St. Tiggywinkle’s is a wildlife hospital situated in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. It cares for ill and injured wild animals, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It is best known for it’s care of hedgehogs; however it will help any injured wild animals, for example foxes, badgers and birds.
If you have under-fives you may have seen it featured in an episode of the BBC’s ‘Come Outside’. Auntie Mabel was invited into the hospital for a look round. Well, you can’t actually wander round the hospital (would you want people gawping at you if you were poorly?) but there is a lovely Visitor Centre which makes a interesting day out, where you can also gain an appreciation of the work done by the hospital.
The hospital has a number of animals which live permanently at the centre. These are ones which are too disabled to be released back into the wild. They are housed in a garden designed to be an ideal habitat for them. The garden is a lovely peaceful place to be, with water features, a huge pond for ducks, geese and herons and a lookout post towards the fields where deer are recuperating. There is also a children’s play area with climbing frames and swings, so the kids can let off some steam while parents have a sit down.
Indoors there is a museum of Hedgehog memorabilia – from kitsch to cool, historical to hysterical, if it has been named after a hedgehog or looks like a hedgehog it’s there! It is also possible to view the nurseries full of baby animals and see the day-to-day work of the hospital on CCTV.
A small selection of snacks and drinks are available from the shop, and there are plenty of seating areas where you can have a picnic if you wish to bring your own food. The whole centre is pushchair friendly, has baby changing facilities and the staff are helpful and friendly too. If you don’t get to see a hedgehog they offer to go and find one for you!
As this is a hospital and not a zoo there is no guarantee what animals will be around on any particular day, however there is lots of information on the treatment and care of animals. St Tiggywinkle’s is a charitable trust and also contributes to wildlife conservation in many ways. It trains young people for City and Guilds Animal Care certificates and funds research into wildlife related issues. In particular they are involved in a study to determine the feasibility of moving hedgehogs from the Outer Hebrides, where they are threatened with culling because of their effect on the seabird population.
By visiting the centre you will not only have a fascinating day out but also help them to continue their wonderful work which helps wild animals all over Britain.
For more information about their work, opening hours and their online shop visit www.tiggywinkles.com
Tiggywinkles, Aston Road, Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8AF
Phone 01844 292292