Clumber Park: Alpaca your bags and leave estate

Alpacas
Alpacas

An alpaca farm used to help autistic children is being forced to move after being told to leave their Clumber Park home.

Liz Wilkinson, 58, and her herd of 12 alpacas and two llama now have just five weeks to find a new home after eight years in the field next to the gatehouse.

The tenant of the Welbeck Estate wants to use the land for other purposes, and the National Trust, who own Clumber Park, have told Mrs Wilkinson there is nowhere available within the park despite another tenant being willing to take the flock.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “The whole thing feels very mean-spirited, it’s really upsetting.”

“We’ve been told there’s no space, that the animals aren’t indigenous and so wouldn’t fit in, all sorts.”

“We aren’t asking for a penny and feel they could be a great attraction.”

The farm is regularly visited twice a week by autism charity Norsaca, and Mrs Wilkinson says the adults and children who come benefit from being with the animals.

She added: “Some of these children can’t even communicate, so to see them walking an alpaca when they were frightened of a hen is incredible.”

“Wherever we go we’re going to lose that now, which is a dreadful shame.”

“I can’t give the animals up though, so if they go, I go with them. It’s what I do, I’m all they’ve known, so we’ll go somewhere where we’re wanted.”

The National Trust released a statement which said:

“We understand that Mrs Wilkinson is looking to rent land that would enable her to live permanently on-site or adjacent to her herd.

“Unfortunately, the Trust does not have any such smallholding-type properties to rent at this time.

“The Trust wishes Mrs Wilkinson every success in securing suitable permanent grazing for her alpaca ‘family’.”