I travel all around the UK with The Outdoor Guide filming accessible walks and for most part I travel to the destinations by train. Obviously I'm unable to take my big all terrain wheelchair on public transport! So I always worry about the suitable of the walk that I am being asked to film for my ability to wheel myself around in my manual wheelchair. Now I have arms like Popeye and have pretty good upper body strength, but when I arrived at Durlston Country Park, Devon and saw the steep track down to the visitor centre and the rocky coastal path along the Jurassic Coast, I really had a panic that I haven't eaten enough spinach to tackle the terrain in my manual chair.
But no fear... my fairy godfather arrived in the form of Neil Warren who introduced me to the Countryside Mobility Scheme.
It was great to catch up with Neil who explained about the scheme
Countryside Mobility is an award winning initiative network of scenic locations around South West England (and beyond) where you can hire an all terrain mobility scooter to explore in freedom with friends and family.
The hire network offers around 50 locations with one membership (obtained when being trained for your first use of the scooter) providing access to scooters at every location. You can choose from a 2 week or Annual Membership (£2.50 and £10 respectively)*. The same type of scooter (known as a Tramper) is found at every location so once you’ve been shown the ropes once you will feel safe and confident visiting any partner site in the network.
Each site has a selection of routes that have been safety audited to ensure they are suitable for first-time users.
The initiative is operated by the charity, Living Options, in partnership with outdoor attractions that take in historic estates, wild coast and countryside, forests, industrial heritage, gardens, arboretums, heathland, lakes and rivers.
*Normal admission and parking charges apply where relevant and some hire locations charge a small hire fee (max £2.50 per hour).
Since my visit to Durlston Country Park, I have used the trampers via the Countryside Mobility scheme, at several other locations including Botallack Mines.
It is a wonderful initiative in the south west of England. And I am pleased to say that a similar organisation called Lake District Mobility is now operating in Cumbria and in the NOrth York Moors National Park.
Videos to watch
Countryside Mobility at Durlston Country Park.
The Tramper at Botallack
Thank you to The Outdoor Guide for the films of the walks