I finally got my chance to go and photograph Britain's first farm animal sanctuary. They have been rescuing farm animals for over 30 years now and it all started with the purchase of 60 animals from a livestock market.
An early start saw me meet up with my Dad (Matt Gibson Photography) for our first joint shoot!
We met with Louise, who had got in touch with me several weeks ago and she gave a quick tour before leaving it to us. So Dad and I started off with the cows at the far end of the sanctuary. We spent a good while with these gentle giants, taking photos, stroking them and having them try to eat our toes!
Next up was the sheep. These guys flooded around us as soon as we stepped foot into their field. It is so lovely to see sheep who aren't terrified and running away from people! A lot of time was spent with these loveable balls of fluff as they enjoyed a fuss and used our legs as scratching posts. Three horses share this field with the sheep and they weren't in a particularly co-operative mood, too preoccupied with grazing, and who can blame them!?
The pigs were next on our tour. Most of them were enjoying the sun and napping, except for a few adorable guys who, naturally, loved tummy rubs. Among the pigs is one you may have heard of, Percy. Percy was found stranded by the side of the M42 by a member of the public back in 2019, and he has been living happily at The Farm Animal Sanctuary ever since.
After a bit of wandering amongst some more sheep and being scared away by some very protective geese, we moved onto an animal that I have never had a chance to photograph before, alpacas! These guys were very wary and shy, but incredibly fun and interesting to watch and photograph. Despite enjoying the process of learning how to photograph these guys, the star of that little paddock was an absolutely stunning little sheep called Merlin. What a beautiful little guy he is, his black markings around his bright yellow eyes really make them stand out and his cute pink nose contrasting the black markings around his mouth...such a lovely guy who loves having his head scratched, even gave me a little headbut when I stopped so that I would keep going!
Our final stop of the day was with the male turkeys. These were the first male turkeys I have come across and they were all puffed up and making a kind of sneezing noise, so we exercised caution and tried to photograph them from outside the pen, it wasn't until Louise returned a few minutes later that she told us they were simply showing off and wanted som attention, so naturally I got in with them straight away! The white one loved having the back of his head stroked and, at one point, came up to me, lowered his head, spread his wings a little and then seemed to do a little happy dance, it was absolutely adorable!
That happy little experience ended our visit to The Farm Animal Sanctuary. Photos are now in the Gallery and Store and, as usual, 50% of the profits from any print sales will be donated back to the sanctuary to help them care for the animals.
Sadly, since our visit, one of the ponies, Alice, has passed away. The following words are from The Farm Animal Sanctuary Instagram: "She touched the hearts of everyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting her. Everyone loved Alice."