New exercise barn enriches animals’ lives at Woodside Sanctuary

Dogs, rabbits and even chickens are reaping the benefits

exterior of new exercise barn at woodside sanctuary

Woodside Sanctuary has completed a brand new exercise barn thanks to funding from Petplan Charitable Trust.

woodside sanctuary logoThe barn is an all-weather space for providing enrichment to the many animals in their care. According to the charity’s Lisa Darcy, the new facility has been used every day from the moment it was ready.

“It is as good as we had hoped for the exercising and enrichment of dogs but we have, in fact, used it for rabbits, too. The chickens are also on the list for a good run around as they themselves are in lockdown at present (owing to the current bird flu restrictions). We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to us when meeting potential adoptive dogs,” she added.

The build faced a number of challenges

The build at Woodside Sanctuary was not without its challenges including the on/off nature of the construction process during the pandemic. Avoiding damage to services was another hurdle to overcome.

“We have a major water pipe going through the centre of our land, with a gas mains not far away and overhead electricity pylons,” explains Darcy. “Work had to be slow and careful when building the barn foundations. These were completed by the end of July. The steels started to arrive on site in August and we were able to really see and feel the size of the barn for the first time. This is when we really got excited.”

woodside sanctuary barn under constructionOver the next three months the walls went up and the roof was finally on. There was a little hold up over winter while the rendering was completed and the concrete floor laid. The building was finally completed early in 2021.

Based in Plymouth, the roots of what is now Woodside Sanctuary can be traced back to 1977. Carol Bowles and her team were responding to the growing number of unwanted animals in the area being destroyed. A ramshackle collection of sheds has slowly been transformed over the years into a purpose-built modern facility with a living grass roof. The charity has also created environmentally-friendly reed bed ponds which deal with the excess run off water and waste from the sanctuary. These have proved a magnet for native wildlife and plants.

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