Animal Rescue: Charlie’s Place

Earlier this month, Protect the Wild visited Charlie’s Place Animal Sanctuary on the way up to a protest walk on Moscar Moor near Sheffield.

Run by Claire and Will, Charlie’s Place is a small grass-roots animal sanctuary set on a plot of land in the Peak District which (to quote a flyer we picked up) gives “a forever home to animals in need“.

The sanctuary takes in everything from wild animals like blackbirds, pigeons, foxes and hedgehogs (the sanctuary is looking after twenty-five of the latter at the moment) to unwanted donkeys, chickens, and ducks. The Sanctuary even recently rehabbed and returned to the wild a young Peregrine which had been caught in netting used by a local football club to stop balls going into the main road!

Run along vegan lines (Claire told us how volunteers at the sanctuary routinely ‘discover’ that animals like pigs and chickens have characters and personalities and slowly give up eating meat), no animal is ever euthanised unless their suffering becomes too much.

Charlie’s Place does see that suffering of course. The sanctuary is just outside the Derbyshire badger cull zone and is also home to several so-called ‘mini pigs’. These intelligent, curious and friendly animals quickly grow beyond the size most owners were led to believe they would and end up at places like Charlie’s where they are loved for the rest of their lives – which may well be shorter than we’d all like because these animals have been deliberately bred with a genetic trait to develop melanoma for lab testing. Claire showed us a beautiful little pig which she knows won’t live for very much longer…she’s determined though to make sure that pig will be happy for as long as possible.




Hard work and determination

An animal lover through and through and kind to her core, Claire was mentored by another sanctuary until she felt confident to set up her own. She says that she never stops learning and is indebted to the support of a local vet and members of various volunteer groups. She will, she says, be on site until she is trundling around on a mobility scooter!

Like so many small sanctuaries up and down the country, Charlie’s Place is driven by the sheer hard work and irrepressible determination of its operators.  There have been setbacks though. Their land is an island surrounded by farms (Claire describes the fencing around the sanctuary as a border between “the hell outside and the heaven inside“), and in July local dogs managed to get into Charlie’s Place and attacked some of the sheep there, killing a lamb Claire had named Buttercup. She knows who owns the dogs, and they have refused to even apologise.


How you can help

Claire and Will are nothing if not highly resourceful, but it of course takes money to house and feed an ever-changing family of animals. Offers of help or donations are always welcomed. A novel idea is the opportunity to sponsor a hedgehog cage for a year for just £50 – which includes a hand-made sign to thank you for your support!



We came away from Charlie’s Place impressed and not a little humbled. Since setting up their sanctuary Claire and Will have become completely absorbed by it. Like so many other people on the front line, their lives have become focussed on the animals they care for – and as Claire told us, they wouldn’t have it any other way.