White wolves have arrived in deepest, rural Lincolnshire. There are only four from this subspecies in the UK, and you can see them at Woodside Wildlife and Falconry Park.
Saska, Nuna, Toba and Mr Hudson are three females and one male, rescued from Wuppertal Zoo in Germany last November. This rare subspecies, Canis lupus hudsonicus, which is native to Hudson Bay in Canada, has a stunning white coat to keep out the Arctic winters, so the relatively mild climate of Lincolnshire should prove no problem to them.
With the clock ticking, their new enclosure was built in just six weeks, and they have since settled down extremely well in their new environment. In fact, they have proved so popular, that during the first three months of opening this year, visitor numbers have increased by
Woodside owner Neil Mumby bought the derelict 10-acre smallholding 12 years ago, with the intention of turning his interest in birds of prey into a business venture.
Three years later, he diversified by building a tropical house for butterflies and reptiles. With a zoo licence in place, the next move was primates and exotic birds. And now, here are the carnivores. Neil’s next move will be medium-sized cats – he has his eye on having lynx or snow leopards here by spring 2014.
Woodside is set in an attractive rural, wooded landscape on the edge of Newball Wood, a stone’s throw from the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Delving into the woods, archaeologists cannot decide whether a monument here used to be a fort or a hunting lodge.
Locals believe it may have been a cattle stockade to protect valuable animals from marauding bears and wolves, so Saska, Nuna, Toba and Mr Hudson, take note. Mind you, they appear content in their wildflower meadow with trees, mounds and a pond, so there is plenty to keep them occupied.
Explorers at the ready
There is also plenty to keep aspiring Attenboroughs entertained at Woodside, with flying displays and reptile handling sessions. You can explore the mini-rainforest complete with butterflies, plants and birds; meet the monkeys, emus and raccoons; and follow the racing pigs and ferrets. How about watching the lemurs leaping around their enclosure, before a spot of pond dipping?
The grown-ups can then relax in the rustic barn-style tearooms, while your budding Backshalls enjoy the indoor and outdoor play areas. Or, you can potter around the beautiful gardens, which are planted specifically to encourage an abundance of birds, bees and butterflies.
At this ever-evolving park, the aim is to encourage visitors to be as hands on as possible, by watching animals displaying their natural behaviour. The hope is to instil an interest in wildlife, and turn youngsters into modern-day conservationists.
HOW TO GET THERE
Woodside lies five miles north-east of Lincoln, off the A158 Skegness road.
FIND OUT MORE
Woodside Wildlife and Falconry Park
, LN3 5DQ
Wragby LN8 5QU
A great range, from pub classics to local specialities, with a section that welcomes families.
Market Rasen LN8 5RY
Relax in an idyllic country retreat at this Georgian farmhouse, with great countryside views towards Lincoln Cathedral.
There are several attractive woodland walks adjacent to Woodside. The closest starts from an ancient monument set in the heart of nearby Newball Wood – a Site of Special Scientific Interest.