A POPULAR animal sanctuary in Monmouthshire which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic has announced it is re-opening to visitors.

Shirenewton-based Dean Farm Trust will be reopening over the summer holidays after being closed to the public since the start of March.

The charity held its first open day on Sunday afternoon, hosting a small group of visitors from Monmouthshire and Bristol for some socially distanced fun.

Charity founder Mary Frankland said she is delighted to welcome people back to the 62-acre site.

"We're really looking forward to meeting people again and introducing them to our residents," she said. "The coronavirus pandemic has hit our little charity hard, but the support we've had from the local community has been amazing.

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Henry the sheep at Dean Farm. Picture: James Gibson Photography

"It's great that over the last six months so many people have been in touch to say they would like to visit, so we've put on some extra dates to accommodate everyone.

"It will be wonderful to see old friends and welcome new faces to our residents’ home for life.

“We are taking it day by day and constantly reassessing our procedures to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff. We have followed all appropriate government guidelines and we were so pleased to be awarded with the ‘Good to Go’ industry standard.

"We’ll be announcing more opening dates as further guidance is released, so please keep an eye on our website.”

The sanctuary is open for visitors every day between Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, August 2.

Before Saturday, the sanctuary will be open for afternoons between 1 to 4pm.

Visitors must book in advance to ensure a maximum amount of people at the sanctuary at any one time. For dates and booking information visit www.deanfarmtrust.org.uk/events-visits.