“ A sanctuary for all breeds of tortoises in Cornwall, England. „
I visited The Tortoise Garden a few weeks ago on a rather wet and cold day at the beginning of May. It's located in Lower Sticker, which is 3 miles west of st. Austell, Cornwall. It's more than a bit tricky to find by public transport, so if you have wheels I would recommend you use them for this one! There are full directions on the website, but by car you need the A390 to Sticker and it's fairly well sign posted, but ask a local as everyone seemed to know where it was, as we had to ask a few times! If you are going by public transport, there is a bus that goes as far as Sticker and it's about a 20 minute walk from there. A pleasant walk past fields and farms if it's a nice day. A bit miserable if it's raining! If you are doing this by public transport, I would recommend checking bus times back and planning your visit accordingly. They are a lttle infrequent.
Anyways, I was pleased we went to the effort and found it. I cannot emphasise how much it's worth visiting this little place and I hope my opening paragraph has not put you off! If you have tortoise of your own or are interested in these amazing creatures this is for you.
The place is quite literally as it says. A garden full of tortoises, over 140 of them. The place is run by Joy and Geoff, a couple who seems to have dedicated their life to rescuing tortoises and this is their own back garden! We found out about it through sifting through the leaflets in a pub in Newquay and knew at once it was right up my street! The day we went however, we were the only ones there and it needs the support of the visitors to continue so if you are holidaying nearby, I recommend a visit.
The garden is split up into separate 'runs' for each 'family' of tortoise. There are little notices on each one saying the names of the tortoises, their species and any little characterisitcs they have. Up at the very top of the garden is the giants. As it was very wet and cold the day we went they weren't out, but Geoff very kindly let us go in to have a peek at them. Most of the tortoises were a little sleepy, as the sun was in, but don't let that put you off if it's a drizzly day as you are able to see them inside too. When we were they there were some tiny new babies, no bigger than the size of a 50p, needless to say we spent a long time cooing over them!
If you do have a tortoise, they owners here are very knowledgeable. They have made up many care sheets and food lists to take home with you to help you care for you pets at home. Also talking to them, I was able to determine what species my little torty, Zippi is as we did not know before.
Refreshments are available and there is a little gift shop. We visited a lot of attractions during our stay in Cornwall and I have to say, the majority of the stuff on sale was tat. This humble little garden had more to offer than I think I had seen the whole week. The 'shop' is a collection of all sorts of tortoise themed goodies in what I can only describe as a shed! I went home with two lovely tote bags.
Admission to the Tortoise Garden is £2.50 per person, and would take most people around 45 minutes to an hour. If you have an interest in these little dinosaurs it's somewhere you must visit.
For more information visit www.thetortoisegarden.co.uk