North Devon Crematorium Donates £10,000 to Calvert Trust Exmoor
A heartfelt thank you to North Devon Crematorium for their donation of £10,000, generated through a national metal recycling scheme.
It was an honour to meet Councillor Helen Walker, Chair of North Devon Crematorium Joint Committee, and Mark Drummond the Crematorium manager for a tour and a cheque presentation.
– Rene and Alison of Calvert Trust Exmoor next to Councillor Helen Walker and Mark Drummond the Crematorium manager
The £10,000 donation was presented to us from the proceeds of the crematorium’s recycling scheme, which enables metals from cremated remains to be safely recycled. The metal recycling scheme is run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and is only carried out with the consent of the bereaved.
Chair of North Devon Crematorium Joint Committee, Councillor Helen Walker, says: “We are delighted to be able to present this year’s donation to the Calvert Trust Exmoor, which enhances the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Like other charities, the Calvert Trust has been hit hard by Covid-19 and we are happy that the metal recycling scheme has enabled us to contribute to their recovery.”
Income Generation and Communications Manager, Hannah Furber says: “The very generous donation from the North Devon Crematorium has gone towards our Birthday Appeal total. Every pound helps provide our guests with a wonderful break, from buying accessible activity equipment, to feeding the horses, to maintaining the centre. Our biggest thanks go to the ICCM Metals Recycling Scheme and the crematorium for their support.”
Calvert Trust Exmoor at Home: Bushcraft Activities
Outdoor activities are globally recognised for their ability to help us build on our social skills and strengthen our capacity to solve day-to-day problems.
Adventure enriches people’s lives and releases endorphins, no matter their ability. However, that’s not to say you need to do extreme adventure sports to reap the rewards of these endorphins. Local activities, even ones enjoyed at home, can be just as rewarding and beneficial as those deep in the wilderness.
What is Bushcraft?
Bushcraft includes an assortment of survival skills. When practised and learnt, bushcraft enables you to survive in the wild and make the most of your surroundings. If this interests you or you know someone who would benefit from taking a hands-on approach to the great outdoors, take a look at our activity holidays for disabled people, which are catered to both children and adults.
As part of the Calvert Experience, we provide a great range of outdoor activities. Among these inclusive activities, we offer bushcraft sessions; bushcraft activities can enrich your outdoor experiences, broaden your horizons and, ultimately, are a lot of fun! Once learnt, you can hone your newly acquired knowledge to embrace new challenges on your next adventures.
Bushcraft is not only useful when trying to navigate tricky situations, but it also helps you to develop your interpersonal skills, form connections and make new friends. So, while learning valuable skills and getting a better understanding of nature, you can also enjoy a sense of community through shared experiences together.
Bushcraft at Calvert Trust Exmoor
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we recognise the difficulty that some people with disabilities may encounter when accessing the countryside and spaces in the natural world. To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, we have developed an accessible woodland area that allows everyone to get involved.
Our range of activities covers a broad spectrum of needs and learning practices that include cognitive skill development and sensory experiences, meaning everyone gains something from our outdoor sessions.
Calvert Trust Exmoor Bushcrafts Include:
- Fire lighting
- Woodland craft
- Cooking over an open fire
- Shelter building
For more information on the importance of bushcraft, take a look at our article on the benefits of introducing bushcraft activities to disabled children.
Bushcraft Ideas and Activities to Try at Home
There’s a great range of bushcraft activities you can enjoy at home, whether you want to experience them with the family or a group of friends.
It should be noted that there are some activities we highly recommend having an experienced instructor around for. That being said, here are some of our favourite bushcraft activities that you could safely do at home!
Foraging is a great way to get out and about with friends and family. It can also be a wheelchair accessible activity.
Essentially, foraging is the act of exploring woodlands, hedgerows and any other natural areas to seek wild foods. Before venturing out, make sure you have access to an array of reliable resources when identifying plants so that you and your group can practice foraging safely.
Foraging allows you to enjoy the great outdoors while still staying local to your home – you’d be surprised by what you can find right on your doorstep!
Even if you don’t come across any edible plants, there is a lot to learn about what kinds of things grow around you and what’s available in each season. With this activity, there are so many opportunities to build stronger connections to the natural world.
There are also plenty of ways to cater this activity to particular locations and those taking part. You could plan a leisurely meander along some country roads and pick blackberries in early autumn, or adventure through some woodland in the spring and harvest wild garlic from a sea of green!
If you live in a city, there’s no need to feel like you’re missing out! There are still plenty of plants to enjoy; even in more urban areas, you can often find Rowen or Hawthorn trees from which you can collect berries to create some delicious homemade jam!
If eating edible plants doesn’t interest you, then that’s fine too! You can always turn a foraging adventure into a game of bingo and identify local flora without picking or touching any plants.
Building shelters is a great group activity that can create relationships and establish a sense of teamwork.
As a team, you can work together to make the most creative den you can, complete with all your essential needs, whether that’s a toilet, lounge or gaming room! There is no need to limit the imagination when it comes to creating a shelter; you can be as serious or silly as you like!
But make sure to keep an eye out for anyone carrying anything too big. It’s always best to ensure that the weight is shared among others and everyone’s aware of their surroundings when walking around with long sticks. It’s also worth noting that it’s not always safe to enter the den, so always try to check its sturdiness before anyone makes themselves at home.
Once you’ve created your wilderness retreat, feel free to sit back and enjoy a picnic or share stories of adventure and survival!
If you can’t get to a woodland area to build your shelter, why not set up camp in your garden? Just use whatever materials you have and get creative!
Tracking is a wonderful way to gain an understanding of the animals that live among us, hidden in the surrounding landscape. Grow your knowledge with your friends and family as you learn all about your neighbours!
Make sure to use all your senses as you listen out for calls and other noises that echo through the air!
You can follow footprints, tufts of fur and feathers, and many other clues that they may have left behind!
A lot of us rely on apps such as Google Maps to get us from one place to another, but when you don’t have any signal, it can be quite stressful working out which way you need to go. Returning to the basics is a great way to activate your mind and create a sense of independence.
There are a range of activities you can use to help you and your group navigate from one area to another. Try starting from using a compass and getting a grasp of the basics so you can progress through to the more challenging methods. You can even add in a few games to mix things up and have fun with the activity.
Navigation is a great tool that can be used throughout every season, with lots of scope to create themed trails such as an easter egg hunt.
To make sure the activity is accessible to everyone, plan out a route that offers a terrain friendly to wheelchair users and considers the group’s abilities.
Story Telling Over a Campfire
Campfires can make for the perfect evening, especially when in good company! Sit under the stars and toast some marshmallows as you share stories and enjoy some delicious hot chocolate.
Campfires can be incredibly educational, as they provide a comforting and exciting environment that allows for a natural learning environment. The science and method behind creating a campfire is not only fun but is also incredibly informative!
If you start to get a bit peckish, break out your favourite campfire recipes and create some delicious concoctions over the fire to share a family-style meal together!
It’s worth noting that there are some hazards involved with campfires, so it’s important to highlight these and make sure everyone understands the importance of keeping a safe distance while still enjoying the activity.
Why are Outdoor Skills Important?
There’s no denying that outdoor skills are important; they will provide you with the essential information you need to know when enjoying the wild, and they are guaranteed to leave you with a strong sense of empowerment and independence.
Outdoor activities, such as bushcraft, allow you to tackle the world in a way that is unavailable in our urban environments. When embarking on this journey, you will be met with new challenges that require creative problem solving, determination and humility.
These environments place you on the journey of self-development, where you will learn the importance of:
- Understanding your role as an environmental citizen
- A positive and realistic attitude.
What are the Benefits of Learning Bushcraft?
Bushcraft increases your awareness of the natural world and your connection to it. It allows participants to establish their respect and understanding of the outdoors while also inviting them to experience a wholesome activity and natural environment.
Bushcraft has been proven to increase personal and social skills while also strengthening existing relationships; other benefits include:
- Character building
- Outdoor appreciation
We hope this article has inspired your inner adventurer! For more information about our bushcraft sessions or any of our other accessible activities, contact a member of our team.
Financial Support Services for People with Disabilities
According the research by Scope, the life of a disabled person will, on average, cost an extra £583 a month when compared to those living without a disability. There are numerous costs that welfare alone can’t cover, leaving individuals and families left short.
However, there is support available for those that need it; once you know what you’re entitled to, there are numerous services designed to help those who are struggling to cover the costs of day-to-day life and save money.
According to the government, those with disabilities and long-term illnesses shouldn’t be charged VAT on essential items and the equipment that they rely on. This includes but is not limited to:
- Emergency alarms
- Specialist beds
- Building work for adjustments for handrails and ramps
- Installation costs, repairs and maintenance
To check what’s included, you can refer to the HMRC guide for more information.
It’s worth noting that it’s always best to check if the discount is available for the item before purchasing it. Also be aware that the discount is removed during purchase instead of reclaiming the VAT back afterwards.
Utility Bill Reduction
If you’re disabled or living with a disabled person, you can claim certain discounts on your utility.
If you have a medical condition that requires the use of a significant amount of water and are on benefits, you could potentially be eligible to pay the area’s average metered bill.
The scheme works by using a fitted water metre and capping your bill to the surrounding area’s average. If you use under the average, then you’ll only need to pay for what you’ve used.
To apply, all you need to do is speak to your water supplier and fill out a form. You will need evidence to support your application; this can include your awards notice of benefits and proof of your medical condition.
Warm Home Discount
To help support vulnerable customers who can’t afford their energy bills, this discount includes a credit of £140 on your energy bill, which will be credited between September and March.
To be eligible, you will need to either have a low income, receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or get means-tested benefits like universal credit. There is a limited amount available each year, so the scheme works on a first-come-first-served basis.
Reduced Council Tax
Council tax is calculated on the size of the property. However, being disabled can often require extra space, such as a large washroom or space to allow access for wheelchairs and specialist equipment. Be sure to ask your local council about the Disabled Band Reduction scheme to see if you could be entitled to a reduced council tax bill.
If you have been diagnosed with SMI and are living alone, you won’t need to pay council tax. However, if you live with another adult, you can gain a 25% discount.
Disabled Student Allowance
If your disability affects your studies, you can apply for DSA. To apply, you need to be in either full or part-time education for at least a year. The allowance is intended to help cover the costs incurred from studying with a disability.
You can apply for DSA when applying for other student finance, such as tuition and maintenance fees. If you’re not applying for other loans, you’ll need to download a DSA1 application form, which can be found on the Student Finance website.
Students that are eligible for the NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance won’t be able to also apply for DSA.
A medical condition or physical disability can exempt you from paying the standard prescription charge; for this, you will need a valid medical exemption certificate.
You can collect a form from your doctor; the application process should take around two weeks. Between applying and receiving your medical exemption certificate, you can apply for a refund on your purchased prescriptions. But be sure to ask for an FP57 refund receipt when paying.
Reduced Rates at Libraries
Some libraries will offer lower rates for bookings and borrowings for disabled people. You will usually find free or cheaper audio-visual material available for disabled people. Sadly, this is not a service that is required, so not all libraries will offer it. Get in touch with your local council to find out what particular discounts are available.
Some local authorities offer a free delivery service for disabled and housebound people, which is worth finding out more about if you are unable to visit your local library.
Reduced Travel Tariffs
Fortunately, there are discount schemes when it comes to travel, which can help make life that little bit easier.
The Blue Badge allows holders to park their car at reduced rates or park in exclusive areas that offer better mobility and accessibility. Blue Badges also offer other benefits, such as parking on double yellow lines if the car isn’t blocking access or creating an obstruction.
Most public car parks will allow Blue Badge holders to park for free during certain periods. However, this will need to be double-checked.
Those with “hidden” disabilities, such as anxiety or dementia, can now get a Blue Badge. However, the eligibility does vary; you can find further information at GOV.UK.
Disabled bus passes are available to apply for through your local council, or you can apply for discounted bus travel.
Those living in London can apply for a Freedom Pass, which allows free travel across the city, including the use of the tube, busses and rail journeys.
Rail & Coach Travel
Disabled railcards provide a lot of savings, which can quickly add up. Annually, they will cost £20, but you will receive a third off of your travel at any time. When travelling with a carer, they will also receive a third off of their fare.
The National Express Disabled Coachcard is priced at a reduced amount of £12.50, but this may also incur an extra P&P charge of £2.50. Like the railcard, the coach card also offers a third off of your travel fare.
To receive the cards, you will need to prove your eligibility; commonly accepted evidence includes proof of receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or are registered as having a hearing or visual impairment.
We hope this article has proven to be a helpful resource. As proud providers of holidays for people with disabilities, supporting those with disabilities and their families is at the heart of what we do.
For more information about The Calvert Experience, please get in touch with our friendly team.
If you’re looking for disabled accommodation in Devon, you might want to consider us here at Calvert Trust Exmoor. We pride ourselves on our ability to offer all-inclusive activity holidays that encompass a broad range of abilities.
Here at Calvert Trust, our accommodation is centred around a lovely courtyard, which is the perfect place for a leisurely meander or simply sitting back and sharing your experiences from a bustling day filled with adventure.
The layout of our accommodation allows for comfortable accessibility so that all your needs can be met. We provide ensuite rooms, interconnecting doors and ceiling hoists; take a look at our accessibility statement to find out more about what services and facilities we can offer you!
Our accommodation has been accredited for being suitable for a range of guests, including:
- Older and less mobile
- Part-time wheelchair users
- Assisted wheelchair users
- Visually impaired guests
- Hearing-impaired guests
We have a wide range of specialist equipment for our visitors, which can be reserved prior to visiting, including:
- Electric and manual hoist
- Shower chairs
- Overbed pole hoist
- Profiling beds available in the same room
- Bed blocks
- Mattress elevators
- Trembler pads/Deaf guards
- Cot sides
Types of Accommodation at Calvert Trust Exmoor
What else can you expect from the accommodation at our centre? Continue reading to take a look at the different types of accommodation we provide, including our disabled holiday accommodation with electric beds.
Twenty-one of our bedrooms are ensuite; these are available as singles, twin and triple rooms. The rooms feature single and electric beds and an ensuite level entry shower room with toilet facilities.
Ground floor rooms open onto the courtyard. Several rooms feature interconnecting doors and h-track hoists; mobile hoists are available for other rooms if required.
We provide a H-frame hoist in:
- Six of the twin bedrooms
- The three-bed bedroom
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we have four apartments comprising a kitchen, lounge area, TV, and either a bathroom or shower room. The apartments can be hired on either a fully or self-catered basis, depending on your preference.
Bray apartment offers a single and twin room, with the added benefit of a pull-down bed. In the apartment, you will also find an accessible kitchen and a wheelchair accessible shower room.
Similar to Bray, Lyn also offers a twin and single room with the added benefit of a pull-down bed. You will also find an accessible kitchen and lounge area, as well as a wheelchair accessible shower room.
Kingsford apartment features two bedrooms; A single bed bedroom and a three-bed bedroom. This apartment also provides a kitchen and lounge area, as well as a bathroom and fire door. Note that this apartment is not wheelchair accessible.
Heddon sleeps seven people and covers both the ground and the first floor. The apartment includes a Stannah stairlift over the stairs.
On the ground floor, there is a single bedroom with a H-frame hoist, a bathroom and a kitchen and lounge area with a pull-down bed.
On the first floor, you will find a four-bed bedroom, a single bed bedroom, and a shower area. Both the bathroom and shower room are wheelchair accessible.
Our Watersmeet Building is a separate entity from the main accommodation. It is located with the Sports Hall, near the indoor riding arena.
In total, Watersmeet can sleep a total of six guests. The building provides two separate bedrooms, one twin bedroom and a four-bed bedroom. Both rooms are on the 1st floor; these are accessed by either the stairs or the available lift. Each room is wheelchair accessible.
Accessible Facilities for Residential Breaks
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we take pride in providing accessible facilities throughout the experience; we aim to make every facility accessible for everyone.
Our specialist facilities are all located on one accessible site. These include:
- Riding stables
- Swimming pool
- The Barn bar
- Games room
- TV Lounge
- Wheelchair charging room
- Sensory room
Calvert Trust Exmoor’s Accessible Activities
Our specialist equipment allows our activities to be accessible to all abilities. We provide hoist facilities in our riding school and on the pontoon for water-based activities. As well as this, we also have specialist climbing supports and adaptive equipment, including our paddle grips and archers bow supports.
Our activity equipment is especially suited to accommodate all abilities. You can spend your mornings and afternoons:
- Cycling around Wistlandpound Reservoir with one of our specially adapted bikes; including handcycles, recumbent bikes, side-by-side tandems and wheelchair front-loaders.
- Horseback riding with the use of our riding school hoist facilities.
- Driving a horse-drawn carriage from your own wheelchair.
- Shooting some archery.
- Whizzing down a zip wire.
- Sailing on the lake.
- Abseiling down our climbing wall with our specially designed equipment that accommodates wheelchairs.
Accessible Holidays for Wheelchair Users at Calvert Trust
Our accommodation is fully accessible for wheelchair users. During your stay at Calvert Trust Exmoor, on request, we can provide you with an ensuite, level-entry wet room facility with grab bars and shower chairs. Throughout the building, we have widened doors and corridors, electric doors and lifts to the upper floors.
In addition to this, we also have a wide range of specialist equipment to make your stay more comfortable and as accessible as possible. Our equipment can be reserved prior to visiting and includes:
- Electric and manual hoists
- Shower chairs
- Overbed pole hoist
- Profiling beds available in the same room
- Bed blocks
- Mattress elevators
Find out more about wheelchair user facilities on site!
Accessible Holidays for People with Autism at Calvert Trust
Calvert Trust’s autism-friendly site is neutrally decorated and surrounds a peaceful courtyard. Our rooms offer ensuites and level-entry wet room facilities.
Our dedicated and specially trained activity instructors will support you through all of your activities and adventures during your stay, enabling them to really get to know each guest and help you to get the most out of your break.
Each activity is based around a structured programme of activities which is set out on the day you arrive.
Find out more about our autism-friendly adventure breaks at Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Accessible Holidays for People with Cerebral Palsy at Calvert Trust
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide fully accessible accommodation for those with Cerebral Palsy, offering ensuite, level-entry wet rooms with grab bars and accessible bathrooms are also available.
Throughout the building, we have ensured that we provide widened doors and corridors with electric doors and lifts to support those with reduced mobility. All rooms have been fitted with Menvicall alarms that are linked to the reception during the day and the duty instructor in the evenings.
In addition to this, we have a wide range of specialist equipment for our visitors that can be reserved prior to arrival; these include:
- Electric manual hoists
- Shower chairs
- Overbed pole hoist
- Profiling beds available in the same rooms
- Bed blocks
- Mattress elevators
- Cot sides
Cerebral Palsy Friendly Activities
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we offer loads of activities that can accommodate people with cerebral palsy. To ensure that all of our activities are inclusive, we have specialist equipment available if required.
Find out more information about our cerebral palsy friendly activities and accommodation at Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, our accessible accommodation also welcomes and accommodates:
- Visually impaired guests
- Guests with brain injuries
- Guests with down syndrome
- Guests who have hearing impairments
- Guests with ADHD
- Guests with spinal cord injuries
- Guests with Arthritis
- Guests with GDD
- Guests with intellectual disabilities
- Guests with ALS/MND
- Guests with dementia
To find out more about the Calvert Experience and the exciting opportunities offered by our accessible holidays, you can get in touch by calling 01598 763221 or emailing us at email@example.com.
Wheelchair-Friendly Trails in North Devon
Devon is blessed with some of the most amazing countrysides in the UK. From rivers and woodlands to seaside walks, there is something for everyone to see and enjoy.
You might imagine climbing over turnstiles and manoeuvring across rocky outcrops when you think of trails in Devon, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many North Devon trails are completely accessible to those with mobility limitations and steps are being taken to try to improve those that aren’t.
Make the most of your accessible holiday in Devon and give one of these stunning trails a visit.
Wistlandpound Reservoir, Exmoor
Not only is Wistlandpound the site for our amazing canoeing activities, but it also offers wheelchair and accessible paths around the reservoir.
With astounding views across the reservoir, this trail promises a beautiful day with plenty of birds and wildlife to see and enjoy.
Image Credit: Philip Halling CC BY-SA 2.0
The Tarka Trail
Named after the famous Otter, Tarka, from Henry Williamson’s novel, this trail is a 180-mile figure of eight that is frequented by walkers and cyclists alike.
A haven for local wildlife, the Tarka Trail offers some of the most beautiful woodland and riverside walks in all of North Devon.
Much of the trail is surfaced for wheels with the only traffic being cyclists. Parking is available along most of the trail but it is worth noting there is no wheelchair access ar either Landcross or Loxdown.
Image Credit: Rod Allday CC BY-SA 2.0
Baggy Point, Croyde
Baggy Point is a headland in North Devon that overlooks one of Devon’s most popular surfing and holiday destinations.
The car park at Baggy Point is owned by the National Trust and offers both disabled parking and a disabled toilet.
The trail itself is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and is level to allow visitors of all abilities to enjoy the sweeping cliffside views.
If you’re interested in finding accessible beaches in North Devon, check out our blog.
Image Credit: Row17 CC BY-SA 2.0
If you’re looking for a short and serene walk, then why not check out the trails at Arlington Court. Built in the 1820s, Arlington Court is a stunning neoclassical style country house now turned museum owned by the National Trust.
Arlington Court has over 20-miles worth of trails to walk and explore across the estate, but perhaps the most popular is the lakeside walk. This 2-mile trail runs through wooded pathways alongside the lake and is tramper friendly. Trampers can even be hired from Arlington Court by contacting their reception team.
Image Credit: Roger A Smith CC BY-SA 2.0
Marine Drive to Putsborough
Woolacombe is an award-winning destination for family holidays and draws in tourists from across the country to enjoy its fantastic views and golden sands. It’s also home to some of the best coastline trails in North Devon, including the Tarka Trail from Morthoe to Ilfracombe.
The level trail from Marina Drive to Putsborough is perfect for both wheelchair and tramper users alike. With stunning views from Baggy Point to Morte Point and all the way out to Lundy Island, this 2-mile trail is a must for anyone staying in North Devon.
As facilities go, there is a car park at either end of this trail with accessible toilets as well. Putsborough has a cafe that’s open from April to October and from Marine Drive, you have access to everything that Woolacombe has to offer.
There is so much of Devon for you to see and explore and we hope this list helps you to make the most of your holiday!
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we offer a range of activities for both children and adults. To find out more about our accessible breaks, get in touch by calling 01598 763221 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to Expect: Canoeing at Calvert Trust Exmoor
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we pride ourselves in offering a vast range of activities for our guests to enjoy that they might not be able to experience elsewhere. Perhaps one of the most popular of these activities is taking to the water in our specialised canoes.
Not only do we hold the British Canoeing Quality Mark, but we also have exclusive use of the surface of Wistlandpound Reservoir, a beautiful haven just on the edge of Exmoor National Park.
If you’re looking for specialised holidays for people with disabilities, please get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you make some memories.
Accessible Canoeing at Calvert Trust
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as being out on the water, and thanks to our specialist equipment, it’s an experience that everyone can enjoy.
With our selection of hoists and an innovative accessible pontoon that provides easy access for wheelchair users, we’re able to adapt every canoeing experience to the individual. We also have a designated boathouse at the edge of the water where we provide all relevant safety equipment, including buoyancy aids.
In order to make sure everyone is as comfortable as can be, your instructor will get to know everyone in their group and their specific needs. We ensure that everyone has the room they need whether it’s a space, a seat on the wooden beams or perhaps a beanbag depending on the individual’s needs.
Our guests have also been big fans of the endless hot chocolate we provide while out on the water!
Why Choose Canoeing at Calvert Trust
All of the activities we offer come with their own range of benefits, and canoeing is no exception.
Not only does the peace and quiet of the reservoir offer our guests a brilliant opportunity to relax, but canoeing is also a fantastic sensory experience for individuals of all ages and abilities. It can also be an exhilarating and exciting experience where our guests are also able to improve their motor skills and even learn and develop technical skills.
We try and encourage everyone to have a go at paddling to really get their heart racing! If there’s more than one canoe, then groups are also able to race, play games and play catch with balls across the water.
Tips For First Time Canoers
Here are some tips for first-time canoers:
- Go with the flow – It’s not a race. Go at a pace you feel comfortable with and really take in the natural wonder of Wistlandpound all around you.
- You’re in good hands – Our canoes are not your typical individual canoe. They are specifically designed and adapted by fixing two canoes together with metal bars so it’s impossible to capsize them. The instructor will be there the entire time to ensure everyone is safe and having fun.
- It’s okay to be nervous – Taking on a new challenge is always a little scary and that’s okay! Just know that we are there to support you and make sure you enjoy yourself!
If you’re interested in booking an accessible holiday, or you want to know more about the activities we have to offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
A new jetty on Wistlandpound Reservoir
The jetty on Wistlandpound Reservoir, which we use to launch our canoeing and sailing activities, has had an upgrade.
As our guests will know, Calvert Trust Exmoor is situated beside the 40-acre Wistlandpound Reservoir, over which we have exclusive rights for activities. The jetty provides easy access to the boats, with a hoist to lift guests in and out if needed.
In preparation for reopening again this summer, one essential job was to replace the jetty. Our previous jetty has been in service for many years and has had numerous repairs.
Last winter, however, the extreme weather took its toll, and it was beyond repair and had to be replaced. So it was out with the old and in with a new.
The work was made possible thanks to two foundations that provided the funding for the project: The Hedley Foundation and the Boshier-Hinton Foundation. A big thank you to them both for supporting Calvert Trust Exmoor.
An additional thank you goes out to CES Engineering Services for building and installing the jetty.
We do sailing during the summer and canoeing throughout the year, all included in our accessible breaks. These are just two of the wonderful activities we offer alongside accommodation and meals. For more information, explore our website or call 01598 763221.
5 Free Apps to Help Cope with Anxiety
Feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed are not uncommon and should not go unaddressed. Many of us experience anxiety and stress, especially during times of uncertainty and change – how can we manage these feelings and develop a more healthy mindset?
As a Devon charity and trust, here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we understand how important it is to address mental health struggles and support each other. This is why we have collated some great apps and free resources to help you cope with anxiety and learn some skills to rest and relax the mind even when that feels like an uphill battle.
If you are experiencing more severe issues, please consult a mental healthcare professional.
For more advice, you can also refer to our blog on places you can turn to when you need support:
Developed as a joint project from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester, this app is a simple mood diary, allowing you to record your changing moods and feelings.
By tracking how your feelings shift, the app aims to teach you how to manage anxiety and stress, illustrating new ways to view problems and develop positive ways of coping.
Through questions and guidance, Catch It supports you as you make sense of your moods – users have described how useful this can often be when trying to feel calmer.
This free app hosts a library of guided meditations designed to help users relax and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
The guided sessions are led by world-renowned mindfulness experts and psychologists. You will also have access to thousands of music tracks and ambient soundscapes to help you fall asleep or quiet your mind.
There are more than 1,500 meditations tailored specifically to dealing with anxiety.
Stress & Anxiety Companion
This one is great for individuals with mild to moderate anxiety and stress levels.
With techniques built around cognitive behavioural therapy, the app uses an array of breathing exercises, mindfulness games and relaxing music designed to help you set positive goals and routines and manage problematic thinking.
The Stress & Anxiety Companion is all about helping you identify why you’re feeling anxious or stressed and learning how to manage these negative thoughts.
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
This engaging and practical app is a helpful resource for those that want to confront their anxiety and really learn how to manage it.
SAM helps you understand the causes behind your anxiety and gives you tools to monitor changing moods, thoughts and behaviours.
Through the various available self-help exercises and reflections, you can learn how to develop healthy thought patterns and actions.
This free app is designed to help users cope with depression, anxiety, stress and more.
With a range of cognitive behaviour therapy and acceptance commitment therapy methods, the app provides actionable advice on overcoming negative thinking patterns, helps you put your feelings into perspective and gives tips on staying grounded during times of stress.
You can also use the diary to record thoughts and learn how to keep calm with effective breathing exercises.
Again, it should be noted that these apps should not be considered a replacement for professional help – but they can be great aids for boosting general mental health and wellbeing!
Taking to nature and enjoying activities outdoors can also work wonders for mental wellbeing and self-confidence. To find out more about how adventure breaks could help improve mental health, take a look at our blog below:
For more information about the Calvert Experience and the disability activities we offer, please get in touch.
Our Favourite Residential Activities
Residential trips provide an exciting escape from everyday life. The disability adventure activities available on these kinds of breaks are not only great fun but also offer new experiences that push budding adventurers out of their comfort zones.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are passionate about the fact that everyone should be able to enjoy a range of activities, no matter their abilities. We host a variety of instructor-led activities, both indoor and outdoor, for children and adults to enjoy.
Whether you’re visiting for a day or staying with us for an adventure-packed week, you’ll get the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of activities that help encourage that ‘I CAN do it’ attitude that we are always championing.
Read about some of our favourite residential activities to discover what’s possible!
Adventure Activities for Disabled People
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide adaptive equipment for all of our activities to support those with physical, sensory and learning disabilities to become fully immersed in each activity – whether it’s cycling or bushcraft, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into!
Our team of qualified instructors will tailor activities to individuals, ensuring that everyone can be included and supported.
The activities offered at the Calvert Experience include:
- Challenge Course
- Crate Stack
- Giant Swing
- Horse and Carriage Riding
As you can see, there’s a lot to experience – but what are some of the best activities to take part in?
This, of course, will largely come down to personal preference and what each guest enjoys. However, how enjoyable an activity is can also be based on embracing a challenge, overcoming fears and learning something new – all of which are things our activities encourage.
Abseiling at Calvert Trust Exmoor
Abseiling is a brilliant activity for those who want to challenge themselves and try something they’ve never done before.
We know that many of our guests have never tried abseiling before and understand that it can be a daunting prospect. However, this is what makes it such a great activity to experience on a trip away!
Abseiling on our all-weather wall provides a brilliant opportunity for guests to build up their confidence and facilitate a sense of achievement, as well as helping work on coordination and motor skills.
The wall and activity is fully accessible; regardless of ability and mobility level, everyone will be able to have a go.
Climbing at Calvert Trust Exmoor
Similarly, climbing is an activity that encourages guests to push themselves and enjoy something completely outside of normal, everyday activities.
When taking part in climbing activities, all of our guests are completely supported – wheelchair users and those with limited mobility can be hoisted up the wall via a harness system.
Guests with limited movement can also make their way up the wall with the support of their friends, family and group members who can help hoist them up and down – all of this offers a great opportunity to build feelings of team spirit and encouragement.
Take a look at our blog post on climbing at Calvert Trust to find out what else you can expect:
The Giant Swing at Calvert Trust Exmoor
We love this activity because it’s so much fun! Having a go on the giant swing involves being hoisted into the air and dropped in a swing, allowing individuals to plunge and soar through the air – an all-around exhilarating experience.
Being ‘dropped’ like this may sound a little alarming, but everyone will be entirely safe and secured into the adaptive harnesses.
Guests who have a go on the swing can choose how far up they are hoisted before making the drop, giving those who are more nervous a chance to experience the thrill without being taken to heights that are too uncomfortable.
The Zip Wire at Calvert Trust Exmoor
Like the giant swing, the zip wire will have you whizzing through the air – another great activity for those that love a bit of a thrill!
Again, our adaptive harnesses are designed to support everyone who wants to have a go at speeding down the zip wire.
Those that want to really make the most of the experience can have a couple of goes zipping along the wire, depending on how many people are in each group.
Canoeing at Calvert Trust Exmoor
For those who like fantastic views and a bit of peace and quiet, there’s no better activity than canoeing at Calvert Trust.
As well as specialist equipment to allow everyone to get out on the water, we also have exclusive use of the surface of Wistlandpound Reservoir. This gives us a safe and controlled environment where our guests get the most out o this experience.
Canoeing with us is a great opportunity for a unique sensory experience that also helps to improve motor skills and learn and develop technical skills.
Horse and Carriage Riding at Calvert Trust Exmoor
A trip to the countryside isn’t complete without a chance to admire the local scenery and all the animals that come with it – in this case, we of course mean our horses!
We know that most people don’t often have the opportunity to interact with horses, which is what makes this activity so special.
Guests are able to meet the different horses and ponies and learn about everything that goes into caring for them. They can also ride the horses or take a drive in the horse-drawn carriage, building up their confidence around these lovely animals.
Please note that the horse and carriage rides only take place during midweek breaks, and are not available for weekend guests.
Whether you want to huddle around the fire and toast marshmallows or head right into the action on the giant swing or abseiling wall, we’ve got something for everything to enjoy. As you can see, some of our favourite residential activities are all about embracing the short time away from everyday life and making the most of the adventure!
If you are interested in finding out more about the Calvert Experience and all the activities we offer, please get in touch.
Accessible Beaches in North Devon
North Devon has some fantastic beaches that make great must-visit spots all year round. With plenty of ice cream, a refreshing sea breeze and the sun shining down (if you’re lucky), there’s nothing quite like a relaxing meander along the Devon coastline!
Everyone, no matter their abilities, should be able to enjoy the seaside views and coastal activities that North Devon has in abundance. If you’re embarking on an accessible holiday in Devon, why not check out some of the lovely spots that we mention below?
The beach and coastal town of Westward Ho! are famed for being the only place in the UK to have an exclamation point in its name. The name comes from the book by Charles Kingsley, a popular novel from the 19th century that inspired a new wave of tourism to Bideford and the surrounding areas.
Equally as iconic as the name is the pebble ridge – the stretch of pebbles at the top of the beach that acts as a sea natural defence. This ridge makes an impressive visual spectacle but can be challenging to clamber over. For easier access down to the sandy beach below, there is a gentle slipway, giving wheelchair users and those with reduced mobility a more accessible way down.
Dogs are very welcome on the beach, but there may be some restrictions as to which areas you can take your dog during the summer months, so make sure to check the signs on arrival.
There are plenty of beachside cafes and eateries, perfect for when you need a bit of refreshment after you’ve admired the waves and sands. You will also find access to accessible toilets.
The scenery at the Saunton beaches is incredibly diverse, with vast stretches of soft sands, impressive dunes and a collection of rock pools to enjoy. The beach is popular with families, surfers and pretty much anyone who likes to spend their days making the most of the natural world around us!
There is a range of shops, food outlets and toilet facilities with accessibility before you get down to the beach via a concrete ramp. Getting from the ramp onto the beach can be more difficult as there is a small lip that leads onto very soft sand.
To make getting to the beach more accessible, the Saunton Beach shop has three Landeez beach wheelchairs and two NOMAD all-terrain wheelchair carriages available to hire on a half-day, daily or weekly basis.
Saunton is dog-friendly and only asks that you keep dogs on their lead in more heavily crowded areas like around the slipway.
The coastal town of Ilfracombe is full of unique charm, with Tunnels Beaches being one of the main attractions – aside from the 66-foot harbour-side statue of a pregnant woman designed by Damien Hurst!
Because of its stunning seas, gorgeous views and rich history, the beach here is also a popular location for weddings. It is a privately owned and maintained beach, meaning there is a small fee to enter.
Despite the dramatic views, the landscape isn’t too difficult to navigate as the tunnels after which the beach is named are either paved or concrete, and a gentle slope takes you down to the main beach.
Dogs can accompany you in the tunnels but must be kept off the beach. There are accessible toilets near the site.
Another one of North Devon’s quaint seaside towns, Woolacombe is home to three miles of glorious golden sands and lively waves. The spot that lies between Morte Point and Baggy Point is a favourite amongst families and surfers.
The beach holds many awards and is renowned for its natural beauty, cleanliness and great facilities. The beach itself is accessed by two short slopes – you can also hire an all-terrain mobility scooter or beach wheelchair from the Tourist Information Centre.
Dogs are allowed on the beach at certain times of the year and may be restricted as to where they can go. South of Mill Rock is free of restriction for your four-legged friends all year round.
Local amenities include a range of beachside cafes, pubs and shops. There are also accessible toilets available.
Just a little way off Woolacombe, you will find the scenic Croyde Bay. Set between two headlands and framed by the lush green hills of the Devon countryside, Croyde is the perfect spot to soak up spectacular views and fresh sea air.
The shore boasts fine, golden sands backed by rolling dunes. It is another popular spot for surfers and swimmers, with lots of surf schools perfect for beginners – Croyde is rated among the best surfing beaches in the world.
The easiest access to the beach can be found at the north end, where there is a short sloping path suitable for wheelchairs.
Hiring Beach Wheelchairs in North Devon
Even if there are ramps and slopes offering an easy way to get down to a beach, navigating the uneven terrain and softer sands can still present challenges if you’re using a mobility aid – this is where beach wheelchair hire comes in!
Thanks to the Countryside Mobility Scheme, many beaches and other more rural locations around North Devon are equipped to provide wheelchair hire, allowing everyone to access and admire Devon’s beautiful countryside.
To find out more about how to hire manual or electric beach wheelchairs or carriages, check out our blog below:
Many beaches will have official websites for tourists and visitors outlining their local amenities and giving more details about what to expect upon your visit. Before making your way to the beach, it can often be a good idea to get in touch with the relevant tourist information centre.
Have you been to any of these wonderful beach locations yet? Tell us about your experience on our Facebook page, or let us know if we missed your favourite spot!