The centre will be re-opening from Friday 21st August, but with some changes in-line with Government guidance.
Please be aware…
- We are actively contacting those with bookings before the 21st August to re-arrange visits. Please bear with us if we haven’t reached you yet.
- Any day visits for riding lessons or swimming sessions will currently not be taking place. As soon as it is safe to re-start these activities we will let you know.
- Phone 01598 763221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. To receive updates directly, sign up to our newsletter.
A message to all our guests from Andrew Laming, Centre Director…
“I am delighted to be able to announce that we will be in a position to start welcoming guests again from late August. As we slowly move out of lockdown, restrictions are eased and tourism starts to pick up all over the country, Calvert Trust Exmoor is working hard to ensure it is ready to safely welcome guests back to the hills of Exmoor and beaches of North Devon on Friday 21st August.
The team is currently working on best practices to ensure the safety of our guests, and are making sure procedures are in place so your stay is as safe and carefree as possible.
We know how important adherence to good hygiene and safe distancing practices is but with some amendments to the usual timetable, we know that you will still have a fantastic experience when you stay with us.
However, we have had to make some changes to be able to open. Some activities may not be able to operate, for example at the time of writing this the hydrotherapy pool is not allowed to open but restrictions are changing regularly and we will look to open all facilities as soon as it can be safely done.
For those activities that are operating, they will be managed very carefully to ensure maximum safety for all concerned. Activity group sizes will be smaller with the capacity of the centre limited. There may be changes to the way the canteen operates and guests will almost certainly be expected to stay in their ‘bubbles’ for the duration of their stay.
We very much look forward to seeing our guests again from the 21st August onwards and although things may be slightly different we are confident that this will not stop you enjoying the Calvert experience and having the time of your lives.
If you do have any questions at all regarding what to expect then please do contact one of the team on 01598 763221 who will be only too happy to answer any questions.”
The Calvert Trust Exmoor centre is right in the heart of North Devon, surrounded by green fields, forests, and the best that nature has to offer.
But if you look around the north of Devon, there is so much more to enjoy alongside our activities and the views of Wistlandpound Reservoir.
Here’s why we love North Devon, showcasing how an accessible break at Calvert Trust Exmoor could feature so much more…
The obvious place to start, North Devon beaches are known to be some of the best in the UK for families, sunbathers and surfers.
Woolacombe beach regularly sits in Trip Advisor’s list of top 10 UK beaches, Croyde beach is well known to surfers, and Saunton Sands is popular for its long golden stretch of sand. These three beaches are each just a 30 to 40-minute drive from the centre.
There are many more hidden gems along the coastline too. The nearest beach to Calvert Trust Exmoor is at Combe Martin, 10 minutes away, and Lynmouth’s pebbled beach is 20 minutes away with spectacular views.
What makes the beaches in North Devon so popular is the fact that many are fully accessible for wheelchair users. There are ramps to the sand rather than steps, and specialist beach wheelchairs are available to hire: Tips for Hiring a Beach Wheelchair in North Devon.
In 2019, Calvert Trust Exmoor guests enjoyed surfing as an activity for the first time! Thanks to specialist surf instructors from Surf South West and The Wave Project, our disabled guests had fun catching some waves at Croyde.
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor is a National Park that’s shared between North Devon and Somerset. Anyone who spends time here will understand why Exmoor is our namesake, it’s one of the main reasons why we love North Devon and it’s right on our doorstep!
The Exmoor Ponies
Ponies, roaming free, what’s not to love?
The quiet, remote roads
If you love driving through the countryside and don’t mind winding roads, we certainly recommend driving through Exmoor when travelling to and from the centre. And if you’re not afraid to go off the beaten track, there are many quiet spots to take in the views. Find a perfect place to stop, relax and enjoy the moment.
You might even spot the abundance of Exmoor wildlife.
The unique Exmoor locations
If you’d like to visit a specific place, there are a few places to mention. The villages of Lynton and Lynmouth are a focal point of Exmoor, connected by a 130-year-old Cliff Railway – the world’s highest and steepest water-powered railway. Lynmouth, as mentioned, has a stone beach with a dramatic coastline and seaside town feel.
Valley of Rocks
Just outside Lynton is the Valley of Rocks, a dry valley that is a popular tourist destination, with feral goats and stunning views. The main path is easy to walk as it is flat and tarmacked, despite being narrow on the side of the cliff. It can be suitable for people with impaired mobility looking for a walk but is not recommended for wheelchairs due to lack of passing places.
Porlock is a quaint village in Exmoor that is popular with visitors, whilst Porlock Weir is a small but beautiful place by the water’s edge.
Inland, Simonsbath sits high on the moors, ideally located for walks and sightseeing. The tiny village is remote but is only a 15-minute drive from Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Meanwhile, the historic Tarr Steps are found 30 minutes from the centre. The walks around Tarr Steps are beautiful, walking alongside the river through the woods. Sadly the site is not that accommodating for wheelchair users due to its location and natural paths, but a visit would suit those looking for fresh clean air and to lose themselves in nature.
A wide range of attractions and days out
We’ve already spoken about Lynton and Lynmouth, but there are many towns and villages in North Devon to visit.
Barnstaple is the unofficial ‘capital’ of North Devon and is the place to shop popular high-street brands and independent retailers.
The seaside town of Ilfracombe is popular with guests who want to explore rockpools, see striking coastal views, enjoy an ice-cream and pick up some souvenirs. It’s also home of Verity, by Damien Hurst – the second tallest statue in the UK.
Both Barnstaple and Ilfracombe are a 20-minute drive from the centre.
Woolacombe and Croyde, aside from having their beaches, are also quaint little seaside towns. Plus, Saunton Sands is not far from Braunton, home of award-winning fish and chips.
Looking for an accessible day out for all the family? Not a problem in North Devon…
Exmoor Zoo – a small but complete zoo, just down the road from the Calvert Trust Exmoor centre. Home of wolves, cheetahs, African wild dogs, and many varieties of big cats including the famous Exmoor Beast – black leopards!
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park – another family-friendly zoo with the added twist of electronic dinosaurs around the park. There is also an indoor soft play area for younger children. Animals include lions, penguins, and sea lions who take part in a daily show.
Quince Honey Farm – a unique attraction where visitors can discover more about bees, honey, and beekeeping. A visit can include beekeeping experiences, talks and tours, honey tasting, family crafts, activities critter encounters, and indoor play.
Arlington Court – a historic house and gardens, also found around the corner from the Calvert Trust Exmoor centre. Our guests choose to visit Arlington for walks through the grounds and to see the house and carriage museum. Trampers and shuttle buses are available for those who need them.
Please speak to a member of the Calvert Trust Exmoor team about visiting any of the places mentioned here, either over the phone or at reception, and we’ll do our best to provide more advice.
When visiting Calvert Trust Exmoor for an adventure break, there are several opportunities to explore North Devon…
Check-in is from 4pm, giving most of the day to see the views and attractions on the journey to us. Then on your final day, check-out is 10am, which frees up the rest of the day to do as you wish before heading home.
Many of our guests staying for a week-long break choose to take a day away from the centre, in between activities, to see more of North Devon and to have a wonderful day out.
For more information about how an accessible break in North Devon at Calvert Trust Exmoor, call 01598 763221.
Do you love North Devon as much as we do? Leave a comment on our social channels telling us what you love about the area…
Outdoor activities and exercise are something that can benefit everybody. They allow us to immerse ourselves in a natural setting, offering us experiences beyond our usual routine.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe adventure breaks are something that should be encouraged by all, and for all. Opportunities to try new experiences should be seen as a possibility for everyone, no matter their age or ability. We have been fortunate to witness many positive outcomes in the mental wellbeing of people who attend our residential trips, whether that be for a week or a short break.
It is believed that 1 in 4 people in the UK experiences a mental health problem each year, but disabled people report lower wellbeing levels than non-disabled people (according to these statistics).
It’s only natural that people may see dips in their mental wellbeing. So in this article, we will be focusing on the positive effects of outdoor adventures, and how this type of break can improve mental health, regardless of age or disability.
What Happens During an Adventure Break?
It is important to clarify what an adventure break with us involves. Calvert Trust Exmoor, in particular, is an accessible site which provides a variety of activities, for a range of abilities.
Canoeing, abseiling, cycling, horse-riding and archery are just a few of the activities which are accessible to our residence. We have specialist equipment which may not be commonly available elsewhere, allowing residents the opportunity to experience completely new activities.
Our five-star, fully accessible accommodation is tailored to each visitor, ensuring each guest only has to focus on making the most out of the exciting activities available. With all accessibility needs managed, visitors have the freedom to make friends in a safe environment which encourages them to try new experiences. Our dedicated and qualified instructors remain with the same group of residents throughout the week, forming trusted relationships and building self-confidence.
But how does this help improve mental health?
The Connection Between Physical Health and Mental Happiness
As most of us aware, there is a positive relationship between the completion of exercise and the improvement of mental wellbeing. Physical activity merged with the outdoors is especially relevant in terms of de-stressing and feeling calm. Adventure breaks combine physical exertion, a safe outdoor environment and specialised support all in one place.
In 2015, the campaign ‘Learning Away’ completed a review on the impact of an adventure residential for children with disabilities. It was reported many children felt the residential helped to improve their confidence. Around 80% of both Key Stage Two and Secondary school children felt they were more self-assured to attempt new things as a consequence of the adventure break. It is understood this was a result of positive feelings when completing activities which challenged social, leadership and learning skills.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on any number of elements that contribute to mental health issues. Research additionally shows that modest amounts of exercise on occasion also lifts our mental wellbeing – especially when done outdoors. We found a HelpGuide article that goes into this topic further.
The activities at Calvert Trust Exmoor naturally contain an element of physical exercise. When exercise is combined with fresh air, teamwork, friendships and a sense of accomplishment we start to understand how adventure breaks can improve mental health.
Feelings of Liberation When Completing Activities
It seems like a basic concept, but if you complete an exercise or activity, it demonstrates to yourself that you are competent. This feeling of competency is an inspiration to attempt other goals because dictating feelings of self-doubt have been overcome and replaced with the feeling of perseverance.
As a result of accomplishing adventure activities, many feel a sense of independence. This could be because we become open to doing activities and exercises that we may not regularly do. An effect of this is a freshly engaged mind and a fresh test of determination.
New activities encourage our guests, especially children, to practise communication and co-ordination skills, which in turn, reassures them to learn and be proud of what they are completing.
The Role of Sportsmanship and Inclusion During Activities
In many sports, and forms of exercise, sportsmanship plays a vital role. When trying new activities on your own, or as a team, adapting your competitive behaviour is a must.
Team events practised at adventure centres encourage participants to work together. The only way to succeed is to communicate efficiently and support other team members, considering each other’s ability and role in the group.
As a result, we see guests form lasting friendships which take into account one another’s diverse backgrounds and life experiences. This social networking is essential to create a sense of belonging, as well as educating them about social inclusion. Completing activities acts as a valuable reminder of effective socialisation and community building to refer back to.
The feeling of social inclusion is another important element in building up our mental wellbeing and health.
Attending an adventure break is an opportunity for us all to experience something beyond what we are familiar with.
For some, it is an avenue to demonstrate they have other talents and skills beyond everyday life, and sparks inspiration or motivation to do other things. For others, the physical exercise of activities provides a physical and mental boost.
Adventure breaks can improve confidence as they validate the success of new activities in a friendly social group. It also acts as a reassurance that learning something new affects everybody, no matter who you are.
It all adds up to contribute to and improve mental wellbeing. Especially when visits to Calvert Trust Exmoor include everything needed for a wonderful break, removing the worries of taking a holiday.
Read our Guest Stories for real-life examples of how adventure breaks have helped improve general wellbeing
See the full Calvert Experience for all the details on accessible adventure breaks at Calvert Trust Exmoor. You can book a stay today by calling 01598 763221.
Life has been tough for many recently, especially for people with disabilities and their families and carers.
After weeks of lockdown and with the future still uncertain, it’s only natural to be struggling, worried and scared.
The Government is saying we are ‘past the peak’ of the Covid-19 outbreak – so it’s vital that now, more than ever, we all continue to look after ourselves and loved ones to see us through the rest of the pandemic.
With that in mind, we have rounded up some resources that we think will help us all come to terms with the Coronavirus outbreak so far and provide further support in the future.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
Elefriends – an online community to message others for support
MeeToo – a messaging online community for young people
TalkLife – another online community to support mental health
For general advice on looking after your mental health and overall wellbeing, visit the Mind website
TALK WITH SOMEONE OVER THE PHONE
Call 116 123 – the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, no matter what you are going through
GENERAL ADVICE AND RESOURCES
Practical information and emotional support, from Coronavirus to general health, by Scope
The Fragile X Society has tips for staying at home
Advice and Q&A’s for families caring for seriously ill children, by Together for Short Lives
Coping with the pandemic for people with autism and families from the National Autistic Society
Useful resources and support for children and young people with brain injury by The Children’s Trust
Down’s Syndrome Association have a bank of resources for all
The Challenging Behaviours Foundation have their own resources for people with severe learning disabilities
An interactive map for local mutual aid groups
The latest Coronavirus information relating to SEND families with helpful resources
Staying well when social distancing thanks to Royal College of Occupational Therapists
‘How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak’ from Swings & Smiles
Toolkits for play for children with complex needs, making play inclusive with Sense
10 ways to keep your child with complex health needs safe – by Well Child
Disability Challengers have brought together a lot of useful resources for staying at home
Signhealth – The Deaf Health Charity, provides daily updates on Coronavirus with sign language, along with lots of videos containing helpful advice
The NSPCC has a page dedicated to supporting children with SEND
For financial advice specifically for ill or disabled people, start with this page by The Money Advice Service
If you feel we’ve missed something that should be featured here, please email email@example.com with suggestions. Thank you.
We understand that at this difficult time and during the current circumstances, every day is particularly challenging for everyone and not just for our Calvert Exmoor family.
But due to the closing of the centre, we have launched an urgent appeal to ensure that the 12 very special horses and ponies who live at Calvert Trust Exmoor can continue to be looked after on-site, no matter what is going on in the outside world.
Like many other places, we have experienced a drastic fall in income due to Covid-19. We have had to ask our brilliant stables team and instructors to make personal sacrifices to reduce costs, but this still isn’t enough. We need your support to ensure the stables can continue to operate now and in the future.
The horses and ponies need your help!
If you do feel you can make a contribution towards our stables appeal:
Please visit our Just Giving page to quickly and easily donate online…
Or you can call us on 01598 763 221 (if you are unable to get through, please be patient and try again soon)
Or send a cheque, with a note mentioning your donation is for the stables, to:
Calvert Trust Exmoor
With your support, we can keep all the horses and ponies happy and healthy.
We need your help now more than ever to ensure that we can continue to care for these unique animals throughout this crisis and beyond when we look forward to welcoming our guests and visitors back.
From the stables staff and the whole centre – thank you!
It’s 2 silvers for Calvert Trust Exmoor at the Visit Devon Tourism Awards 2019
The centre is celebrating after winning twice at the Visit Devon Tourism awards on 28th November. We were awarded silver in both the Active and Sporting Experience of the Year category and the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award category.
Calvert Trust Exmoor are thrilled to be recognised by the judging panel as key members of the Devon tourism trade. “It’s a big step for accessible tourism when a small centre and charity such as ourselves can win awards like these,” says Mike Gray, CEO of the Trust.
“To be considered one of the leading holiday destinations in Devon, alongside some of the biggest names and attractions in the county, is personally very moving and a positive for disability holidays.”
“We would like to say thank you to Visit Devon for recognising that people with disabilities can and should visit Devon as a holiday destination. Also thank you to all our guests for your continued support, you make what we do so worthwhile,” Mike adds.
“There are so many sporting and activity-based locations around Devon that could have been finalists, so we were very pleased to be finalists,” says Hannah Furber, Sales and Marketing manager.
“But unlike other places, we are also a charity who rely on donations to function. The money we receive goes towards bursary funding for guests and helps us maintain our facilities. If anyone would like to kindly donate to the charity, please call 01598 763221.”
We welcome thousands of disabled guests every year from all over the country. Those with behavioural, learning, sensory and physical disabilities, alongside their families, friends and carers, enjoy time at our fully accessible centre doing a range of exciting outdoor activities. We also runs school residentials for disabled students and their teachers.
Guests enjoy accessible canoeing, bike riding, horse riding, zip-wiring, abseiling, climbing and much more. Their stay includes accommodation, dining and evening entertainment whilst bringing about personal achievements, increasing confidence and growing friendships.
All of this adds up to make us one of the top places for disabled people to visit in Devon and the South West of England. Why not discover the Calvert Experience yourself by booking a break?
The 2020 London Marathon
Philip, Neil, Linda, Jenny, Roy and Liz, are running the 2020 London Marathon on behalf of Calvert Trust Exmoor.
They are each entering the marathon for the first time and have generously decided to sponsor Calvert Trust Exmoor, a charity who provide life-changing opportunities for those with disabilities.
On 13th September the runners met at the Calvert centre to discuss their motivation, training and fundraising plans whilst enjoying drinks and the views of Wistlandpound Reservoir.
Philip, who lives in Croyde, said: “I feel extremely lucky to participate in an event that is on many bucket lists. Doing it for a cause makes it even sweeter. Everyone should have the opportunity to be active. In my mind, physical health is essential for mental health. Helping Calvert fulfil their mission is a blessing.”
Neil, from Barnstaple, said he is “very excited and honoured to have been given the opportunity to support the wonderful work done at Calvert Trust Exmoor.” He will be getting his children involved with fundraising, adding that they will be hosting family cycle rides and walks alongside bingo and quiz nights.
Linda, when asked how she felt when offered a marathon place, expressed that she will be running for her step-dad, who has always supported her. “My stomach did a few turns and my hands were shaking! I couldn’t believe I finally had a London Marathon place. It’s been on my bucket list for years.”
Jenny, who plans to raise money by hosting a ‘new to you’ clothes sale plus raffles and craft shows, has been trying to enter the marathon for 15 years. “I was so happy that finally I had got a place. It had been my one dream to one day run and finally it has come true” she said.
Roy, of Chittlehampton, added that he was quite simply “over the moon” to be running the marathon and raising money for a good cause.
Liz, also from Croyde, said she has had an “excellent working relationship with Calvert Trust Exmoor over many years and I love the excellent support they give to its service users and their families. I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon and am thrilled to be running for such a worthwhile charity.”
We’ll be keeping you up to date with their progress every step of the way!
The 2019 London Marathon
On the 28th April 2019, 6 runners tackled the 26.2 miles on behalf of Calvert Trust Exmoor. Thanks to Jo, Nicholas, Jessica, David, Brandon and Colin for raising over £9000 – which we’re aiming to improve on in 2020.
In the build-up, the group fundraising through bingo sessions, sponsored treadmill runs, musical evenings, cake sales, and they collected money from work colleagues.
On the day itself, everyone had high spirits. Jo was caught on camera giving a wave, showing lots of enthusiasm…
Here’s Jess, holding her much deserved medal after crossing the finishing line…
Plus Jo celebrating with hers after doing everyone proud. She raised over £2000 via a Justgiving page…
Colin, who entered through a Ballot place, decided to fundraise for the charity and trained by running around our reservoir…
And finally, Nick who also raised over £2000…
Jess had the following to say about the experience…
“This is the first time I have got really involved with charity work and supporting Calvert Trust Exmoor has been such an amazing and rewarding experience. The support they have given me with my fundraising has been incredible and I would just like to say thank you to the team for this. I have been invited up to the centre a few times and I can really see where the money that has been raised is needed and how important it is. Running the London Marathon has been one of the best experience I have ever done and the hard work has been worth it for this amazing charity.”
Whilst Jo added…
“It was such a privilege to run the London Marathon for a fantastic local charity, seeing the amazing work they do really inspired me to put my heart and soul into training and fundraising. The support was lovely, they came to all our events and kept us updated with news about the marathon.”
The Big Issue magazine has featured Calvert Trust Exmoor in a summer holiday special. Issue number 1366, dated 8th July, was entitled ‘Let’s Go Outside’.
It featured a piece called Make outdoors great again: The charities empowering us all to go wild – in which we made an appearance.
For this Big Issue mention, we discuss how charities are helping those with disabilities and unfortunate circumstances make the most of the summer and nature.
The piece highlights that “studies show outdoor time lowers blood pressure, improves short-term memory and helps the body fight off illnesses. A King’s College London study even found that hearing birdsong improves mental wellbeing.“
But added that “not everyone can take a stroll through the countryside when they feel like it” and many children do not have access to the outdoors or adventure activities.
This is where we come in…
The Big Issue continues with: “There’s a well-documented lack of provision to help disabled people enjoy the outdoors – but the Calvert Trust is changing that. The charity takes people with physical, behavioural, sensory and learning disabilities on outdoor adventure holidays that help them build self-confidence and gain greater independence.
Hannah, our sales and marketing manager, is quoted as saying: “People with and without disabilities motivate each other to do new things. Some guests struggle to communicate their feelings [but] the emotion, exhilaration and achievement felt during activities are clear. It’s what you can do that counts.”
The text then adds: “At Exmoor (guests) can try horse riding, canoeing, abseiling and climbing using adapted equipment. While getting their adrenalin pumping participants also make new friends, learn new skills and boost their physical and mental wellbeing. “By the time they leave, our guests have created wonderful memories and accomplished far more than they had ever dreamed possible,” Furber adds.”
Finally, The Big Issue quotes one of our guest case studies – a story about Gemma, who has cerebral palsy. Part of which includes:
“Even as a full-time wheelchair user, all the activities were achievable. There was no onlooking for Gemma,” her mum said. “It was a brilliant weekend. Gemma enjoyed every moment of it, whether cheering others on during activities, in the forest learning bushcraft skills and toasting marshmallows over the fire.”
Read the full article, featuring more of the case study and examples of other charities doing wonderful work.
Thanks to The Big Issue for including Calvert Trust Exmoor.