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Blackbrook Zoological Park

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Blackbrook Zoological Park

Address Winkhill
Telephone
How to Find it: Blackbrook Zoological Park Winkhill Nr. Leek Staffs ST13 7QR
Open: February half term - 5th November 10 - 5.30 each day Last admissions 4pm 6th November - February half term 10 - Dusk Last admissions 3pm
Prices: Adults: £8.95 Concessions: £6.95 Children: £5.50 Family Ticket: £27.00 Under 3's are free
Area:
No of Species No of Animals Star Rating
Mammals Conservation
Birds Enclosures
Reptiles Education
Amphibians Recreation
Fish Research
Total 0 0
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This critique last updated:  Feb 2012


Official Description


Visitor Reviews

Review Update by David Lomas January 2012

Visiting a zoo out of season brings its own rewards. At Blackbrook for instance your entrance fee is heavily discounted to £1.99 for an adult and a mere £2.20 if you Gift Aid your admission. (These discounts run from November to January – but best check the website before your visit.) Pick a day with nice weather and you’ll be amply rewarded by an unhurried stroll around the grounds, pausing at will to dwell and observe the wildlife before you.

The Park continues to evolve and the signage continues to improve (see previous reviews). There are now more mammals at this zoo park, most of them sharing their paddock with cranes or waterfowl. Blackbrook’s comprehensive collection of cranes and waterfowl and their mixed mammal/bird paddocks make this park unique. The new mammals include Reindeer, Sitatunga and Nilgai antelope, the latter sharing its paddock with Blackbuck.

The heavily discounted entrance fee makes a flying visit to Blackbrook both viable and enjoyable.

 

Review Update by David Lomas August 2010
This report should be read in conjunction with my earlier and fuller report of April 2009. During the intervening 15 months there has been a stream of steady developments at the Park.
Firstly, the two new large walk-in aviaries are now populated. The first aviary, near the central cluster of buildings, is a ‘Pink Paradise’ hosting of Caribbean Flamingos, Roseate Spoonbills, Scarlet Ibis as well as a supporting cast of non-pink birds. The second large aviary replaces the row of crane paddocks beyond the Lemur Lodge and hosts Dalmatian Pelicans.

'Water, Webs and Wings' has been remodelled as a Tropical House with the central area now a free-flight area for birds. Most of the smaller vivariums have been dispensed with and merged into larger enclosures while the central pool largely filled in and planted. On this visit I noted three species of Crown Pigeons in the House – that’s one more than last time!

There have been some comings and goings, there is now a small herd of Blackbuck – who trotted back and forth at the rear of their paddock - and a male Visayan Warty Pig as a precursor to joining a captive breeding programme. Meanwhile, the Vulture aviary appeared to be empty.

My previous comment about the signage is beginning to be addressed with exemplary modern signage for the Blackbuck and Cassowary. More of the same please.

Review by David Lomas April 2009

This was my third visit to Blackbrook, but the the first in a couple of years. As it approaches its 20th anniversary, the park seems to be returning to its roots as a bird garden – but larger than almost any other bird garden in the UK.

On the day of my visit in April, the weather was slightly dull. Blackbrook is set in the Staffordshire Moorland, just south of the town of Leek. The site is level with made-up paths which at times are narrow. Wherever there are steps, there is an alternative ramp close by. The zoo is very accessible. Full details of the park's location can be found at:http://www.blackbrookzoo.co.uk/

Firstly, here's a list of animals you'll no longer find at Blackbrook from the former occupants of the childrens' farm and pets' corner, gone are the goats, alpaca and llama. Other mammals such as Porcupine, Giant Marmots and Tamarins have also moved on, or at least off-show. Mammals are still represented by four species of Lemur, Meerkats, Deer and Red Necked Wallabies. There is still a reptile collection, including tortoises out in the park, but the Cayman have gone.

So that's what you won't see, what you will see is a range of cranes and storks that's probably unparalleled in the UK. There are wildfowl lakes - each allocated a geographical area - two species of flamingos and three of Pelicans. There's a colony of Humbolt's Penguins in a new enclosure (although the underground viewing wasn't available on the day of my visit). There are Owls and Pheasants; Vultures and Spoonbills; Rhea, Cassowary and Emus – the latter with 4 chicks at the time of the visit. The keeper talk on the Penguins was excellent.

The enclosures are spacious and generally afford the birds the option of privacy. Nest building and nest sitting was much in evidence. There is building work underway at the park, with more walk-in and walk-through aviaries under construction. The Blackbrook experience is predominantly an outdoor experience, with exception of the Crown Pigeons (two species) in the 'Water, Web and Wings' building. Tropical birds such as Parrots and Toucans aren't represented in this collection.

My only niggle is that some of the signage is lazy. Here we have a Bird Park that Blackbrook rightly claims to have birds that 'cannot be seen anywhere else in the UK'. There are some interesting stories to tell, but the detailed A4 notices each carry a standard paragraph on the European Breeding and Conservation Programme – this could be explained separately. The under-construction aviaries could have information boards to entice the returning visitor. That said, the hinged question-and-answer boards were challenging and popular.

With walk-in and walk-through aviaries, coupled with clear viewing panels and unobtrusive fencing all combine to make Blackbrook an excellent destination for the amateur wildlife photographer

GoodZoos.com Reviews


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