September 24, 2022

I’m smiling as I type this, because Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Essex has that effect on both its visitors, and residents of 80 horses, ponies and donkeys. As part of the UK’s largest horse sanctuary, this peaceful, unassuming little haven is a lovely place to visit with little and big-ones in tow, especially if they are crazy about horses.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

Visiting Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Essex

It’s taken us ages to finally get round to visiting Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Essex. Absolutely ages! And, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that we did. Due to covid restrictions you must book online to visit.

Visitor slots are limited to select weekend dates over the year, so planning ahead is a must. During the summer months we really struggled to get a booking, however, tripping over into the cooler Autumn months, there is currently plenty of availability. It’s free to visitbut any donations are so very gratefully received by Redwings, as this helps towards the care of the rescued animals.

We traveled by car, and due to limited visitors at any one time on site, there was ample free parking.


Redwings Horse Sanctuary – Ada Cole

Broadlands, Epping Road

Roydon, Nazeing

Essex, EN9 2DH

On arrival, you should report to the visitor center to check in. And, if it’s your first time visiting the lovely staff will give you a little introduction to the sanctuary.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

All the pretty horses!

It’s so hard to believe that any one of the gorgeous horses, ponies or donkey’s we saw could ever have been in a position where they needed rescuing. On sight, they all looked so content, happy and at peace in their own ways. Redwings gives visitors the ability to look up their residents in more detail, and find out a bit more about their (often, awful) backgrounds as you go along. It’s very tastefully done, with a focus on the positives – which is great for little ones.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

It’s split into sections, with stables to the front of the grounds. Further along are pens, and further still are the fields. There is plenty of space for fun and frolics, so you may not get to see all the horses, ponies and donkey’s, depending on where they are and what they are up to.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

However, if you’re lucky, you’ll manage to get a snuggle or two with the most cuddly residents who trot over to meet everyone.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

We were absolutely taken by the ponies who loved lots of fuss. Little Button seemed to really click with Tinkerbell, so much so, that she could have stayed all night stroking her!

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

A quick pit stop

Dolly’s café makes for a lovely pit stop in between pony snuggles – if you can tear them away (believe me – it was hard!). It was a beautiful day, so we purchased drinks and a cake to nibble at the picnic bench area. Funds go towards the running of Redwings, and every little bit helps! You are of course welcome to bring your own picnic from home too. The toilet block is right by the stables, and conveniently located near the café and picnic area.

Adoption warm fuzzies

Pony mad Little Button was thrilled to have the opportunity to adopt Tinkerbell. It was a donation of £15 for the year that you can make at the visitor centre, and we now receive a fab newsletter and updates. The lovely thing about making an adoption at Redwings horse sanctuary is not only feeling like you are making a difference (which you are), but actually being able to visit the resident you have adopted.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

Our overall thoughts

We absolutely love Redwings Horse Sanctuary – Ada Cole, Essex, and we’ll certainly be back to visit very soon. It’s a gorgeous place to spend a couple of hours, whether you like to sit back and watch the horses play or get up close and have snuggles with them. It’s inspiring to see what good is being done, and of course, there’s an opportunity to contribute in different ways too – which gives all the warm fuzzies.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Essex

I think it’s probably worth noting that Redwings is not an attraction like a children’s farm or a zoo. It’s a fully working horse sanctuary, and everything is set up to make the horses, ponies and donkey’s as comfortable as possible. It caters brilliantly for visitors, but do expect modest facilities, and appreciate having a chance to see these beautiful rescued residents being cared for and given the love they deserve.

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Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Essex

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