A couple's dream to own their own bird of prey centre has come true.

Tara and Martin Ballam have been running Xtreme Falconry from home in Marshwood but it was always a dream to own their own bird of prey centre.

After 11 years, they have finally opened Dorset Falconry Park in Dorchester, Dorset's first bird of prey centre and sanctuary.

Xtreme Falconry is a nature centre which hosts more than 60 species of birds and an education centre. Martin, who has more than 34 years of experience caring for birds of prey, and wife Tara bought a 6.9-acre site at Lewell Mill Lane, on the outskirts of Dorchester, to set up the centre.

Martin said: "It has always been my dream to open my own site to educate the public about birds of prey as well as breeding and caring for the many species. Xtreme Falconry can offer a wide range of activities and experiences while maintaining the natural beauty of the site. After a successful launch weekend, I look forward to welcoming even more people to the centre to see all we have to offer.

"Our mission is to educate, inform and inspire people regarding birds of prey and help to gain the respect they deserve."

Species of birds that are featured at the sanctuary include falcons, hawks, owls, eagles, and three species of critically endangered vultures.

There are also tea rooms, a butterfly garden and a bird hospital at the site.

A team of three falconers help Martin run the centre, and he also receives support from his three children.

The centre was set up with the help of a commercial loan from NatWest.

The bank's Alison Hill said: “Xtreme Falconry will provide a boost to tourism in the area with the unique experiences they offer. Martin and his family are very passionate about their birds and it is clear to see in their conservational and educational efforts. We look forward to supporting the business as it continues to grow and the number of species in its care expands.”

Xtreme Falconry will hold flying displays and offer visitors bird handling experiences. They also offer off-site displays.

For more information, email enquiries@xtremefalconry.co.uk