Raystede welcomes visitors to gain a unique glimpse into the work of an animal welfare charity.
Entry is free but all visitors are asked to book a ticket – this is essential to ensure the site is as safe as possible for visitors, the animals in our care, staff and volunteers.
Book your visit!

About Raystede

In the 1930's a lady called Miss M Raymonde-Hawkins purchased a cottage with a small patch of land just outside of Lewes in East Sussex.

A former headmistress with a deep compassion for animals, she left the education sector to establish Raystede as an animal charity in 1952.

In the early days the charity was based in her cottage and back garden. But right from the start she pledged to provide facilities that were equal to or better than existing animal rescue centres.

Fast forward six decades and the vision behind Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare remains as strong and impassioned as it did when Miss Raymonde-Hawkins began her campaign to give unwanted and abandoned animals a better life. Today the site has expanded across 43 acres where we care for over 2,000 animals a year, rehoming over 1,000 animals and providing sanctuary to even more. We are one of the most diverse rescue centres in the UK because we care for so many different species of animals.

Although Miss Raymonde-Hawkins was a hero in her own right, Raystede has always been about our supporters. We couldn’t do what we do without our supporters, they make the centre what it is and provide the resources to rescue and care for animals in need. The friends of Raystede are some of our most passionate supporters, who care for animals as deeply as we do.

Sadly, not all the animals that we care for can be rehomed. We have a number of elderly equines and goats that need specialist treatment and we will support for them for the rest of their life. This is supported by a promise to never put a healthy animal to sleep.

If we feel any of our younger, more able equines or goats would thrive in an environment outside of Raystede we will allow these particular animals to either go out on loan or be rehomed.

Many of the animals here at Raystede play an important part in educating pet owners of the future. With family friendly activities and interactive school programmes, our Education Team work hard to give young people an understanding and practical advice on how to love and care for animals.

Raystede welcomes visitors to gain a rare glimpse into the work of an animal welfare charity. Entry is free but booking is essential. Please book a day and time slot here - you can stay as long as you like.

There is ample parking, excellent wheelchair access and we are dog friendly. If you would like to visit us, details on how to find us are here.

We have a dedicated charity shop where you can bag a bargain (designer labels and other hidden gems have been discovered) and a cafe where our staff bake fresh cakes every day.

Alleviating animal cruelty, rescue, rehabilitation, rehoming, providing sanctuary for animals in need, and educating people about how to care for animals remains at the heart of everything we do today.

Your kind donation helps us to rescue and care for more animals in need.

We rely on your support to save animal's lives & do the work we do.

Monthly Donation One-off Donation