VISITORS to the Hamptworth Estate near Salisbury have the chance to get up close and personal with owls and to have a go at flying them.

Both daytime and evening owl experiences with six different species of owls are on offer at the estate in addition to their existing Falconry Experience days.

Bob Dalton who runs Hamptworth Falconry said: "It was the obvious progression - the falconry experience days have proved so popular over the last year and as our collection of owls has grown over this same period, we decided to enlarge our offering.

"There is a general fascination with owls in this country and we have been asked on numerous occasions if we would include this in our experience days."

The owls at Hamptworth range from small burrowing owls of South America to magnificent Bengal eagle owls of India as well as barn and tawny owls. "All the owls have been around people since they first hatched from their eggs and are, therefore, relaxed and happy to be in company with our staff and clients alike," said Mr Dalton.

The owl experience sessions at Hamptworth start with an introduction to the owls when participants get to meet each owl and learn a little about their life. After some simple handling instructions, everyone is given the opportunity to fly the owls and have them return to their gloved fist.

Owl experiences need to be booked in advance and gift vouchers are available.

For further details visit the Hamptworth Estate website on or by phoning 01794 390700.