Much More than a Flying Visit
Set in 300 acres of woods and parklands in the grounds of a country house is the largest collection of birds of prey in the North of the country.
A beautiful old stone building with far-reaching views across the Yorkshire countryside and standing proudly next to the historic Dunscombe Park house, is the home of The National Centre for Birds of Prey (NCBP).
The Eagle has Landed
The Centre has around 100 birds at any one time on site, from more than 40 species. Along with native birds like kestrels, buzzards and owls, there are many others from all over the world, including North and South America, Australia, Asia and Europe. Total numbers vary throughout the year depending on the Centre's breeding system and visiting birds from other collections.
The newest bird - a Striated Caracara falcon - has just arrived from London Zoo. Another recent addition to this feathered family is the spectacular Steller's Eagle. The largest and heaviest species of eagle in the world, with a wing span of 8 feet, "It's like a light aircraft when he's coming in," says owner of Duncombe Park Estate, Charlie Heap.
With demonstrations taking place every day, whatever the weather, not only can you watch birds flying free against the stunning backdrop of the Duncombe landscape, there are also 'experience days', guided tours, and photography sessions on offer.
Special events, such as the Winter Owl Evenings, are hugely popular too, and no wonder. This night-time tour offers the opportunity to watch owls swooping amongst the enormous vintage oak trees by torch light. You can also see owls up close inside the charmingly-named Christmas Tree cottage. With the darkness lit by candles, lanterns and fairy lights, and hot food and drinks served in the Owl House Cafe afterwards to warm you up, the whole experience sounds totally magical.
In addition to bird watching, the Centre includes areas of river and country walks, wooded and open spaces, and gardens to explore. Bring your walking shoes and your dogs and stretch your legs in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
We recommend you take the stunning virtual tour below to experience it all for yourself. With the aim of 'teaching visitors without them realising they are being taught', the NCPB delivers fun, excitement and education all wrapped up into one incredible experience.
If you're fortunate enough to go there in person, make sure it's much more than a flying visit.
Find the National Centre for Birds of Prey at Duncombe Park, Helmsley YO62 5EB. Tel: 0844 742 2035. Look them up on the web at ncpb.co.uk
where they've also embedded their virtual tour. Follow them on Facebook
, and read some of their five-star reviews on TripAdvisor
Date: 12 August 2016
Author: The 360 Company