I’d vaguely heard of a local Kent goat sanctuary, but I thought it was further away than it was, and I had no idea that the Buttercup Goat Sanctuary opens it’s doors to the public every Sunday from November to April 10am – 3pm, and every day from 15th April until November, 12pm – 4pm. It’s in Coxheath, near Maidstone. I went down there with the children, my sister and brother in law and their two children one sunny February Sunday. I have fond childhood memories of a Derby holiday and visiting some friendly goats so I was looking forward to it. It had been raining the week before so it was a little muddy, but we were forewarned and forearmed with wellies and old trousers. I took my camera and had a field day (literally) with the goats. I didn’t really know what to expect.
When you arrive, from the twisty Kent country lanes, there’s a small car park, which I imagine can get busy during the summer months. Once you’ve parked, there’s an information table with an honesty bucket where you can leave a donation towards the upkeep of the goats, who are all rescued. The whole place is run by volunteers, I remember knowing someone who volunteered there before she went to study veterinary science, so it can be a good work experience placement. The suggested donation is £3 per person. The goats seemed to be looking forward to see us, but there was a warning not to feed them.
Then you go straight into a large field full of goats! The children loved it, the goats were friendly and varied in size, shape and colour. The kids were running around, and Daniel was delighted at the goats, and being outside in a large space. There’s a mound in the middle which the kids loved running up and down, plus or minus goats. There weren’t many people when we went, we practically had the place to ourselves. Here are my best pictures of us in the field.
Once we made it through the field, after a few scary moments of over friendly goats and a couple who started fighting near us (goats not people), you go through to the stable area and you can wander around the stables and their feeding area. There are plenty of areas to use the hand sanitiser provided, and there’s a toilet in the stable block with a sink.
There’s a small cafe and shop mixed together, with tables outside. We had hot chocolates and you can buy ice cream sweets, toys and souvenirs. The tables are outside so you can eat with the goats (they’re fenced off).
You can also buy ‘goat food’ at £1 a bag, which we did buy a few bags, then I discovered it’s literally dried pasta! Who knew that’s what goats like. I guess you could smuggle your own in if you were feeling poor. It was fun feeding the goats and hearing them crunch on the pasta. Daniel was the bravest whereas William and Phoebe were older and not wiser, they refused.
We made our way back through the field a little quicker this time and back to the car. I got everyone in the car and de-booted, then I couldn’t get the car out! It was stuck in the mud. Remember that mound of gravel Daniel was standing on at the beginning? That’s so you can get your car out of the mud. I started shovelling gravel around the wheels, luckily my brother in law helped, plus there were some volunteers who had just arrived and they radioed for help too. With a team of people pushing the car we got out safely! It made it that bit more adventurous, and I want to take my husband and the children back there at Easter time. Let me know if you go and we’ll compare photos.