The Donkey Sanctuary

Throughout history, donkeys have been by our side. Find out about the importance of donkeys and why we should care.

Donkeys have been a cornerstone in human existence and they still prop up entire communities today, ferrying water, food and crops. They are highly intelligent creatures, sociable and calm, capable of independent thinking and decision making. They are strong and won’t do something they consider unsafe, which makes them a great, trusted companion. Donkeys are, quite simply, amazing.

Discover the many ways we’re making the world a better place for donkeys, from our response to global welfare issues to education, enrichment and Donkey-Assisted Therapy programmes.

Donkeys and mules contribute so much to humankind all over the world, working tirelessly to prop up entire communities. But many are suffering and need our help right now.

Come and see the donkeys and mules in our care at sanctuaries across the country.


DERBYSHIRE – Situated near Buxton, our Derbyshire sanctuary covers almost 20 acres. Although not open to the general public, we do hold several events and courses throughout the year.

There are also sanctuaries at BELFAST, BIRMINGHAM, IVYBRIDGE, LEEDS and  MANCHESTER. 


Training courses

Courses run during the week from 10.00am until 4.00pm (unless otherwise specified) and include theory and practical sessions. A certificate of attendance will be presented on completion of the day.

Three miles down the road from our main sanctuary on one of our outlying farms, we have a specialised training facility that opened in 1993. The Training Centre has a large and well-equipped lecture room, with seating for up to 25 people. There are a variety of courses available on a regular basis at the Training Centre as well as at the following locations (please note that Stages 4, 5 and 6 are currently only delivered from our Sidmouth and Buxton venues):

  • Buckinghamshire – Princes Risborough
  • Carmarthenshire – Llandeilo
  • Devon – Sidmouth
  • Derbyshire – Buxton
  • East Sussex – Ringmer
  • Essex – Colne Engaine, Colchester
  • Scotland – Aberdeenshire and South Lanarkshire
  • Usk, Monmouthshire
  • West Sussex – Haywards Heath

We also run occasional courses at our donkey-assisted therapy centres in:

  • Birmingham
  • Leeds
  • Manchester

To find out about courses running in your area, please visit our events page and select the location closest to you.

How much does it cost to attend a course?

This course is free of charge; we do however gratefully accept donations that help support our work. You can leave a donation with your trainer on the day of the course or alternatively make a donation by other methods.

Specialised training courses

If your organisation has interaction with donkeys or mules then we are very happy to discuss the possibility of tailor making a course to meet your needs. Please contact us for more information.


For health and safety reasons training courses are not suitable for young children to attend.   Attendees under 16 must always be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Further information

When you book on a course we will send you directions, health and safety information, and information on the day.



Our adoption scheme is the perfect way to be a part of our donkeys’ lives forever. A perfect give for those you know that care.

Choose from 23 of our donkeys.


You can also help by treating yourself or someone you know as a gift from our online shop.




If you are concerned about any donkey or mule that you feel may be in distress, please telephone us. If out of office hours, the answerphone will give an alternative number for the welfare team.

The Donkey Sanctuary
Sidmouth, Devon EX10 0NU

Telephone +44 (0) 1395 578222

Office hours: Monday – Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Tel: 01298 83866
Email: Please Use Website Contact Form
Social Media: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Flickr
Address: The Donkey Sanctuary (Derbyshire)
Ashbourne Rd,
SK17 9QQ