Just in 1990 it was just the huge park, arranged in Victorian style with beds of flowers and huge trees. Nowadays it is a piece of real nature – you can watch wild animals closely here, without tall walls.
Tim Miles, the head gardener, tells that they care about both – plants and animals and try to show the performance for the audience. “It is the theatre with plants,” he tells.
John Heyworth is the founder of the park. In fact Heyworth family has owned real estate of 2,500 acres. John had to keep all this vast territory in order and very soon he got tired of his duties and leased the estate to the Oxfordshire Regional Hospital for 20 years. In 1970 he got it back and didn’t know what to do with it. But the man was always interested in wildlife and animals, so starting the wildlife park seemed a good idea to him. Now the park is ruled by his son, Reggie. It is he, who cares about zoos, gardens and visitors here. He used to be just 8 year old boy, who admired the work of his father in the park and inherited his passion to this activity. “I was always among different wild animals and soon they became my friends”, Reggie tells. But his professional activity was not connected with animals, zoos or wildlife. Reggie was a tutor of history at Oxford and then worked as a banker. Just before his death, the father of Reggie asked him to conduct his zoo, as it was the business of his whole life. So, Reggie has fulfilled the wish of his father as he was the only son and that’s why it was he, who could be responsible for such a serious business.
In fact, conducting a park is not an easy thing. 17,000 come here daily and they need special attention and great care. Although Reggie has got three sisters, he felt, it was his job to keep the park in order and to develop it.
Nowadays, if John could see his wildlife park, he would for sure be proud of that great job his son had done as the collection of exotic birds, wild animals and plants is really big here. Besides visitors can see wild animals in the open area, where the species behave in a natural way.
The park has a lot of wild inhabitants – great variety of animals live here and is well cared. Strong lions, massive rhinos and giant anteaters just walk along the paths. You can meet giraffe eye to eye or see the pied avocet as close as your elbow is.
It is quite dangerous to go along the paths of the park as the animals are quite aggressive (just as they are in real nature), so the visitors are advised to get the animal encounter or a train. The price for the ticket is so small – just £1 – and taking some kind of transport here will help the tourists to save a lot of time and see the most part of the park. In fact it will take three days to study the territory completely, so you can come here for several days or choose the most interesting animals to watch.
Thus tourists are advised to watch giant tortoises. In fact, Cotswold Wildlife Park has the greatest collection of reptiles in Britain. They are calm animals, that will impress you by their size, but the species are friendly to the visitors. If it is interesting for you to see, how huge tortoises are fed and cleaned, you can stay here for a while and watch the staff. The workers of the zoo will not just show you, how they care about these animals, but also will tell you about their habits.
Lemurs are another kind of animals that should be watched here. These funny primates will make you laugh, while you will be watching their tricks. Lemur keeper will show you, how he cares about lemurs and you may even feed them yourself!
Giraffes, tapirs, penguins and many other wild animals have found their house in the park of Cotswold. But if you got tired from watching these marvelous creatures, you can simply arrange the picnic among exotic flowers, just on the green grass in the garden. The collection of plants here can impress even the most knowledgeable botanist.
Tropical blue waterlilies, many fine specimen trees, bananas that hang so low, that visitors can touch them – Tim Miles, the gardener, tries to make the parks beautiful and cozy. He tells that he cares about the garden not just to attract the visitors, but also to make the area suitable for wild animals.
“If you see the rhino, for example, in its natural environment, you can feel the connection between the animal and the nature”.
It is hard to say, what is more important at the zoo – animals or plants – as they work in a tight combination. The parents of Reggie used to be the gardeners. The plants are not less important than species – that is the main idea of the park.
The garden is always full of flowers – all year round. The main gardener tells, they have plenty of work to do in the garden in any season. “In October we dig Musa basjoo or protect it with straw till spring” he tells.
Of course, the favorite plants of every species are present here. It was hard to find the plants for lemurs or for rhinos, but the gardeners have solved this difficult task. They say that being among their native plants is not only useful for animals; it creates a good mood for them!
Cotswold Wildlife Park and gardens is opened daily from 10:00 till 18:00. The tickets are not expensive – £15.00 for adults. Infants can come here with their parents for free – and be sure, they will have great time here!
Children from 3 till 16 will pay £10.00 to get there. And senior visitors (over 65) will also pay £10.00. It is possible to book tickets online. Different kinds of service are affordable here. Thus it is possible to hire animal encounter and watch, how the species are cared.
As you see, Cotswold Wildlife Park and gardens can be an interesting experience for people of different age groups. It is not just jolly; it is informative as a lot of interesting facts about the life of animals can be learnt here. Thousands of tourists visit this zoo daily and they can not only watch animals here and take photos with exotic plants, but also make picnic and simply spend some free time in a tight family circle!
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens address: Bradwell Grove, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4JP, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 1993 823006