We’ve always written about where to stay and where to go in the great outdoors from the point of view of ‘accessibility for all’ and with the ever present threat of total ‘lockdown’ (whatever form that takes – Rule of 6, 3 Tier System……etc.) it seems even more relevant. The last thing you want to do is go somewhere and find it’s inaccessible with that unforeseen set of stairs or a less than accessible disabled toilet.
So we’ve update the post and added some other places you may want to visit.
1st Dos and Don’ts in a Park
Even though you’re outside COVID restrictions still apply and the Royal Parks of london have published some useful guidelines. In summary they are:
- observe social distancing of 2m or 1m with extra precautions (face mask & hand washing/sanitising)
- clear up your litter and dog poo
- abide by the rule of six – don’t meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6.
- Try and visit when they are less busy and keep dogs on a leash.
2ND to note are The Outdoor Guide Accessible walks.
The Outdoor Guide website provides information on accessible walks from all over the UK. They’ve been tested in a wheelchair and are designed to make the outdoors open to all. They say:
‘Debbie North (the diversity & inclusion expert), uses a range of wheelchairs to access the countryside and wants to inspire other wheelchair users to do the same through The Outdoor Guide’s wheel-friendly walks. These walks are carefully selected and range from those suitable for families using pushchairs, wheelchairs or bicycles through to more rugged off-road adventures’.
Recent additions to their list include a walk to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, a walk to the summit of Cairngorm and a National Trust walk to Salcombe Hill Devon.
Is home to the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe, the largest working forest in the UK and the largest area of protected dark skies in Europe. Although parts of the North East are in ‘lockdown’ a range of facilities are now open in Kielder Water & Forest Park including car parks and some public toilets. However they
‘urge anybody who chooses to visit to be respectful of local communities. Please stay away from village and residential centres, and observe Government guidelines on social distancing wherever you are in the Park’.
They have encouraged accessibility for all for many years and Calvert Kielder promotes
‘integration and inclusivity to enrich the lives of all our guests and visitors. With the encouragement of our dedicated instructors, and whatever your ability, taking part in our challenging outdoor activities, will help to improve your self-confidence and self-belief’.
They provide accomodation and ‘Specialist, flexible supported care breaks in the countryside for adults aged 18 and over.’ The rooms are fully equipped and they offer accessible adventures such as sailing, canoeing, zip wire etc. so take a break in their fully accessible centre.
You may also want to try a spectacular treehouse called the Sky Den. Channel 4 TV presenter George Clarke has created a beautiful multifunctional space from which to enjoy the outdoors of Kielder Forest. It’s also accessible in parts, as space is limited but it does seem a wheelchair user can cope with areas having flat access and a walk-in wheelchair shower. You can read the accessibility details here.
4TH South West Coastal Path and Omnipods Cabins
Another good resource is the South west Coastal Path and their accessible walks. They detail 30 sites in the South West with accessible walks however, some are narrow so a social distance when passing other users may be tricky. There’s also also a stylish Omnipod in Knapp Mill in Loddiswell near Aveton Gifford, Devon, if you want an accessible ‘glamp’ along with Gwel an Mor, Resort in Porth Reath, Cornwall. Another great place to stay in the South West, with it’s fully accessible (plus hoist) self catering lodge. You can stay in your own social bubble! We went in the autumn out of season and it was beautifully accessible with few people around.
‘stylish holiday accommodation and disabled people with beautiful, accessible and memorable holidays.’
See more in the video below and there’s also one located in The lake District near Lake Windermere…….
5th Other Places to Try………..
Some of our other favourite places to go are Cottage in the Dales in Yorkshire and see our review of great places to visit in E. Yorks & N. Lincolnshire. It looks at places to eat, visit and stay including Leyburn Auctioneers which is both accessible and interesting.
There’s also The New Forest with a number of accessible walks, kew Gardens, Chiswick House and Garden (details on access can be found here), RHS wisley and these accessible coastal paths are worth a visit.
Finally, if you’re still shielding or isolating Access Adventures are still operating virtual sessions which give the benefits of exercising without leaving your home. They’re
Hopefully this has given you a taste of the great outdoors and if you have any recommendations please get in contact.