Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary Review
Hey and welcome to the blog. We just got back from a wonderful stay in Devon, all organised by the amazing team at Visit Dartmoor. They took care of everything for us – accommodation at Parkers Farm, as well as some fun days out. We took a ride on the South Devon Railway, we fed the farm animals at Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and we had a fab time at the Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary. If you’re an animal lover or have kids that love animals then read on!
The Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary is located right next door to Buckfastleigh station, home to South Devon Railway. It’s just on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and easily accessed from the A38. We visited the sanctuary for an hour and a half before catching the steam train to Totnes.
Not Just Otters!
As the name suggests, this family attraction is all about otters and butterflies. Well, and some other animals too! When you enter the reception and gift shop area, to the right you’ll find reptiles, leaf cutter ants and an educational area.
B loves looking at the reptiles because he thinks many of the lizards look like they just stepped out of Jurassic Park.
While he was admiring these beauties, I read that these reptiles had come to the park as unwanted or abandoned pets. It’s so sad to think that people take on these creatures with no real understanding as to the care involved. Fortunately the team here have offered them all a good home. Even a giant bull frog, aptly named Jabba!
Three Species of Otter to Spot
In the Otter Sanctuary you’ll find three different species of otter – British otters, the playful, Asian short clawed otters and the large North American river otters. I honestly thought the short clawed otters were babies. They are so tiny and cute! We found out though during feeding time that actually one is 16 years old! And she was very vocal just before feeding time too! She came right to the side of the pen to see what was going on.
If you really want to make the most of your visit then you absolutely must visit during feeding time. This takes place three times a day – 11.30am, 2.00pm & 4.00pm. It’s a great opportunity to see the otters up close and learn a bit more about each species.
My images don’t do the otters justice to be honest. They were really friendly and came right up to the edges of their pens to see us. It was the closest I’d ever been to an otter before.
It’s also worth noting that even if the weather is wet, the otters were still outside and playful. They love the water after all! And there are plenty of places to view them playing and feeding undercover.
Now the day we visited the farm, it was pouring with rain, very damp and pretty cold. Not great conditions to see the butterflies flying. And there weren’t many fluttering by to be honest.
If it’s cold and wet, they much prefer to hang out on the leaves.
We still enjoyed walking through the butterfly house and trying to spot them hiding. The house is also home to lots of exotic plants and flowers. B was particularly taken by some of the larger leaves. I don’t think he’d seen leaves larger than himself!
You’ll also find terrapins hanging out in the butterfly house, as well as a huge green Iguana called Izzy! Although he was orange, and nodding his head at us. Apparently this is his way of attracting a mate!
If you’re looking for a fun, family attraction then the Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary is a great place to spend a couple of hours. It isn’t huge but there are plenty of animals to see if you have little ones with you. And the feeding times are a must!
Disclaimer: We were invited to the Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary as part of our trip organised by Visit Dartmoor. All opinions are honest and our own.