Country Show 2015

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary’s 2015 Country Show took place on the weekend of 23-24 May.

This is an annual two day event featuring a wide range of entertainers and demonstrations of various skills and activities. Many attractions have a rural or agricultural associations while others are cultural or simply great fun. This year’s event featured birds of prey, a ‘Pets Corner’, llamas, dog agility and Shetland Pony agility events, model and craft displays, vintage cars and motorbikes, Irish dancers, Ashnah Folkloric Fusion Dance, and the Kennesaw Confederates and the H-Bar-C Drifters American West Living History Displays. Our popular fun dog show also takes place during the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary Country Show weekend.


In addition to the displays, competitions and musical entertainment there were also plenty of stalls selling various products.

Below are a just a few photographs from this year’s Country Show, which took place in late May.

Above: Llamas and alpacas were among the exhibits at the 2015 Country Show.
Above, Left: Parade of Island Farm Adoption Donkeys
Above, Right: Island Farm’s ‘Monty’ awaiting his public at the Country Show

If you enjoyed the Country Show or if you missed it but would like to visit something similar soon do come and visit our Pony Show on 7th June and the Island Farm Donkey Show with Fun Dog Show on 5th July.

As happy as a pig in mud …

Donkeys are by far the most numerous residents at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in Oxfordshire. Even so, if you look closely around the yard and fields or even just at the photographs on our website you’re sure to notice many other animal residents including chickens, geese, mice and a few larger mammals that occasional receive a mention in our newsletters and online.

Back in September 2013 we wrote about the arrival of Percy the pot-bellied pig together with various companions including a goat, a little brown duck, a Shetland pony and her mule foal together with his donkey dad. You can read more about them all here.

Although our main concern is for donkeys, all the animals at Island Farm are loved and cared for, which includes their various needs being met. Pigs need access to mud, or even better, a shallow muddy pool to cool off when the sun shines. Now that spring and some warmth from the sun is returning to Island Farm, here are a few photos of Percy doing what pigs do.

Percy pig at Island Farm Donkey SanctuaryPercy pig at Island Farm Donkey SanctuaryPercy pig at Island Farm Donkey SanctuaryPercy pig at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary

An illustrated talk about life at Island Farm

The following insight into life at Island Farm was recorded at a meeting of a local group at which Judy Gibbons, Chair of IFDS Trustees, gave an illustrated talk about the donkey sanctuary.

This 25 min extract is from a presentation of just over an hour and includes a few, though not all, of the questions asked at the end. Please note that as this was recorded on 9th April 2015, and we have an on-going turnover of animals at the sanctuary e.g. donkeys arriving, going out to foster homes, etc., some of the information given might no-longer be current.

Representatives from Island Farm are sometimes available to give short talks about the work of the sanctuary. These can take the form of a presentation of a series of pictures and/or video clips with someone from the sanctuary to provide further information, explain the pictures and activities and answer questions from the audience. If you are planning a gathering in our area and would like to arrange for one of our team to speak at your event please contact our office.

Palm Sunday 2015

Tracey the donkey ready for a 2015 Palm Sunday eventAs our friends and supporters know, Island Farm donkeys are in demand for Palm Sunday church services. This year was no exception.

The donkeys were not too bothered by the rather blustery March weather. Here (right) are a couple of pictures of Tracey, nicely turned-out and presentable wearing a freshly cleaned and polished bridle for the occasion.

With Tracey in the picture below-right are Barbara, Sue, Wanda and Jack (the dog). As usual, Tracey is calm and relaxed. If you recognize her from elsewhere on this website that might be because you watched our Carol Service video at which she made an appearance, then stayed on afterwards with various stable mates including Billy the goat and some sheep.

We hoped to include a photo of Tracey in the procession but due to wind and weather, it looked rather blurred so here are some other pictures of that (below) instead. As you can see, there were a lot of people and flapping robes to add to the inclement weather, but nothing fazes Tracey.

Palm Sunday procession, Sun 29th March 2015

Preparing donkeys for Palm Sunday

Donkey groomingThe Saturday before Palm Sunday (yesterday, 28th March) was a busy day here at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary. Staff and volunteers were busy with the grooming kits preparing 16 donkeys for their starring roles in Palm Sunday processions.

As if it wasn’t enough to brush and pamper a mere 16 donkeys, others pushed in for attention too. All the donkeys showed every sign of appreciating the attention, just as the (human) team enjoyed giving it. They looked even more beautiful than usual by the time the grooming was done.

Here are a few more pictures of the work in progress …

Donkey GroomingDonkey GroomingDonkey GroomingDonkey Grooming

As for the that last picture, donkeys will be donkeys …

Photos of this donkey grooming session have also been posted on our Facebook page.

Peter and Rudolf go to Wormwood Scrubs

Donkeys Peter and Rudolf just out of the horsebox and about to make new friends at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre on 19th March 2015.
Peter and Rudolf arriving at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre

Today two of our donkeys, Peter and Rudolf, are going to live at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in London. Although most of our donkeys live here at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary (Oxfordshire, England), some of our  donkeys are fostered elsewhere in the UK where we continue to ensure that they are well cared for.

Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre is an excellent equine facility at which rescued and well trained and cared for ponies provide the enjoyment of Riding for the Disabled (RDA) activities. Many people who have learning difficulties, among other challenges, also benefit from the hard work and fundraising needed to care for the animals and maintain and extend their facilities. Peter and Rudolf are expected to join the RDA team after they have settled in to their new home. In the early years RDA activities used to take place at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary. So, we are delighted to know that two of our donkeys will be carrying on that tradition at WSPC. It is a way of helping both our donkeys and the people that visit the PC.

Looking at the photos so far, they seem to be settling in quickly and enjoying their new surroundings. The ponies and donkeys enjoy their exercise with the human visitors and are never asked to do too much work. We have also heard that the equines at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre have the ‘perk’ of a 6 week annual holiday on a farm in Suffolk. Sounds good!

Below are the first few photos of Peter and Rudolf exploring their new surroundings and making a few new friends of the wonderful team at Wormwood Scrubs.

IFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf arriving at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, London.IFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreIFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreIFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreIFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreIFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreIFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreIFDS donkeys Peter and Rudolf at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre

Carols with the Donkeys 2014

This short video features a few scenes from our carol service on 18th December 2014.

As you can see, the clips were recorded on a hand-held mobile phone.
Sorry about the occasional jitter but hopefully this conveys some sense of the occasion.

We started a few minutes after 7.30pm due to more people arriving, a good cause for delay as it was lovely to see so many of our friends and supporters despite the cold dark night.
The barn was almost full with everyone comfortably seated around tables. Not only was that cheerfully sociable, but it was especially convenient for enjoying the delicious mince pies and other treats afterwards. The above doesn’t give a fair impression of the number of people present because the person filming needed to stand no further back than almost halfway along the barn in order to include these views of the BENSON and ROKE BRASS BAND who played brilliantly for us, and of the Rev. Janice Chilton who conducted the service.

There are short clips of the band playing and the barn while people arrived, then some of the carols – including “Little Donkey” during which Linda brought in Tracey, the donkey who is also shown in the final clips of some of the animals that joined us in the barn for the carol service. Other animals present are included at the end. There were also some well-behaved dogs who were most welcome but are not shown.

Other features of the evening not depicted here included the stalls along the side of the barn at which volunteers sold various gifts including some delightful soft toys, knitted donkeys and other items from our shop. There were also two raffles that were drawn later in the evening and warming mulled wine, soft drinks and nibbles served after the music. Some people won nice prizes just in time for Christmas and much-needed funds were raised to contribute to the running of the sanctuary and the welfare of the donkeys in our care.

Thank-you again to the BENSON and ROKE BRASS BAND, Rev. Janice Chilton and everyone who came to support this event. A Happy New Year to all!

Merry Christmas 2014

As 2014 comes to an end it’s time to thank all our friends and supporters for the help, good wishes and contributions of various kinds that we have received this year. Our Christmas message is conveyed by Jack and Charlie, two of our popular adoption donkeys, who are pictured below complete with the cheerful Santa hat stylishly modelled by Jack.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and good health and fortune in 2015.

Donkeys Jack and Charlie wish all our friends and supporters a very Merry Christmas
Donkeys Jack and Charlie wish all our friends and supporters a very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2013

Happy Christmas from Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary 2013
Happy Christmas from Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary wishes all our supporters and visitors an enjoyable festive season.

We appreciate all the generous support we have received throughout 2013. This has enabled us to care for the many donkeys who need our help together with a few other animals who have also found there way here, usually along with a donkey or two. As the donkeys rely on our care every day of the year we’ll be as busy as ever making sure that all are well, comfortable and cared for. We don’t close between Christmas and New Year – opening times for visitors are shown below.

With all good wishes for A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS !


Release Date: Monday 14th October 2013.


Mrs Florence Galliford received an OCVA Voluteer Award at Oxford Town Hall.
Mrs Florence Galliford received an
OCVA Voluteer Award at Oxford Town Hall.

Today, Monday 14th October, Mrs Florence Galliford was presented with an Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) Volunteer Award at Oxford Town Hall.
The presentation was made by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Graham Upton and the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson OBE.

This volunteer award was made in recognition of the many years of dedicated voluntary work which Mrs Galliford has given in support of Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary, which is located in the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

Mr John McLaren, manager of Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary said:

Florence has unstintingly given given her time and many talents to help us at the Sanctuary and I am delighted that she has won this well deserved award. “

The whole team at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary are extremely proud of Flo’, especially as she was one of only 40 volunteers recognized by an OCVA Volunteer Award at this year’s event. Further information about OCVA Volunteer Awards is available at