One of the resident otters at the Centre
One of the resident otters at the Centre

Just outside the North Cornwall village of North Petherwin is Petherwin Wood, on the west bank of the peaceful Bolesbridge Water. Petherwin Wood is home to one of the most unique wildlife habitats in England, the Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre.

The Centre contains both British and Asian Short Clawed Otters. As the name suggests, the Centre is not devoted solely to otters, but is also home to several other species of wildlife, including peacocks, wallabies, meerkats, servals, polecats, chipmunks, harvest mice, and a variety of waterfowl.

In addition, two types of deer wander freely around the 21-acre woodland enclosure, including the tiny Muntjac deer. There are several types of owls to see, and 9 varieties of birds of prey including a tame kestrel, Harris hawk, and buzzard. There is a special bird watching area.

A fallow deer in the woodlands
A fallow deer in the woodlands

There are nature trails through the woodlands and beside the river, taking in two lakes. There are also family picnic areas, a tea room, and a gift shop.

One of the most popular features is the otter feeding, which takes place twice a day. Check with the Centre for current times, but as of this writing, the feeding takes place at noon and 3:00pm. There are also two birds of prey talks each day.

There are eight otter enclosures. British Otters are usually grouped as pairs or family units. By contrast, the Asian Short Clawed Otters are extremely sociable and live in large groups.


What I hadn't realised before visiting the Tamar Otter Centre was just how many other varieties of animals were on display in addition to otters. It really made the experience of exploring the woodland fascinating. I can highly recommend the Otter Centre as a wonderful family experience. Children will love seeing the otters being fed, but the real treat is seeing them play. You are able to get quite close to the otters, and enjoy their antics.

The centre depends totally on visitor contributions for its existence and its conservation efforts. It receives no other funding.

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About Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre
Address: North Petherwin, Cornwall, England, PL15 8GW
Attraction Type: Family Attraction
Location: On a minor road just east of North Petherwin village. Signposted from nearby roads.
Website: Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre
Location map
OS: SX288893
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

North Petherwin, St Paternus Church - 0.4 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

North Petherwin Holy Well - 0.5 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Egloskerry, St Petrock & St Keri Church - 2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Tremaine, St Winwalo's Church - 3.3 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Launceston Priory - 3.6 miles (Abbey) Heritage Rating

Lawrence House Museum - 3.9 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Launceston Castle - 4 miles (Castle) Heritage Rating

Launceston, St Mary Magdalene Church - 4 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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