When we were on holiday in Norfolk this summer, we visited Hillside Animal Sanctuary in West Runton. That’s near Sheringham and Cromer. Hillside also have a sanctuary closer to Norwich but that one is not open so often.
It was a wonderful place and really makes you think about what the farming industry does to these poor animals. Hillside currently has over two thousand rescued animals, most of whom were rescued from farms. They do undercover investigations too – exposing horrendous conditions in farms across the country. It’s horrifying how these things go on in secret, torturing the poor animals that so many people buy without a second thought in their supermarkets. If you read their Wikipedia page you can get a small glimpse into some of the things they do.
When you see so many of the rescued animals now living happy lives in peace at the sanctuary, after all the horrors they’ve been for, you can’t help but be inspired by them. Turkeys wandering around in the sunshine, knowing they’ll never be eaten for Christmas? Hens giving themselves a dust bath knowing they’ll never be shoved in a tiny cage again? Animals turned from skeletons into healthy, happy creatures? Just a few of the things you’ll see here. They even have a mini lake with ducks and geese!
And what’s even more special about this place – it’s all vegan! They have a gift shop, which is where I got the cookbooks featured in this post, along with trinkets, calenders, t shirts, and vegan-slogan mugs!
They also have a cafe which is what they call “animal-friendly”. This means vegan, I discovered after I asked. Nothing is made with animal products at all! It’s fascinating because it’s proper “packed lunch” fare – lots of cheese sandwiches, cakes, and crisps – but all of it is vegan.
I had a cheese and tomato roll, with crisps and salad, and my husband had a sausage and pickle roll. All vegan. Followed by some lovely cakes from the Vegan Cakery – there was a huge selection of cakes there to choose from! You could also get vegan snack ice creams from their freezer if you liked, and teas and coffees all made vegan.
I liked this because although it didn’t loudly proclaim “THIS IS VEGAN” it was – and the place was pretty popular, but I imagine most people didn’t even realise they were eating vegan food. Which is something that could completely change people’s minds on veganism, food that is not particularly “healthy”, not particularly “fancy” – just normal, everyday vegan food that tastes good.
So, if you’re ever in Norfolk, do plan a visit to Hillside! If not, check out their website or their gift shop online or just try and find a similar sanctuary near you. Hillside have rescued many animals (one poster said 200 just this year!) but there are so many more stuck in horrible conditions around the world, and they need all the help we can give them.