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Our sanctuary

For more than three decades, our dedication to improving the welfare of horses and small animals has been integral to the animal welfare movement. Through our provision of care, education, and support, we have made a meaningful impact on these animals' lives while also raising awareness and knowledge among the public.

Shire Horses at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.
Shetland Ponies at Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.
Goats at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre

Caring for horses
and animals alike

Since our establishment in 1989, the well-being and care of our animals have been at the forefront of our sanctuary's mission. For over three decades, we have dedicated ourselves to providing a safe and nurturing environment for the animals that have found refuge within our walls.

Our team of experienced unpaid caretakers and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that each resident receives the highest level of care and attention. From providing nutritious diets tailored to their specific needs to creating spacious and stimulating homes, we strive to meet every aspect of their physical and psychological well-being. We believe in a holistic approach to animal welfare, promoting not only their physical health but also fostering a sense of companionship, enrichment, and social interaction.

Our commitment to our animals is unwavering, and we take pride in the long-lasting relationships we have built with these remarkable creatures over the years.

Our beginnings

The Northcote Heavy Horse Centre was founded in 1988 by Keith and Ruth Sanders, who had a passion for horses. The idea was sparked when their horse Ebony returned to them after working at Young's Brewery in London. The center opened in July 1989 and has relied on faith, support from friends, and fundraising activities to sustain itself.

The centres primary focus is providing a caring environment for horses with specific needs, including disabled horses. We believe in the importance of horses having meaningful work and contributing to their well-being. The centre operates with a dedicated team of volunteers, including an unpaid manager and deputy, who are supported by visitors and generous donations.

Over the years the centre has continued to grow, taking in more horses and other animals, including birds of prey, goats, llamas and more. 

Shire Horses at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.
Animal grooming at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.
Pulling a cart at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.

Towards the end of 2023 we were sadly asked to vacate our horses' stables and move all of our animals and belongings, with very little notice. This was an area our charity had full use of since opening in 1989. We are asking for your support during this difficult time

We have set up a GoFundMe fundraising page to help support our sanctuary build new stables and enclosures for our animals.

You can read more about that here.

Pedro, last pony in the stable and pathway
Volunteers at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre 2023

We are lucky to have some exceptional volunteers that run every aspect of our sanctuary. Have you ever thought of volunteering your time? Learn more about our dedicated team and see the fun we have!

Pigs at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre

Our latest news and blog

A catalogue and archive of our news and blogs. Featuring updates and developments from the animals and our visitors center. Including the latest news about Dante & Rosie.

5 Stars

“Very lovely place where you can feed the animals, the goats/chickens escape their pen, you can groom the horses & walk the ferrets. Lady who runs the place was very welcoming and informative. Can't wait to go back.”

Words of support

5 Stars

“Very knowledgeable staff and a wide range of animals.
We were allowed to groom one of the horses which the kids loved. There is a cafe on site which does basic hot food and cakes but very reasonably priced and good quality.”

5 Stars

“This place is a hidden gem all the staff were fantastic the animals are out of this world.
We really got to interact with the animals.
We had a spectacular time there, highly recommend”

Ghostly goings on

Over the years our volunteers and visitors have often noticed spooky goings on! Our sanctuary and local area is built on a former World War II Air Base with lots of secrets and mystery.

Paranormal experts have scanned and surveyed our site, finding various spirits and entities living here. Some are believed to have even travelled specifically to our sanctuary because of their love of animals.

The three main places of particular interest are our welcome area, gift shop, bathrooms, and former sand-school.


Our onsite caretaker often hears strange noises in the middle of the night, doors opening and closing, objects moved, footsteps and even the sound of hooves where no animal currently resides.

Ghostly Goings On in Great Steeping Lincolnshire World War 2 WAF WW2
Hire us for your event.

Our sanctuary is available for private hire for functions such as birthday parties and corporate events. The centre provides activities such as pony experiences, llama walking, and other hands on animal activities, making it a fun and educational venue for children and adults alike. Pricing and availability can be discussed, and arrangements can be made for catering and other services if required.

Lincoln College at the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.

We are proud to support various Colleges and Universities including Lincoln College, Boston College, Riseholme College & the Grimsby institute with their work placement offerings. We regularly have students volunteering and learning animal management courses. Learn more about work placements by contacting us directly or through your college/university.

Embark on a journey through the enchanting Lincolnshire Wolds, where picturesque landscapes meet rich heritage. Explore charming towns like Spilsby, Horncastle, Skegness, Louth, and Boston. Uncover hidden gems, from cozy B&Bs to lively pubs, wildlife sanctuaries, and historic sites. Experience the heart of England in this captivating destination. Discover other local attractions, walks and places to stay here in Lincolnshire.

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Our favourite memories

A collection of our favorite photos and videos since 1989.

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