Two donkeys graze in their paddock at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth.

© Gartland/Shutterstock

Donkey Sanctuary

East Devon

This irresistible attraction is home to around 400 donkeys, some rescued from mistreatment or neglect, others retired from working the beaches. Walkways pass fields full of the creatures happily grazing, trotting and rolling in the grass. In the main yard you can mingle freely with animals specially chosen for their fondness of people. It's 3 miles east of Sidmouth. Donations welcome.

Signs alongside explain donkey body language (head down is resting; ears up is interested; a swishing tail means don't come any closer), while collars bearing names and ages allow you to know who you've just met. Because donkeys bond with each other, those that come into the sanctuary together are kept together for life. When one goes into the veterinary hospital, their friends join them to keep them company.

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