Hillside Animal Sanctuary, Norfolk – Vegan MoFo Day 18

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.


Today we arrived in Congham, to stay at my Granny’s house for the next few days.

It’s beautiful weather here – for once (usually when we come here it is absolutely tipping it down!) and we decided to make the most by going out into her giant garden. We read for a bit, and then took a football out to have a kick around.

But no! While walking into the garden I spotted a spiky blob in the middle of the grass. At first I thought it was a piece of moss, or mown grass – but on closer inspection, it was a hedgehog. Curled up tight into a little ball, just peeking out at us.

Teeny tiny baby hedgehog! Well, I’m not actually sure how old it was as it was already quite spiky. Apparently baby hedgehogs are not actually spiky.

I did not know what to do, as all I’ve heard is that hedgehogs out in the daytime = bad! If a hedgehog is out in the day, apparently it is sick. So I rang up a few hedgehog sanctuaries in the area, but nobody picked up. Eventually I rang the RSPCA. The guy who answered the phone said that actually, young hedgehogs have to eat throughout the day so are not completely nocturnal. Therefore it was probably ok.

I went outside after I phoned, to check on it. And I was glad that I didn’t call a sanctuary! It was alive and wandering around, happy as anything!

And very cute to go with it!