Wolf Watch: The Shropshire wolf sanctuary where you can experience a truly unique and natural encounter with wild wolves
Are there wild wolves in the UK?
Yes, but not totally free to roam at will throughout the UK. You need to go to a specialised centre if you want to see wild wolves in the UK in their natural habitat.
Eco holiday - tracking wolves in Spain
I have always had a passion for wildlife conservation, but particularly for wolves, and it was always a dream of mine to see wild wolves in their natural habitat. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to track wolves with a guide in the mountains of Northern Spain. You have to get up very early to see a wolf and although I didn't see one on the first day, the other wildlife and scenery were absolutely stunning and the early start was worth it just to be in the mountains as the sun came up.
On the second day two wolves appeared to check the area for the pack. There was also a pack howl which made the hairs stand up on my skin all over my body, but in a good way. I was literally a few hundred feet away from wild wolves! Check out the Iberian wolf in the mountains on Spain in the photo below - and also the size of the wolf paw prints in the second photo, about the size of a large hand!
Wolves in the UK
You can imagine my excitement when I found out that there was a wolf sanctuary in Shropshire, not that far away from where I live! On the Welsh/Shropshire border there is a remote wooded valley of about 100 acres where Wolf Watch UK are based, with some of the largest enclosures in Europe.
Established in 1993 by Tony Haighway, Wolf Watch UK is a private membership conservation group for the rescue, welfare and conservation of displaced wolves. Over the years it has taken in over thirty displaced wild wolves. These wolves have come to the sanctuary because of pack dominance fights, zoo closures, excess breeding or even unsuitable pets, and without this wonderful facility they would probably have been euthanised.
The whole set-up is based solely around the welfare of the wolves but this is no paying zoo venue. The wolves are not exploited for monetary gain and are left in as close to a natural habitat as is possible.
Wolf Watch UK raise their funds through membership subscriptions, donations, fund raising, adopt-a-wolf schemes, and educational/photo opportunity days.
Wolf Watch UK Cottage
As part of their fund raising activities, Wolf Watch UK have a small cottage that you can rent out for a few days whilst staying on site. The cottage is a small converted granary and sleeps 3. It stands in the grounds of the conservation centre down in the valley. After a hard day exploring the area you can lie in bed and, if you are lucky as I was, hear the sound of a very close howling wolf!
Where to see wild wolves in the UK
The video below was taken on my visit to the Wolf Watch Shropshire Sanctuary and you can see the wonderful scenery and how remote the area is, just perfect for wild wolves.
The two wild wolves in the video are Rickon and Sansa who are brother and sister. They are Norwegian wolves and came to the Wolf Watch sanctuary as a result of an unplanned pregnancy in a private UK collection.
Wolf Watch UK Lodge
Whilst we were visiting the wolf sanctuary, a new eco lodge was nearing completion for paying guests in an absolutely superb location and we were fortunate enough to be shown around.
Sleeping 4, it is situated at the most elevated point in the grounds in the middle of about 100 acres of woods. It has an absolutely fantastic view of some of the wolves, red deer, badgers, foxes and a host of birds. The lodge also has a large elevated veranda where you can sit with a glass of wine and relax and really is a nature lover's paradise. You can see photos of the lodge together with details HERE.
The Wolf Watch sanctuary in Shropshire is the perfect place to re-charge your batteries, learn about wolves and take in the scenery and local wildlife.
If you decide to visit and stay at the wolf sanctuary, for an extra fee (£50 when I stayed) you can have a guided tour with Tony Haighway. Tony is an absolute fountain of knowledge on anything wolf and wildlife related, plus you are contributing to the much needed funding of a very worthwhile wolf conservation project.
If you are interested in getting out into nature you might be interested in my review of the best natural insect repellent in the UK - tested by me in the jungle in Borneo!
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