23rd Oct, 2017

Hopping mad Stratford couple turn garden into rabbit wonderland

Laura Kearns 13th Aug, 2017

A COUPLE who are bonkers over bunnies have transformed their garden into a rabbit wonderland.

Emma Hartshorne and Wayne Kenward have spent £4,000 turning part of the garden of their Stratford home into a pet paradise for their 30 bunnies.

Their rabbits can explore more than 120 metres of pipes, tunnels and structures leading through a wonky treehouse, a bunny maze, a log cabin called ‘Fort Bunlop’ and a 20-tonne clay rabbit named ‘Eddie’.

There is also a giant chessboard, blossom mound and the lucky pets even have their own pub called The Hop Inn, filled with hay and tasty treats.

The pipes lead to an enclosure, known as Bunningham Palace.

Emma, a 46 year-old property developer, and Wayne, a 50 year-old IT company owner, did most of the work themselves using old pallets and unwanted stone.

Emma told the Observer: “I hired a company to dig out the soil so I could build the chessboard and lay the pathways and patios, with 320 slabs in all.

“Rabbits live in territorial groups so certain groups can’t go out together. The challenge was to create a garden where many rabbits could go out safely at the same time without fighting.

“ We employed a connections company called ‘Runaround’ to plan and supply all of the pipework, sliding doors and wire tunnels.

“This system which Wayne put together connects to the Bunningham Palace enclosure and runs around the perimeter of the garden. By activating different doors we can direct different groups of rabbits to different areas.

“The rabbits go mental in the garden, they are really happy. Our rabbit ‘Blue’ even sighs with contentment when she is sitting in the treehouse.”

Safety comes first for the rabbit-loving couple, who keep their pet alpacas and donkeys in adjacent paddocks as security guards.

And they are desperate to help even more bunnies by offering them a fun-filled home.

Emma said: “Rabbits are no different from cats or dogs, their amusing antics never fail to raise a smile, they create happiness and brighten any dull day.

“Like humans, they get bored, so giving them plenty to do keeps their minds stimulated and their bodies fit.

“I would absolutely stress, you do not need a huge garden to keep rabbits happy – the right diet, human interaction, companionship from another rabbit and an interesting space that allows them to dig, burrow, run and play, be it in the house or a small garden makes for a very happy pet.

“We are shocked that 67,000 rabbits end up in rescue homes each year and are desperate to try and help the crisis.

“Despite having so many rabbits, we will continue to rescue as many as we can.”

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