If you have reduced mobility – for whatever reason – you will know that life is full of challenges. Many people take the ability to move effortlessly from place to place for granted; when even travelling around your local town is difficult, it can feel like getting out and about to enjoy green spaces is all but impossible.
For those who own new 4MPH or 8MPH mobility scooters, however, this is not necessarily the case. If you or your loved ones are able to do the research, you’ll find that there are plenty of places all around the UK where you can take your mobility scooter and experience all that the British countryside has to offer.
Here, we will take you through what we think are some of the very best locations throughout the country for enjoying the stunning and peaceful scenery without having to worry about how you are going to get around.
COSMESTON LAKES COUNTRY PARK
Located near the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan – and only about five miles south of Cardiff, Wales’ capital city – the Cosmeston Lakes Country Park is not only a great place for people with limited mobility to explore, it is also surely one of the most unique countryside parks you will ever visit.
We spoke to the Site Ranger at Cosmeston, Aaron Jones, who explained why it is such a great choice for a day out, regardless of whether you are a wheelchair or mobility scooter user: ‘Cosmeston Lakes Country Park offers a fine introduction to the countryside and is open all year round. The country park has a variety of habitats covering over 100 hectares of land and water; some areas are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for protecting the rare and diverse plant and animal species found there. The Country Park opened to the public in 1978 and gained Local Nature Reserve status in May 2013….it is a haven for local wildlife where many people visit again and again’.
Mr Jones went on to say why the site is a particularly good attraction for those who would struggle with steep inclines or bumpy terrain, noting that ‘Cosmeston has been designed with gravel paths and easily accessible wooden boardwalks, enabling people of all abilities to discover and enjoy the countryside found within the Vale of Glamorgan.’
As previously mentioned, Cosmeston has one feature which sets it apart from other country parks, and will ensure that your day out here will certainly be one to remember. As Aaron explains, ‘set within Cosmeston Lakes Country Park is Cosmeston Medieval Village, a heritage centre unique in Britain. Here you can step back in time and enter a superbly reconstructed 14th century village.’ More information on the medieval village and everything else that can be found at the park is available here.
RSPB FAIRBURN INGS – DISCOVERY TRAIL
Fairburn Ings near Castleford in West Yorkshire is perfect if you enjoy birdwatching, but will be equally enjoyable for people who are just looking for somewhere pretty and peaceful to spend the day.
The centre’s Discovery and Lin Dike trails are ideal for those with easy access requirements. A wheelchair accessible bird hide is also available, so anyone can relax and wait to see the host of feathered friends that call Fairburn Ings home, such as willow tits, tree sparrows, lapwings, snipe and redshanks in the woodland and grassland, along with ducks, geese and swans on the main lake.
Maps and directions are available from the visitor centre, which is 100% accessible, as are the on-site toilets.
The facility is open all year round (apart from Christmas Day) and also benefits from free parking for disabled badge holders.
The royal landscape – Virginia water
Part of the famous Windsor Great Park on the border of Berkshire and Surrey, Virginia Water is a wonderful spot for Londoners who want to escape the big city for the day and just chill out amongst some beautiful scenery.
Virginia Water was created as a Royal pleasure ground, and ‘majestic’ would certainly be a fitting word to describe it. The 4.5 mile path circumnavigates the spectacular lake and is reassuringly flat for almost all of the route.
Excellently maintained, the first three miles of the path are tarmac, whilst the remaining 1.5 are gravel; previous visitors confirm that both are perfectly accessible for wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
One thing to bear in mind is that there is no disabled toilet in the pub next to the Virginia Water car park, although some can be found in the nearby Savill building.
Found near Blackmoor Gate in North Devon, Wistlandpound Reservoir features an exceptional, purpose-built circular walk on a wide, level gravel trail.
This safe and tranquil path extends right to the water’s edge, where you will be able to observe a number of birds, flora and fauna. A pagoda and several picnic benches also make great spots from which you can sit and watch the wildlife or enjoy your packed lunch.
There is also alternative parking for disabled badge holders and, like at Fairburn Ings, a conveniently accessible bird hide.
If the places mentioned on this list are not within a reasonable distance of where you live, don’t worry! There are literally dozens of other options listed on the fantastic Walks with Wheelchairs website.
So, if you are the owner of a mobility scooter that folds up or a change in circumstances mean that you are thinking of investing in one, don’t let this hold you back from experiencing the beautiful areas that are available to explore all over the UK.