North Devon is inundated with beautiful beaches and stunning countryside. With so many picturesque locations to choose from, selecting a coastal stroll can be a challenging task!
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing accessible outdoor adventure activities in Devon. Proud of our beautiful surroundings, we have put together advice when hiring a beach wheelchair or carriage for some of the top locations in the area for your next trip!
The North Devon Coast
In recent years, our glorious county has been a part of some incredible projects, including the Countryside Mobility Scheme. This non-profit organisation aims to ensure that the South West countryside is made accessible for all visitors. With their influence and the impact of other dedicated, individual companies, many places in the area now have available beach wheelchairs and carriages, a mixture of both manual and electrical.
How to Locate a Beach Wheelchair or Carriage
Wherever you are on holiday, the first port of call should be the tourist information centre in the location you want to access. Here, you will be able to find out about the accessible opportunities in the area as well as how to hire any available equipment.
Local Accessible Beaches
As we have mentioned, our location in North Devon is fortunate to have a few trampers, wheelchairs and carriages available at local beach locations. Below, we will discuss each location and how you can get hold of one.
About Croyde Bay
Croyde beach is a small surfers paradise situated just up from Saunton Sands. This lovely bay tends to attract surfers from across the country and offers surf lessons for anyone willing to have a go! Calvert Trust Exmoor are currently partnered with the Wave Project and Surf South West to provide one to one surf lessons to our guests in Croyde. If you are curious, why not discover the benefits of surfing for people with a disability in our blog?
Croyde is recognised as having disability access. However, similar to Saunton Sands, the entrance consists of a lot of soft sand which makes wheelchair access harder.
We have provided two of our own beach wheelchairs for the Wave Project and Surf Southwest which contribute to the accessibility of guests and students learning to surf at Croyde beach.
Wheelchairs & Carriages Available – 5
About Saunton Sands
Saunton Sands is a stunning landscape three and a half-miles of warm, golden sands. Not far from the town of Braunton, the beach is home to the beautiful dunes known as the Braunton Burrows which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The beach features accessible amenities including two accessible toilets made available through the RADAR national key scheme. The car park hosts seven disabled car parking spaces. If these spaces fill up, the car park attendants are on hand to ensure another suitable space is found, and access to the beach is supported.
The entrance to the beach consists of very soft sand, which can prove to be challenging for wheelchairs, as well as a slightly steep ramp leading down to the sand.
However, Saunton Sands is home to a few beach wheelchairs and carriages located at the Saunton Sands Beach Shop. They are suitable for both adults and children and the range includes :
• Three Landeez beach wheelchairs
• Two NOMAD all-terrain carriages
How to Hire at Saunton Sands
To hire one of the trampers or carriages, please call the Saunton Sands Beach Shop on (01271) 890771.
During the summer, advanced booking is recommended due to the popularity of Saunton beach, especially when the school holidays begin.
The trampers can be hired for:
• Half a day
• A full day
• Or on a weekly basis
Two of the wheelchairs at Saunton Sands have been provided by the Calvert Trust Exmoor site.
Electric Wheelchairs Available – 1
About Woolacombe Bay
Woolacombe Bay is another dreamy coastal location, and host to a glorious landscape of golden sands. Extremely popular in the summer months, Woolacombe village is inundated with visitors and encompasses a lovely, fun atmosphere.
Accessible toilets are available in the village, and the beach is recognised as having easy disabled access, with a ramp that leads to the beach. However, soft sand can dominate the entrance of the beach when the tides are low. An electric beach wheelchair is available to hire from the Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre.
There are a couple of routes you can follow off the beach too, which go through the atmospheric sand dunes, also known as Woolacombe Warren. Be sure to look out for the rabbits which roam the area!
How to Hire at Woolacombe Bay
Due to the popularity of Woolacombe, booking ahead of time is thoroughly recommended. You can either call 01271 870553 or e-mail email@example.com.
To hire the beach wheelchair, you automatically become a member of the Countryside Mobility, which has an annual fee of £10.00. Alternatively, you can try a £2.50 two week ‘Taster Membership’.
Once a member of Countryside Mobility, you are allowed to use the available trampers at any of the 36 sites in the South West.
A donation of £5 per session is also encouraged.
Electric Wheelchairs Available – 2
About Lundy Island
Situated 12 miles off the Devon coast, taking the trip to Lundy is a main desire of many tourists who come to the North Devon area. The raw and natural landscape of the island is immense and the wildlife is spectacular. Though rare to see, both deer and puffin inhabit the island.
If you are lucky, you might see one of Lundy’s famous seals! They usually like to hang around the rocks near the harbour.
An exciting location to explore, Lundy Island has two electric wheelchairs available for hire. Both travel to the island, and staying overnight, can prove to be quite tricky and for some, it may not be possible. Before booking, both these aspects need to be researched and heavily considered.
How to Hire at Lundy Island
Booking in advance is essential to ensure someone is available to assist once the boat has docked on the island.
The electric wheelchairs are available for day hire. However, you will already need to be a Countryside Mobility member due to the reduced staffing on the island and the requirement of tramper induction for new members.
Hire will cost £20 for a full day and £50 for a week.
National Trust Wheelchairs and Accessibility
Not necessarily beach related, but the National Trust is responsible for many popular walks and attractions in the North Devon area. A few places include:
The National Trust can hire out accessible wheelchairs at specific locations.
For more information on accessible places in Devon, take a look at our blog which selects our favourite National Trust sites in the area.
How to Hire at the National Trust
If you are interested in visiting a National Trust site and require an accessible wheelchair, it is recommended to ring the place to check for wheelchair availability. Contact details for each site are provided on the National Trust website.
Availability will depend on the individual location, and you may need to check if the wheelchairs can be used throughout the year or are seasonal.
Wheelchair hire is usually part of the Countryside Mobility Scheme, which means you will need to be a member.
The National Trust Essential Companion Card
The Essential Companion Card is also worth mentioning in regards to the National Trust. It is for people who require carers and allows one or two companions to join you on the trip for free. They will be free regardless, but it makes the entry process much smoother and quicker.
Hopefully, we have shared with you some useful information about hiring beach wheelchairs and carriages in North Devon so you can make the most of your next beach holiday. When are you next visiting the coast? We would love to know! Tell us on our social media channels.
If you are interested in the accessible activity breaks we have to offer, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is not unusual to feel anxious when you are in an unfamiliar setting and situation. It is an entirely acceptable feeling, no matter what your age or who you are.
It is important to remember, if you do feel these emotions, they do not have to remain with you throughout your adventure break. There are small but helpful things you can do to improve how you perceive your new situation.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing accessible breaks for everyone to enjoy, from school residentials to holidays for people with disabilities. We want to make sure that every one of our guests has the best experience possible, so have created this blog to help you.
Who Can Benefit From This Advice?
We have created these tips for everyone to try if they are ever feeling anxious when they are away from home.
If you are an independent adult on an accessible adventure break, we hope you can refer to this blog to help you if you are feeling unsure.
If you are a carer or a parent with a child of any age, who is about to embark on a residential adventure, we hope we can help you with ideas on how to alleviate their feelings of anxiety.
Accept How You Are Feeling
It is ok to feel a bit on edge when you are away from home, even if you are only down the road! It is a feeling that can primarily occur when your usual daily routines have had to change for the duration of your trip.
Begin by identifying the feelings of unease and accepting them for what they are. It is important to remind yourself that it is completely fine and natural to feel this way when you are away from what you know.
Talk To Someone About How you Feel
Once you have accepted how you currently feel, let someone else know. Whether they are:
• A staff member, such as an instructor
• A family member
• A friend you have gone on the adventure break with
• A teacher
• A carer
You never know, they may feel similar and appreciate that you have confided in them! You can talk about what you love back at home and how they might also like it if they ever come to visit.
It may break the ice for those you do not know so well too.
Remember You Can Call Home
Living in the 21st-century means you are never too far from home! With mobile phones, social media, Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp, staying in touch couldn’t be easier.
If you would like to ring home and talk about things, go for it! There is no shame in letting your nearest and dearest know about how you are doing. They will be able to see the situation from the outside and remind you of all the amazing reasons you wanted to go in the first place.
Talking to your family members will reassure your anxiety that everything back home is ok and you aren’t missing out on anything. Their jolly voices will let you know they are happy and healthy.
Put Things Into Perspective
Once you have accepted and communicated how you feel, it is time to try and gently shift your perspective on the experience.
You feel anxious, and that is completely acceptable. And it is also ok to feel worried but still want to make the most of your opportunity away from home.
Think about the initial reasons why you wanted to come. What activities did you want to try? Were they as you expected them to be? How did it feel to do them? What highlights will you share when you get back home?
Record Your Feelings
Noting down your feelings can be as effective as talking for some people.
You could think about:
• What were the highlights of the day? You could break down the day into morning, afternoon and evening and reflect what you enjoyed the most at each point.
• What challenges did you face today?
• How could the situation be different next time?
Good or bad, it is all acceptable to note down!
Perhaps you will revisit your thoughts in your journal, or perhaps you won’t, it doesn’t matter! Similar to talking, it is just good to get the feelings out in the open so you can move forward and take each day as it comes.
Try to Be Social, Even If You May Not Feel Like It
When you feel uncomfortable, the idea of talking with new people can feel incredibly daunting.
If you are on a trip without company from home, or with people you do not know so well, it is essential to ensure you do not isolate yourself, especially if you are not in the most positive of mind frames.
By socialising, it will feel like a massive achievement in itself and may instantly lift your mood. Many adventure breaks have social areas for guests to interact with. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we have numerous social areas for our guests to relax in including, The Barn bar, the games room and our stunning courtyard for warmer weather.
You never know who you are going to meet, so try your best to keep an open mind even though this is easier said than done. You may make a friend for life, all starting with a simple hello!
Keep Social Goals Attainable
If you are a shy person, keep your social goals small and achievable, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. Try meeting one person, to begin with. Listening is an admirable trait in people, so try this at first and see where you go!
Get Out Your Comfort Zone
When you feel like you miss home, try and reflect back to why you wanted to go on your adventure break and the activities you envisioned yourself trying. Speak to your instructor about your feelings, so they can encourage and reassure you to try all the experiences you thought you would try before you felt anxious on the trip.
Bring Familiar Things With You
Bringing something special to you from home is a popular thing to do.
It could be a much-loved photo, a cuddly toy, some sweet treats or a cushion. Anything that brings you comfort, don’t be afraid to take it with you.
For parent or carers whose children are going on a residential trip away, why not ask your child what they would like to take with them? Take a look at our blog on how to get your child excited for a residential trip for some other handy hints and tips!
Have you ever felt homesick when you were on an adventure break? What helped you? We would love to know! Why not let us know on our social media channels?
Horses are gentle and intelligent creatures which can be sufficiently trained to attend the needs of humans. Renowned for their power and strength, approaching them correctly is essential when establishing a lasting, trusting relationship with a horse. If you are looking forward to your first experience with horse-riding, we have compiled a list of tips to help your first interaction with these beautiful animals and how to approach them.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are home to some precious, friendly horses which bring much enjoyment and fun to our site. Our establishment includes a range of horse-related activities for our guests to try. Whether it is horse riding at one of our indoor or outdoor arenas, carriage-riding, or a session on natural horsemanship, our accessible site is dedicated to providing lessons of the highest standard and expert coaching. If you are looking forward to a residential trip soon, take a look at our blog on the 12 Things to Pack for a Residential Trip for some tips before your trip!
Begin by calming any sense of nervousness you may feel about the new experience. Horses are intelligent and can sense when people feel on edge, which in turn, can make them feel anxious too. If you create a calming air about yourself, the horse should read this and naturally feel at ease also.
Keep in the View of the Horse
As you can imagine, it is not very nice to be approached unexpectedly. Horses especially do not like to be contacted without warning and are not a fan of surprises. It is helpful to note that horses have a small blind spot between their eyes, where their nose is. Ideally, you should aim to approach the horse in the direction of one of its front shoulders. Movements should be smooth and confident to avoid any sense of unease.
Which Side is Best?
You may have heard that horses prefer to be approached by the left shoulder. While this can be true in the sense that they are usually trained with preference to the left side, instigated by humans, the side of the approach is not necessarily important. Of course, each horse is its own individual, and it is essential to listen to the advice and guidance of your horse riding instructor at all times.
Voice Your Presence
Letting the horse know you are coming over is vital, so noises of the feet and voice on approach are thoroughly recommended. Of course, try not to make any unexpected, loud noises and keep tones of the voice pleasant and relaxed! On approach, try to look at the horse’s knees as opposed to directly in the eyes as this can make a horse feel threatened. If you are approaching the horse, not in eyes view, it is especially important to let your presence be known.
Greeting your horse is essential to start forming a trusting relationship. Begin by standing one or two steps in front of the horse and extend your arm slowly. Gently allow the horse to smell the back of your hand. Once they have felt comfortable enough to touch your hand with their nose, this will count as your first interaction, and is called a ‘horseman’s handshake’. It suggests that the horse is ok with you mounting him as you have asked ‘permission’. Make sure to keep all actions slow and gentle, and avoid any quick, forceful movements when directing movements towards the horse’s face and nose. If the horse does not show signs of wanting to smell your hand, that is ok. Just move on to the next tip.
How to Pet
After you and the horse have become more used to one another, you can try and pet them. Ideally, you would like to place one hand on the bottom of their neck. If the horse moves out from your reach, gently try again, so the horse understands that you are not a threat to them. You should always stroke the horse in the same direction as its hair as the opposite direction can cause discomfort. As the horse feels more at ease with your presence, you can work up the neck and stroke its mane too.
Where to Avoid
If you are not entirely comfortable with being around the horse, it is recommended to stay at arm’s length from the horse’s shoulder. This is a general rule when not working directly with the horses.
As an accessible site, Calvert Trust Exmoor is a destination for holidays for people with disabilities, and our activities can be catered to the needs of our guests as necessary. If you are interested in attending one of our sessions and would like to try your hand at our Riding School, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us on 01598 763221 or email email@example.com for more information.
In 2018, over £50 million was raised by the Poppy Appeal. These donations help to care for both current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families. There are a variety of UK charities which have been set up to help former soldiers. The gov.uk website has a vast and useful list of charities in connection to veteran welfare and the service community. In this article, we have chosen a selection of charities which aim to support ex-service personnel who have suffered physical or mental trauma. The charities hold similar values to our own, to have accessibility for all.
Every year, Calvert Trust Exmoor welcomes war veterans for residentials at our five star, all accessible accommodation. For more information, take a look at our accessible holidays in Devon to find out what to expect when you stay with us.
The Royal British Legion- The Battle Back Centre
The Battle Back Centre was created in 2011 by the Royal British Legion. It was implemented to support injured members of the Armed Forces who were hurt while working in Iraq and Afghanistan. It focuses on providing accessible exercise and adventure activities in a safe space for servicemen and women to share and discuss their experiences while growing in confidence. It hopes to help introduce productive avenues for those who attend with their feelings of stress and anxiety. It has more recently developed wellbeing courses for veterans too.
Head to the Royal Legion website for more information or ring:
For serving personnel: 01952 815 670
For veterans: 01952 815681
Combat Stress has worked in supporting former members of the Armed Forces community to deal with the mental effects of their service for an impressive 100 years. It aims to help with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. It offers various specialist treatment and therapies in three different centres across the country. These include Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey and provide both residential and outpatient programmes as well as offering support for substance misuse. Furthermore, Combat Stress has introduced a Peer Support Service, a network created ‘by veterans for veterans’. It aims to provide a secure space for people to discuss their experiences with others who have been through similar situations and is an opportunity for ex-military to socialise comfortably.
A helpline for Combat Stress is available 24 hours a day throughout the year.
For veterans and their families: 0800 138 161
For serving personnel and families: 0800 323 4444
Text service is also available: 07537 404719
The Not Forgotten
The Not Forgotten is a charity which brings ex-service personnel together through social activities and holidays. Help is offered to anyone who has served or is currently serving in :
The Royal Navy
The Royal Marines
The British Army
The Royal Air Force
The Merchant Navy, both Regular and Reserve Forces
The charity aims to inspire confidence through physical tasks, which aim to challenge and inspire feelings of value and self-confidence. The charity also promotes the importance of socialising and creating friendships with fellow ex-service personnel.
To apply, head to the Not Forgotten website and fill in a general information form or print off and send in the post.
This charity has impressively supported for the Armed Forces for over 130 years. They pride themselves on their flexible services which they work hard to adjust and tailor to each individual to ensure help is as effective as possible. Working alongside other military charities, they are dedicated to providing those who seek support are efficiently looked after. These services include both physical and emotional care, including housing, finances, PTSD, addiction and relationship help.
To speak to a Forcesline advisor, telephone lines are available from Monday to Friday, 09:00- 17:30 on 0800 731 4880.
Help for Heros
Help for Heros is a well-known charity which offers support nationwide for those who have suffered an injury and illnesses while serving in the Armed Forces. They offer a recovery programme which has been developed alongside the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre which aims to either create the opportunity for veterans to live independently or for those who can, to successfully return to their military unit. The Stanford Hall Estate has been developed to make this possible and is a vital part of the programme. The H4H Veterans Clinical Advisor has been implemented to aid more advance injuries that require more complex treatment.
For further information about the support Help for Heros provides, please contact 0300 303 9888.
The NHS is not a charity, but it is worth looking into the help offered which is specific to ex-service personnel. They have a series of services which are designed to support the Armed Forces community across England. These include :
NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
TILS was created to help servicemen and women transitioning from their service out of the Armed Forces. The aim is to prevent mental health issues developing further than the early stages by giving support promptly. Other affairs such as finance, employment and housing can also be offered.
NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)
This could be considered as the next stage after TILS if initial treatment has not shown any signs of significant progress and used for more advanced mental health issues. It consists of intensive therapies and occupational and trauma-focused therapies to treat substance misuse and physical health, amongst other areas which need support.
If you are looking for adventure breaks in the Southwest of England, our accessible site is situated in the peaceful and soothing countryside of Exmoor. For more information on our location, take a look at our blog on Six Top Accessible National Trusts Site in Devon.
SPELL has been created by the National Autistic Society as a guideline to help people communicate and understand the needs of people who are on the autistic spectrum. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe in making the world an accessible place for all. As a dedicated site that includes holidays for disabled visitors, we would like to spread awareness of autism to make life feel more accommodating for those who are affected by the disorder. In this article, we explain the SPELL structure and how it can help communications for those who have autism.
What is SPELL
SPELL has been created by integrating the five essential factors which have proven to be the most effective communicators for people with autism. SPELL aims to improve the lives of those with autism by providing surroundings that feel more considerate and approachable through accessible communications. It is a structure that can be applied throughout the autistic spectrum, such as Asperger syndrome.
SPELL is broken down into five letters, to explain the implications. These are:
Positive Approaches and Expectations
Below we will discuss each part more in-depth.
Providing a setting that feels structured, and doubtful of surprises, will help someone with Autism. The reason for this is because many people who have the condition do not react well to a change in routine.
Supplying information in a structured way is made easy with visual aids. These can be simple pictures and words of the daily routine, organised in a list. This can help someone with autism manage the expectations of the day by seeing them beforehand in a clear format. It can also help to reinstate a feeling of independence and control over a situation because expectations have been communicated, subsiding feelings of stress and nervousness.
Therefore, creating a safe and stable environment can significantly improve the overall wellbeing of someone with autism. Over time, when a routine is broken due to unavoidable change, someone with autism may be able to adapt to the changes due to the feelings of care from stability previously provided.
Positive Approaches and Expectations
By ensuring people feel encouraged and motivated to do well, progress can advance considerably for anyone who feels esteemed by positive comments and achievable goals. By creating realistic targets for people with autism, which are based on a thorough evaluation, a person can feel more confident through the recognition and development of the natural aptitudes of their personality.
For someone who has autism, this is incredibly important for them to feel a sense of accomplishment and the desire to further their abilities. The National Autistic Society states that many people who have autism struggle with verbal communication and therefore do not feel compelled to push themselves and progress in this proficiency. As a result of feeling of incompetent, the idea of trying something new is avoided even further. By practising how to overcome these scenarios, the sense of anxiety can be reduced. Eventually, people can acquire the ability to acknowledge new situations and set themselves higher goals that will support their overall wellbeing.
Empathy is a humans best route to understanding. By taking the time to think about how an individual with autism may see the world, it could potentially help you to unlock what may cause them anxiety as well as what may help them to communicate better. Those who are more successful in creating a trusting relationship with someone who has autism communicate in a relaxed, consistent, well humoured, logical and empathetic manner.
Environments should feel relaxed and well systematised to maintain a sense of focus and decrease the chance of distraction. This may include the level of volume in a room, smells, lighting, clear room layout and colour schemes. Any communications should remain clear enough so that they don’t overwhelm an individual. Some people with autism may need an increase of time to digest information, and this needs to be respected in any settings. Sensory rooms are used for those people who require extra support to feel calm. Each individual with autism will vary on this.
By viewing people with Autism and their support network as a unit, anyone who is significantly involved in their life such as parents, carers, siblings, teachers and medical professionals, should look to disperse information as a team to keep communications up. Parents should always be informed of all developments and situations, and are often viewed as partners. By keeping all involved on the same page, relevant information can flow, and any misinterpretations can be lessened.
Hopefully, this article has supported you in the understanding and the potential benefits of the National Autistic Society’s SPELL framework. If you would like more information about Autism, take a look at our article on Understanding Autism. Please take a look at our site for further information on our range of charity holidays for disabled people.