Rocky and Muffin enjoy Ashdown Forest park

Rocky and Muffin
Rocky and Muffin

Fantastic weather, more animals to see, a drop in entrance prices, coffee shop makeover and better priced knitwear and gifts all helped give The Llama Park in the Ashdown Forest an optimistic start for new owners Bobby Schuck and his wife Susan Barrow.

The couple took over The Llama Park in May this year. Susan said: “We took a risk, putting our best efforts - and every last penny we had - into running an animal park for the first time in our lives.

We took over 53 llamas, 14 alpaca, and in our first three months we brought in Spanish horses, donkeys and sheep, with more varieties of animals and birds on the way to add to the herd.”

Bobby and Susan cut entrance prices to the park by more than 20 per cent, which encouraged more visitors to come and see their spectacular location. They also introduced cheaper family walks with llamas of half-an-hour, along with their existing and very popular one-and-a-half hour llama walks for adults.

Also on the animal front, Susan’s Spanish stallion Vanidoso and his pregnant wife are now happily settled into their new home and the new donkeys, Rocky and Muffin, have proved to be a big success. The licence for the park to offer rides for the kids should be ready next week.

The pair also took on the coffee shop, which has gone through a bright make-over whilst retaining its reputation for good home-cooked soups, scones and pastries. As for the top quality alpaca knitwear and gift shop, they have retained its quality, keeping its high-fashion Spirit of the Andes pure alpaca knitwear concession, whilst bringing in more accessibly priced but high quality cashmere and lambswool fashion items for both men and women.

An eclectic choice of toys for the kids and duck quackers remain, but the shop also now stocks beautiful hand-made knitwear from Peru for the children and, by popular demand, Sue Carley, the Llama Park’s new shop manager, is also now stocking alpaca yarn for her knitting customers.

Susan said: “All in all, this summer has heralded an auspicious start for us and as for the future, we look forward to not only expanding its animal attractions and knitwear and gift offerings, but preparing for a bumper Christmas with Santa’s visit to the park to collect his reindeer at the beginning of December.”