Ferne Animal Sanctuary was founded by the late Nina, Duchess of Hamilton & Brandon, at the beginning of WWII, and was situated on the Ferne Estate in Dorset. The Duchess realised that, due to the war, service men and women would be called up for duty, leaving behind many pets in need of care. Consequently, an appeal was made on the BBC’s National Service asking for suitable homes for these animals. On returning home, the Duchess found several dogs, cats and a parrot waiting for her! These animals, all in need of new homes, were kindly taken in by people living on the Duchess’ estate. Inevitably, at the end of the war many owners failed to return to collect their pets, and so the story of Ferne Animal Sanctuary began.
Sadly, the beautiful manor house is no longer standing. In 1975, the sanctuary moved to its present premises which overlook the River Yarty Valley, high in the Blackdown Hills, in Somerset. Set in 51 acres of glorious countryside, Ferne also has a conservation area with nature trail, children’s play areas, restaurant, and picnic areas, which are open almost every day of the year for the public to enjoy – not to mention meeting the wide variety of animals residing there, so it is well worth a visit!
Ferne also owns its own island! Little Linga is a small island in the Orkneys, which had been owned by a farmer and seal hunter. It was purchased by Ferne in 1967 thanks to the help of some generous donations. The island is now a seal sanctuary and is visited by both grey and common seals.
Ferne Sanctuary cares for over 300 unwanted domestic and farm animals of all varieties, from cats to cattle, dogs to donkeys, goats to geese, and many more besides! Some animals are brought to Ferne because they have been neglected or are no longer wanted. Others are brought because of their owners' changing circumstances. Any animal passing through Ferne's gate can be assured of love and compassion for the rest of his or her life.
Ferne also aims to find forever homes for its healthy dogs and cats, and foster homes for its equines. All Ferne’s animals receive lifelong care, and medical needs are met.
If you would like to learn more about this amazing sanctuary, plan a visit, donate, sponsor or rehome an animal, visit the website!