One of the largest equine charities in the world has said it could be forced to close four of its centres to cope with rising costs, including one in Ivybridge.

The Donkey Sanctuary, based in Sidmouth, recently proposed the closure of sites across the country and the downsizing of its Northern Ireland base to become a small sanctuary and rehoming facility as part of the plans.

The changes are being proposed to ensure the charity can continue to deliver its core mission to improve the welfare of donkeys in the UK and around the world.

The charity says that throughout the consultation period, which begins Monday, May 20, all centres involved will be closed to visitors.

The charity has offered reassurance to those who have booked visits that they will be contacted.

The sanctuary's main site in Sidmouth will remain open to visitors.

A spokesperson for The Donkey Sanctuary said: “Like many other charities and businesses, we face rising costs, and must adapt if we are to continue making the biggest possible difference with our available resources.

“The Donkey Sanctuary is therefore proposing the closure of four of our centres. This is subject to a consultation process, and during this time all centres involved with be closed to visitors. If closures do go ahead, we are confident that all donkeys can be safely relocated to a new home suited to their individual needs.

“We are proposing these changes in order to make best use of our donors’ money and to ensure we continue to achieve our core mission of improving the welfare of donkeys in the UK and around the world.”