IT WAS a walk on the wild side for a Walton farmer’s warm wellies.

For Simon Wood’s warm wellies have melted the hearts of both keepers and animals alike at the popular Lake District Wildlife Park at Bassenthwaite.

With the worst of the winter weather still to come, the Warm Welly Company donated its warm wellies to the keepers to help them stay warm when dealing with their outdoor animals.

Simon, who lives at Hillfield Farm with wife Cookie and children Chloe, Isabel and twins Archie and Tom, knows only too well how hard it is to be working with outdoor animals in the midst of winter.

In exchange for warm wellies, the keepers will provide feedback on their level of durability, warmth and comfort – and share picture updates of their wildlife adventures on social media.

Handing over the wellies to park manager Richard Robinson and his team, Simon said: “We have lots of farming and outdoor loving customers, so we have confidence in our wellies, but we’re always looking for ways to improve them.

“The team at the park are very practical and very willing to give honest road test feedback.

“So far, we’ve had good reports on the fit and warmth of our wellies and recommendations on extending the sizes we stock.

“The true test comes when the bad weather really hits, and the wellies have been in daily use throughout the season.”

Whilst at the park, Simon had the chance to meet some of the animals first-hand. “It was great to be able to enjoy a special animal experience, meeting the tapirs and some of the lemurs.

“It’s very evident that the team know their stuff and really love their animals too.

“I can see why experiences are popular with visitors.

“We took lots of pictures and we’re looking forward to getting some unusual action shots during the year and following up on some animal enrichment ideas the team highlighted.”

When the wellies were unpacked, the boxes took on another life. Richard Robinson, the park manager, said “We’re always looking for new ways of providing animal enrichment.

“The welly boxes are cardboard and are great for increasing sensory stimulation. The boxes can be used to encourage foraging for treats or as toys and is something different to their everyday routine.

“I also discussed with Simon the opportunity to use faulty wellies as a way of providing treats – that could result in some very quirky pictures so it’s win win for us both.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how the wellies perform, both on our feet and as enrichment toys.”

Simon and Cookie’s children were the inspiration for Warm Wellies and are still models and welly testers. The range includes kids, adult, heavier duty wellies for farmers, with new wide and short wellies planned for 2020.