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Cricket St Thomas - Wildlife Park

Cricket St Thomas, Somerset

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2010 Update:  The Wildlife Park CLOSED at the end of the 2009 season and all large animals have been re-homed in other zoos and wildlife centres. It has been redeveloped over the winter months and reopens in May 2010 as Lakes and Gardens with some small animals such as Lemurs, Meerkats, Fallow Deer, Wallabies etc.

Want to know more - then see their website for details.

A day out at the Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas is a treat. It is a walk around wildlife park with the animals in areas which in most cases make it easy to photograph them either because they are in paddocks which are easy to get a good view of, have perspex panels for you to look through, or for those animals that need wire to protect both them and you the wire is large enough that you can photograph through it. There are some behind smaller wire like the Leopards as well as some of the birds.

The smaller wire does present a challenge but if it's not too busy you may be able to get a position that throws it out of focus. The other challenge is the perspex because if the sun is in the wrong direction you can get flare back or low contrast, as well as at different times of the day it can be a bit grubby, but the avid photographer should be able to overcome most of these challenges.

This guide is now out of date

 

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Cheetah

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Kookaburra

We visited the park during the winter months, when it was not busy, and the day we went was sunny but not hot so the animals were chilled out and we had a good photography session. When you first arrive at the park, down a very long drive you park the car and enter through the visitors information centre and shop. Going out from here the first thing you see is the Tamrin Island and in the summer the Reindeer paddock. The reindeer where in the paddock on our visit, but we were not able to get near them because it was rutting season so we had to view from a distance, long telephoto lens handy here.

In Lemur wood you walk through a four acre woodland where the Lemurs are able to move about and around you. On our visit we didn't see any in the wood, but they do provide daily tours and tell you when the feeding of them will take place so if you are a wandering at these times you are likely to see them and get up close. The only one we saw were some that had got out of wood area and were in other areas around the park.

They have a number of themed paddock areas which you walk past and they include:

The African paddock has Zebra, Ostrich, Pelicans on the water, African Wild Dogs, and Kafue Flats Lechwe a species of antelope.

The South American paddock with Rheas, Capybara and Sitatunga, which look like deer. In the native country they spend most of their time amongst papyrus beds in swamps and at the park they will be found in the shallow parts of the lake which form part of their paddock.

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Rhea

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View of the railway bridge at the end of the lake

The Waterfowl paddock has American Flamingos, Red breasted geese, Hawaiian goose, wigeon, common shelduck, pintails, black swans and wallaby. Up at the end of the lake with the flamingoes there are nice water shots with lots of Pampas grass creating a photographic border down the edge of the lake leading you into a metal bridge which the safari train uses to get across the lake at this end of the park.

The deer park has Axis Deer and Indian species, unusual in that they do not have a defined breeding cycle, fawns are born all year round and the stags are likely to have antlers in a range of conditions from none at all to a full set.

At the bottom end of the park near the Black Swan pub a refreshment area and more shops (open in the summer months) and children's play areas, there are more animals and birds to see including an Ibis aviary and there is an island with a moat around it which is home to some Spider Monkeys, one of them also had a baby that they were carrying around. On the island there are climbing apparatus for them to sue and they were quite active on our visit giving lots of opportunities to get good photographs of them. On the way back to have our ride on the Safari train we spotted some aviaries which had more birds in them including a Kookaburra, it was difficult to photograph these because they were amongst trees and it was not a lot of light getting through, plus they were sat quite near to the wire fencing, however as you can see above Keith managed to get a good shot of one perched on a tree.

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Spider Monkey with young

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There are lots of other things around the park to see including Cricket House, a large house which is now a hotel, and its manicured gardens which have statues of children in different play positions, there is plenty of flora and fauna and different parts will be out in bloom at different seasons throughout the year.

Whenever you visit the park recommends allowing 3-5 hours for your visit. We went at the beginning of November when not many people were about and still took this amount of time to walk the park and take the photographs you see here. This is only some of the many we took between us on the day.

An enjoyable day out and a good site for a day out during the winter or summer months with a wide variety of subject matter to photograph.


Further information Grid

 

Location:

Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park, Somerset

Ceremonial County: Somerset

Grid Reference:

ST272085

Map Link:

Multimap

Aerial photo:  

Route(s):

 

Best Times to Visit:

Any time, however during the Spring and Summer months there may be more flora and fauna on display, but the animals less active due to the heat. During the winter months you still see all the animals.

E-mail:

wildlifepark.cst@bourne-leisure.co.uk

Website:

www.wild.org.uk 

Other useful websites:

 

Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  
 

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Planning Grid

Location:

Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park, Somerset

Grid Reference:

ST272085

Getting there:

From M5 J25, take the A358 to Chard where you then take the A30 towards Crewkerne, its off on the right hand side

Access:

Paths all round the animal enclosures, there are some steep slopes.

Parking:

Large FREE car park on site and very close to entrance of park

Facilities:

Safari Train the runs the length of the valley, shops. Food available at the Black Swan Pub or Coffee House. Toilets are spread throughout the park.

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

The many animals, most in paddocks that can be easily photographed, Safari Train, lake with many wildfowl, Cricket House and grounds (a Hotel). Pets corner with rabbits and guinea pigs.

What to take:

Telephoto lens, grads for wider vistas, polarizer for water and sky shots, macro lens for fauna

Nature highlights:

Lemur, Spider Monkey's, Meerkats, African Wild Dogs, Cheetah, Reindeer, Zebra, Tapir, camel, deer, wallaby, leopard, capybara, birds including flamingo, rheas, ostrich, wildfowl, etc. As well as flora at relevant points in year including Pampas Grass.

Address:

The Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas

Chard

Somerset

Postcode:

TA20 4DD

Telephone:

01460 30111

Opening times:

Everyday except Christmas day. 10am to 6pm summer months and 4.30pm winter months

Charges:

Range from 4.25 to 27.50 depending on what time of year you visit and whether you're and individual or family. FREE entry to wheelchair users.

Photo Restrictions:

 

Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access:  
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities: play areas for children and during the summer season some other children's rides are available
Dogs Allowed: No

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.

 


By: Tracey Park Section: Safari Parks & Zoos Key:
Page Ref: cricket_st_thomas Topic: Wildlife & Animals  Last Updated: 11/2009

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