here. Sick and injured animals. But they will be lucky in a way, because they will be getting the best care available to them.
And lots of love.
If you live nearby, pay Tiggywinkles a visit. If you live far away, then make a day of it.