I had heard many good things about The Chestnut Centre but for one reason or another I hadn’t managed the trip until this year. This fantastic little gem is set in 50 acres of beautiful Peak District, and itʼs perfect for children. Even as we were simply paying to go in, Ted was squealing with delight, having spotted a very cute baby barn owl fidgeting on a branch behind the till!
Starting the circuit from the top of the wildlife park, we walked down through parkland, past deer to the otters and owls. The Giant Otters – Dad Manoki, mum Panambi and cubs Kaituma and Meamu are probably a highlight of the park. Native to South America, they are an endangered species and rare to see in captivity, so getting as close as you do at the Chestnut Centre is a real treat. The large enclosure has lots of viewing points and big glass panels, so even little ones get a good view. You also get to sneak a peek into their sleeping quarters. On our visit the otters were on particularly good form, with lots of running in and out of the water with the babies coming up to the glass to check out our little cubs too!
As well as otters there are 16 species of owls, polecats, foxes and Scottish wildcats too. The setting is beautiful. Wooden bridges and pathways guide you through the woodland circuit. Our children loved running around here. The centre is pushchair-friendly but the last bit, back up the hill, can be hard-going if it has been raining. Alternatively, if you’ve got a baby sling, it’s worth bringing it along.
The Chestnut Coffee Shop on site sells simple good food – jacket potatoes, sandwiches and soup.
Jan weekends only, Feb daily, 10.30am-dusk. Last entry 3pm. Spring/Summer 10.30am-5.30pm. Last entry 4pm.
Adult £7.75, Child £5.50, under 3s free, Family £23.50
Chestnut Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak, Derbyshire SK23 0QS
Tel: 01298 814099 chestnutcentre.co.uk