The Maley family love going on adventures and being outdoors. So when an opportunity to visit Calvert Trust Exmoor came along, Jo and Dan (mum and dad) signed up straight away. It was decided that their two eldest sons, Charlie and George would come with them.
Charlie has Cerebral Palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user but Jo and Dan knew that a visit to the centre would be a perfect opportunity for the four of them to do activities together as a group.
The family absolutely LOVED their stay! But don’t take our word for it… Jo and Dan have an online Walk or Wheel blog which focuses on how accessible and inclusive their days out, holidays and experiences are for Charlie and the family.
Our thanks to the family for letting us share some text from their blog. Here is what Jo wrote about their Calvert Trust Exmoor visit…
I read some information on Calvert Trust Exmoor, saw what activities they could offer and I jumped at the chance! This was exactly what I was hoping and looking for to celebrate the massive milestone of Charlie and George turning 10.
The night before we were set to leave I felt a little apprehensive as I haven’t ridden a bike in over 12 years, never been canoeing (owing to the fact I’m not a huge fan of water) and I’ve certainly never done any rock climbing! All of this added to lock down leaving me suffering a little with social anxiety and also never really meeting with other Cerebral Palsy parents in person. I was certainly out of my comfort zone!
Come Friday morning, we set off a little nervous, but ultimately ready for our next ‘Team Maley’ challenge! Due to rubbish traffic, we arrived two hours later than expected at 4:30 but excited and eager to see what activities we would be taking part in the forthcoming weekend!
On arrival, we were warmly greeted by both Claire and Craig from CPISRA and the staff at Calvert trust. We were given a tour of the centre and then handed our key to the apartment.
The apartment was clean, roomy with a brilliant sized wet room. It also included height-adjustable beds and sink and plenty of large cupboards to store Charlie’s wheelchair and all of our luggage!
Tea that evening was in the dining hall which has large tables to encourage families to interact whilst you eat. It was then time to meet in “The Barn” for a briefing to find out our activities and groups! We were put into a lovely group of people and found out we would be doing biking and archery on Saturday and canoeing, abseiling and zip-lining Sunday!
Saturday morning we woke up to a little rain, had breakfast at 8.30 am in the food hall and set off to meet our instructor for the weekend of adventures! First up was biking and so we set off to the bike storage in the rain excited to see which bikes they had to offer.
I had a look around the multitude of bikes on offer and decided that a side by side tandem, with a bucket seat up front for Charlie would be perfect, leaving Dan on a “KMX”! As we set off the heavens opened, and I have honestly never been in rain like it, but we set off all with smiles and it really didn’t dampen our spirits!
We had a fantastic ride around the reservoir taking in the beautiful sites even meeting some ducks and deer on route!
After the horrendous downfall we had, Charlie’s electric chair shorted out and we couldn’t use it, it just wouldn’t switch on! …and within 10 minutes a member of Calvert Trust were knocking on our door with a manual chair to borrow! Panic over! We had an alternative chair, not a perfect fit but we would make it work!
It was then time to strip off, get into some dry clothes, grab lunch and get ready for archery in the afternoon! Archery again was brilliant and they had an adapted trigger bow for those who found using a standard bow difficult. We played lots of different games including archery snakes and ladders and everyone again had an amazing time!
Sunday morning we had breakfast with Charlie and George’s new friend Alex, his parent’s and twin little brothers! What a lovely family they are and true little friendship that has blossomed from this weekend!
A little tired from the biking the day before but very excited for our next adventure we eagerly made our way down to the lake for the canoeing. Tom, our instructor had a variety of seating options for Charlie and we opted for a big bean bag to give back support whilst still remaining comfortable.
Whilst on the reservoir we raced, played games and all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Who knew I would like being that close to the water!
Then it was lunchtime and then back off out to get harnessed up for zip-lining and abseiling! Again there were a variety of harnesses to fit all and different options of how Charlie could choose to abseil. We had the choice of abseiling with a parent or abseiling with a parent and a specialised chair. Charlie chose to go down with Dad (much to my relief haha!) Charlie was super confident and guided his way down the cliff with ease! Tom our instructor was very confident and very encouraging, as were all the children and parents cheering each other on and making it a super supportive environment all round!
George was nervous and apprehensive to do it on his own but I felt this was a fantastic opportunity to really push George out of his comfort zone and let him abseil the wall by himself! He was a little nervous had a couple of wobbles but Tom offered some words of support and guidance and he smashed it! George was so proud of himself, as were we that he’s achieved something he thought he couldn’t do!
I’m actually quite emotional thinking of the fantastic time we have had at Calvert Trust and the lovely people we have met.
The weekend really couldn’t have gone any better.
We can’t wait to see you all again next year!