1. ITV Report

No laughing matter? Somerset attraction bans singles

Puppet show at Puxton Park, which doesn't admit single adults without children Photo: ITV News

A family tourist attraction near Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset won't admit single men and women without children because of paedophile fears.

A bird enthusiast from High Littleton near Bath was baffled after he was turned away from a falconry display at Puxton Park when he was told adults without children are banned.

Matthew Richards had previously visited Puxton Park with his three grandchildren but wanted to return for another look at the birds of prey area.

But he was astonished when he was told the leisure park didn't admit single men and women on child protection grounds.

The section of the Puxton Park website where the anti-single rule appears Credit: Puxton Park

When Matthew Richards, a married father-of-three, complained, bosses at the tourist attraction near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, defended the bizarre rule and insisted it is 'in line with other parks'.

I almost feel discriminated against.

I could understand it if it was for the attractions that young children only enjoy, but the falconry is of interest to all.

I was frankly amazed. I was told the rule applies to single men, and women, for the protection of children.

I couldn't see anything about the rule on the brochure which I picked up at another attraction.

We have taken one of our grandchildren there before, and I saw that the falconry was there and thought it would be interesting to go back and see the displays.

They are advertising adult memberships as gifts so I can't understand it.

– Matthew Richards
Puxton Park near Weston-super-Mare is a child-friendly attraction Credit: ITV News

Alistair Mead, managing director of the park, said the rule has been in place since the park opened seven years ago.

There is a lot in the headlines about paedophiles and things that are going on with children.

We have done our research and in line with all other parks we don't let single men or women in.

We make it quite clear that if people want to go to the falconry they have to get a prior appointment, and we would take them down to the falconry centre.

It is in the leaflet. I think if I did a survey of 100 of our customers they would agree that we are doing the right thing.

– Alistair Mead, MD, Puxton Park