View from our village in early summer, just after we moved in
View from our village in early summer, just after we moved in

how far we've come

4th February 2016


It isn't even a year since our move to Warwickshire but it almost feels as if we have been here for much longer.  Sometimes things are still tough.  We're still building a local supporter base and getting to know our new home.  We're still discovering local fundraising opportunities and widening our support network.  Occasionally things can feel overwhelming but in those moments we pause and realise just how far Grace’s Rest has come in such a short space of time.


We have made some wonderful new contacts since the move, and not just business associates, friends too; inspiring people who challenge us to take a fresh look at problems old and new and bring fresh perspectives that we may not have seen before.  We have found new allies in LUSH Cosmetics, something that may not have ever happened back in Lincolnshire.  We have broadened our horizons and are no longer holding back in expressing our views on the exotic pet trade and related industries.  The more I have thought about it the more I have come to realise the Grace's Rest is at the point where animal welfare science and the animal right movement meet.  In my view these disciplines are not mutually exclusive and are closely entwined.  How can one say for instance that it is good welfare to give an animal water to drink without similarly accepting that it is the animal’s right to have water to sake it's thirst?  If the water was denied the animal would eventually die, thus going against both it's welfare and right to life.


With all of this in mind we are looking to the future with excitement and feeling that our big dreams are not as far away as we once thought.  There is still an awful lot of work to be done but we're going to keep on doing what we do best and we know that we will get there in the end with perseverance and determination!

Mr Mole - We came across the little chap while exploring the village for the first time

Yesterday was a ridiculously busy and tiring day as we moved the reptile room around once again in preparation for more admissions.  Three old vivaria were dismantled and taken to the recycling centre.  The remaining vivaria have been rearranged into better positions and three new ones have been installed.  The finished result is a much safer and efficient arrangement that is far easier to work in.  We still have some new electrics to fit and light units to install but that will come in time.


We have our first meeting in the Commons (yes, in Westminster!) on Tuesday next week as new members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group For Animal Welfare where the discussion will be focussed on exotic pet ownership and potential changes to legislation to afford the creatures we love more protection.  We are very excited to be there amongst our peers in animal welfare, industry leaders and politicians and are eager to hear the facts in what has become a constant topic of discussion  in the exotics-keeping community.  There will most definitely be an entry in the “Exotics News & Views” blog category next week, pop back then to get the inside scoop!


We also have another very important meeting scheduled for that day, the details of which we cannot release yet.  But believe us when I say that the whole world will know about it if we have the positive outcome we hope for!  This will be an entry in the “Behind The Scenes” section... If all goes to plan...

With so many exciting developments on the horizon we hope that you will stick around for the ride and enjoy the journey with us.  As ever we are in need of donations form our Amazon Wish List, this week we really need new enrichment and substrates for the vivaria that we are refurbishing:

  • Faux foliage
  • Bog wood
  • Cork bark
  • Hides
  • Coir
  • Moss
  • Orchid bark chips

Click here to be taken straight to our Wish List page, there are gifts for the critters to suit every budget!  Please give what you can and we hope you will look forward to the next glimpse of life behind the scenes at Grace's Rest!

Want to donate?

Supported by Ladbrook Insurance, a specialist animal charity insurance provider.


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opening hours

Mon - Fri:

Office hours: 10am - 5pm


Emergency calls accepted 24/7


Open every day


Meet the Owner-Operator, Clare Barnard BSc.(Hons)


Clare is a research scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln where she is studying wildlife conservation and the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations.  She will be working from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptations.  Clare has also been honoured to become part of the Global Amphibian Biodiversity research team.


Clare has almost 20 years professional experience in the husbandry of exotic animals a specialism in the genetics of British herpetofauna.  She has worked with wild Adders (Vipera berus) and endangered Natterjack Toads (Epidalea calamita) under Natural England license conditions.  Clare has worked as a zookeeper and within private collections including her own.  She lives in rural North Warwickshire, on-site at Grace's Rest, with a whole host of animals!

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© Clare Barnard and Grace's Rest - Midlands Exotic Animal Advice, Education & Rescue Service, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Clare Barnard and Grace's Rest with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. //