Alpacas for Everyone!
I think everyone should be able to come and enjoy these amazingly curious and lovable creatures so am continually working to make your experiences as accessible as possible. No matter what your needs, I will always try my best to accommodate you - one thing I can guarantee is that the alpacas will find you fascinating whether you visit on no wheels, two wheels or four!
As we have step free access right from when you arrive and into the main alpaca paddock, Alpaca Encounter experiences are wheelchair friendly. The paddock was upgraded in early 2021 to install a large area of stone hardstanding right from the gate. This makes it easy to move about on and gets you a front row seat for when you do alpaca showering (yes that is a thing!). It also means no mud if the weather is a bit grotty or if you come to visit in the winter.
Our picnic enclosure in the orchard is across the main paddock which is fairly level but is across grass. There is also a small slope into the orchard but all terrain wheelchairs have had no problem getting in or out. If you prefer to stay on hard ground and in need of refreshment then there is the National Trust teashop a minute away across the road.
If Alpaca Trekking is more your thing then this may be possible for all terrain wheelchair users if using the lowland route. We can even adapt the route to make it shorter or take more even stretches of ground - just ask and feel free to come check the route out with us beforehand!
Alpacas with Autism
Autism and alpacas really do seem to go hand in hand! Whether it's Alpaca Trekking, an Alpaca Encounter or a Picnic with the Pacas, the alpacas always seem to be so in tune with my autistic guests.
The alpaca boys aren't really fazed by noise (we can also send in Mr Sharps who can't hear a thing) and I have a few very confident boys who are pretty chilled out around sudden movement if that's your thing.
One of my most rewarding moments to date was taking a small group on an Alpaca Trek and one lovely lad ending up leading the entire trek up front with his pal Bubbles - the two of them hummed continuously the whole way in some secret conversation. They didn't have a care in the world, just strolling off across the moors together.
As Alpaca Encounters and Picnic with the Paca experiences are exclusive to your party then you don't need to worry about sharing your time with anyone else. You can just be you! No judgement, no crowds - just you and the alpacas, oh and some woolly, cuddly sheep. Alpaca Treks can also be exclusive for your party - I just ask that you buy six alpaca walking tickets and it's all yours. I will even let you bring some companions for free up to 4 people. Just contact me before booking to get your voucher code.
For those with learning disabilities, you can't find a better type of animal to hang out with than an alpaca. My boys are super curious, gentle natured and most are very tactile, allowing you to stroke them and get up close. They are the best type of animal for building someone's confidence and are very calming to be around.
Alpaca Encounters allow you to get very involved with the animals in a nice relaxed and easy environment. There is plenty of seating, a 'feel safe enclosure' for those who may be a little nervous and you are welcome to use the orchard if you need a really quiet space for a while.
Alpacas are trained specifically as therapy animals for a reason - they are able to really connect with a person just by being themselves. Contact with these wonderful animals can bring huge benefits for those with dementia or similar memory problems.
Though don't just listen to me but read this lovely excerpt from daughter Alison who had her elderly mum come to visit to create some treasured memories:
"We visited Lydford Gorge Alpacas for an animal encounter with my mum in 2021, having previously had our own Alpaca trek with Helen. We booked the animal encounter with the alpacas as we thought it would be good for mum, who has fast progressing dementia. Little did we know how wonderful it would be. The animals seemed to instinctively know to be gentle and to be attentive. Mum fed the alpacas, and sheep, cuddled and stroked and asked lots of questions. She was absorbed and involved and Helen was caring, kind and really rather wonderful with her. For us to see mum immersed in an activity, engaged and happy, made the day! Mum loved every single minute of her time with the alpacas and the sheep and whilst she has absolutely no memory of it now, apart from when she is shown photos, she talked about it for days afterwards and even managed to remember it to share with family when she returned home to Cambridge.
I can’t recommend Helen and the boys highly enough!"
A huge thank you to you and your boys for making the trek the highlight of our stay in Lydford and for giving us such great memories to treasure. Not forgetting, of course, a big thank you to Annette and Keith for choosing such a special and original gift for our birthdays!
Hope the construction work on your holiday let is progressing well, Helen, and wishing you every success with your business going forward. Best wishes Elaine, Jim and Kelly
Kelly B, 21st June 2022