Essential Info: We’re About to Close for the Winter

As we hurtle towards to the end of 2023, it’s now time for us to close our doors to visitors over the winter after a very busy, very challenging year…

A big thank you to all of those of you who have supported and visited us during what has been a challenging 2023 here at Hopefield. It was a year that started off with a huge obstacle when we learnt that we would only be able to have our more unusual residents on display just six times per year due to our decision not to apply for a Zoo License (more on that here). This legislation meant that we had to spend a lot of time and money moving enclosures, building new ones and having to restructure the layout of the sanctuary – an enormous project that we were not expecting! We were incredibly worried that we would lose a lot of visitors because of these restrictions, but as usual our amazing staff and supporters rallied, and people still came to see us. We also added a few new facilities to the site in the early part of the year to enhance visitor experience which included a large playground, a soft play bus (open during events), a visitor centre, an education room and an allotment. Feedback has been heartwarming, so again thank you, everyone!

We also had some wonderful events this year including a Dog Show sponsored by Vets4Pets Romford, a Vegan & Wellness Fair, Dog First Aid, a Curry & Quiz Night sponsored by Shero Talent Consultancy, Paint Parties hosted by Express Yourself Essex, Wreath Making Workshops hosted by Blooming Occasions, a Sponsored Fire Walk and a plethora of family-orientated fun days! Sadly, we did also have to cancel a few events because of lack of interest, so we would say that if you see an event and like the look of it during 2024, please do book early.


Talking of those costs, we’ve just launched our winter appeal as we had some eye watering bills this year that we hadn’t foreseen… Our entire sewage system broke down which left us having to rely on portaloos for many months. Unfortunately this was not an issue that our Landlord was willing to help us with, so we had to foot the whole bill ourselves. On the flip side we have real toilets again which makes us very happy indeed! We are 100% reliant on the generosity of the public, and we know that times are difficult for many right now. If you can spare a penny or two to the winter campaign then we really are grateful beyond all measures, and if you can’t help us financially then sharing the campaign on your own social media platforms and raising awareness for us is also worth its weight in gold. The link to share or to donate via is right here. There are many other ways you can support us through the winter and beyond including animal sponsorship, joining our £2 per month exclusive member’s club and sending our animals goodies via our Amazon Wish List.

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Last day for visitors 2023

The sanctuary will close to the public on Saturday 23rd December 2023 at 3pm, and we do not expect to open again until at least the end of March 2024 (weather depending). This also applies to Max’s Cafe. With immediate effect, the sanctuary and cafe will no longer open during the week and will just be open on Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th and Saturday 23rd December. For anyone coming down before the end of the season, bring your wellies! And if we don’t see you again during 2023 then thanks again for all your love and support, and we can’t wait to smash 2024 with you. Please do keep following us across all of our social media platforms to see what our residents are up to during the winter, and keep your eyes peeled for an update coming soon on all the sanctuary and animal-related arrivals, losses and news that happened here at Hopefield during the last 12 months.






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