You need to give yourself at least 2 hours to appreciate all there is to see at the Chesnut Centre. More if you go to take photos. The area is quite spread out and requires a longish walk to get you to the through the deer meadow and into the main otter part.
There are so many different kinds of otters and I would advise that you photograph a sign near their enclosure before or after you photograph the otters themselves. I want to sell some of my images to stock libraries so it is really important that I identify the species of otter.
Hopefully I got them right! I had to retrace my route around the park on the map and match that against the order I took the photos.
Asian short clawed otter
These were my favourite. One of them had picked up a stone which it was carrying around and playing with.
Seemed to love sharing water.
I couldn’t get over how big these were, they were more like a seal than an otter. I missed feeding time by a few minutes but they were pretty active.
There is a nice little woodland area as you come into the park where I practiced panning the camera to create a blurred abstract of the trees.
Scottish Wildcat and other animals
There are also a lot of animals to see other than otters and deer such as this beautiful Scottish wildcat. This isn’t your average moggy but as a cat person I find it really hard to see any cat, big or small, in a cage. Although it is a nice big enclosure.
Thee are also foxes, polecats, badgers and owls to see but I didn’t give myself enough time to see all of these and the fox was hiding away. You can get some really nice owl shots here if you try but you may have to use a high ISO and be patient as the enclosures are in the middle of woodland. So it can be quite dark.
You are free to roam with the herd of deer but should probably stick to the paths. It’s quite an unusual experience to be walking along and suddenly happen upon deer grazing close by. They get spooked quite easily and just trot off.
There are feeding times with the animals throughout the day and I really want to go back to photograph the daily deer encounter.
All of the info about the Chestnut Centre is at the link below. It has a tearooms and a lovely giftshop as well. Definitely worth a visit!