entranceThe Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park is set in 50 acres of beautiful land and boasts Europe's largest collection of otters, owls and other indigenous wildlife.  The Centre exists to provide safe haven for endangered species such as the Giant Otter.  With an estimated 2000-3000 in the wild, the Giant Otter is a critically endangered species.  The Chestnut Centre works with centres around the world to breed these beautiful creatures, with the aim of producing a minimum of 40 breeding pairs in order for reintroduction into the wild to begin.

While the aim of the Centre is to care for the animals that arrive and release them into the wild, there are times when this is not possible.  The Centre has a number of animals that, for various reasons, cannot be released.  Animals which were once pets, or which have been badly injured would not survive in the wild.  Panda the ferret is a favourite among the staff.  Found abandoned in Glossop, Panda is missing half his tail and has suffered a broken jaw at some point.  A friendly, loving animal, he is never happier than when he is having a cuddle and being fed treats.  For Panda, and others like him, the Chestnut Centre is a loving home for life.new_today_059

Those animals who are being cared for and receiving treatment prior to being released are tended to with utmost concern for the impact their interaction with humans at the Centre may have.  It is the aim of the Centre to ensure that these animals retain their natural waryness.  For this reason, contact with them is kept to a minimum and care is taken to ensure that they do not see people bringing food.


rebecca_apricot The Chestnut Centre is home to around 40 fallow deer. Rebecca (left, with Apricot) has been working at the Centre for 5 years. 

Deer will adopt young into their herd.  Spirit and Storm (pictured below right, with Apricot) were orphaned and placed here with the herd.

stag This imposing Stag (left) is Socrates.  He is running down the hill towards Rebecca, who is calling his name and proffering a snack. 

Within seconds, she is surrounded by the deer she jokingly says regularly "mug her" for treats.





The path sweeps through the grounds in a large oval.  It is advisable to walk towards the woods down the steep slope to the left and save the gentle slope for the walk back!  When walking down the slope, little can be seen of the habitat.  As you walk through the gate, the large enclosures become visible within the wooded area.  Each enclosure has been carefully planned to provide the most appropriate and stimulating environment for its inhabitants, while working to ensure that the land retains its natural beauty.  

There are around 17 species of owl at the Chestnut Centre, and they are working hard to ensure that these beautiful birds have a sustainable future.

The breeding programme for the 4 species of otter cared for here is helping to ensure that these beautiful creatures thrive in the wild.  In time, and by supporting local people to understand how to repair the damage done by deforestation and contamination of the food supply, it is hoped that one day, the Giant Otter can reclaim its home in Guyana, South America.  The Chestnut Centre works with the Karanambu Ranch in Guyana, with this aim in mind.

A wide variety of wild animals have made this their home, visitors may catch a glimpse of treecreepers,bluetits and bank vole and see evidence of many more, such as rabbits and foxes.

slope steps slope2
In addition to the large number of otters and owls, the Centre is home to badgers, polecats, foxes, scottish wildcats and pine marten.  No injured wild animal is turned away and the staff here work with local vets and the RSPCA to ensure that animals in need are given the best care possible.



In times of heavy rainfall, the stream that
runs through the valley at the bottom of
the Chestut Centre runs brown.
This is due to the water running off
the peaty moorlands above.






Enjoy a quiet drink and a snack at the coffee shop or browse the gift shop, located at the entrance to the park and frequented by visitors to the centre, hikers, cyclists and those who are just passing by, entry to these facilities do not require the purchase of a park pass. 

Enquire here about the adoption programme, where you can lend your support to the valuable work the Centre does by adopting one of these animals.  You receive a certificate and photograph of your chosen animal and your name is added to the 'Thank You' board at the enclosure.  You also receive a car sticker, bi-annual newsletters and a fact sheet on your species.


'Bug-ingham Palace'
A biodegradable home for insects
Young visitors are encouraged to gather
suitable materials from around the woods
and add them to the bug house


conservation meadowland under the ground bird habitat
notice_9_large burrowing owl polecat quaker

The Chestnut Centre is committed to education.  All around the grounds are boards providing interesting information on a range of subjects, from the animals cared for here, to those living wild within the grounds, and the flora and fauna in the area.  There is also information on the history of the area.
Part of the work done here is to provide educational facilities for children.  There is a study area by the front entrance and the Centre regularly accommodates school groups.  In addition, there is an Outreach Programme, where members of staff hold assemblies in local schools, which includes taking along one of the animals to show the children.

Otters are among the largest of the weasel family.
They can remain under water for up to 4 minutes.
Their home is called a 'holt'
Their 'spraints' (droppings) smell of violets!


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The Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl & Wildlife Park
Castleton Road
High Peak
SK23 0QS

01298 814099
Chestnut Centre Website


Christmas Grotto

A magical mix of Santa and animals

December 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th,

22nd, 23rd, 24th

12noon - 3pm

Booking Advised