It’s common knowledge that keeping active and incorporating regular exercise into our lives helps keep our minds and bodies healthy, but did you know that exercise can also help individuals manage ADHD symptoms too?
Similar to ADHD medication, exercise can increase brain power, energy and reduce confusion.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, our accessible breaks are designed to ensure everyone can enjoy our activities no matter their ability. We offer a range of inclusive holidays for all ages, including breaks to support those with ADHD.
Our variety of exciting outdoor activities aim to support those with ADHD build up their self-confidence, communication and social skills.
What is ADHD?
ADHD, otherwise known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a mental health condition that affects 11% of young children; however, in 75% of cases, ADHD can go on to affect them throughout adulthood, meaning many adults live with ADHD.
Symptoms often consist of fidgety behaviour and an inability to stay focused due to a shorter attention span. Although ADHD is not a learning disorder, its symptoms can often cause difficulty in academic environments and general day-to-day activities.
The Benefits of Outdoor Spaces for ADHD
A growing body of research indicates that children and adults affected by ADHD have increased their ability to focus and reduced their stress and anxiety levels through spending time in green spaces.
Research suggests that time spent in natural environments is restorative to the body and brain. Some studies have shown that those who participated in outdoor activities displayed a decrease in ADHD symptoms.
The reduction in ADHD symptoms is partly due to two types of attention, directed/task driven attention and fascination. Over-exercising of directed and task-driven attention can result in attention fatigue, which can cause an increase in impulsivity and distractibility.
Nature offers a solution to this by balancing out directed attention and fascination, allowing the learner to recover from situational lack of focus.
Is Archery Good for ADHD?
Although there is no cure for ADHD, strategies can reduce the difficulties that may arise from the condition. There is also a great range of methods and approaches that can help with managing ADHD symptoms.
Exercise has proven to be one of the more positive and efficient ways to reduce inattention and hyperactivity. Relaxing forms of exercise can also be beneficial for people with ADHD as they can help relieve stress, support their sense of control, and manage impulsiveness.
Archery is a great sport that can help to benefit:
- Upper body strength
Activities such as archery are often suggested by therapists, doctors, psychologists and counsellors. Archery is not only a fun, accessible activity that can offer immersion, but it is also a skill that can be mastered and followed up on, as opposed to a one-off experience. When practised, archery can increase cognitive function by working the same parts of the brain required in academic environments.
One of the most important components of archery is that it offers an immediate reward. The archer has the opportunity to focus on their activity, which is immediately met with a reward and result. These short bursts of focus provide an accessible starting point for progression, which bodes well for shorter attention spans.
A lot of people who have ADHD also experience anxiety. Archery is a meditative sport that can help soothe anxious thoughts and episodes of depression, helping to improve overall mood. This is all thanks to the nature of archery, which centres around something the participant can control and immediately improve on.
Archery can also help an assortment of conditions, such as:
ADHD Archery Accessories and Equipment
In some cases, ADHD symptoms can make archery a slightly difficult activity to initially get into. However, a great range of equipment is available that can help avoid any initial hesitance so that the participant can quickly reap its many rewards!
In most cases, beginners are introduced to lightweight bows, making it much easier for them to handle. Starting them off with a weighted bow can help support their muscle growth and increase strength – this is useful for new archers of any age.
With regular use, the bow will be able to be held up without issue. As they advance, heavier bows can be used to help build additional strength. It’s worth noting that if an individual’s arm starts to ache, it should be temporarily swapped with a lighter bow.
A symptom of ADHD is difficulty with focusing, which can prove challenging when participating in archery. Archery scopes are a great feature that can help to support someone with ADHD practice their aim.
Scopes are also a great tool to incorporate into archery as they support focus while building on a more positive experience and a person’s understanding of the sport.
If there is difficulty in terms of aim and accuracy, larger targets are a great way to move forward. Large targets can offer a rewarding experience instead of a frustrated one, which can quickly lead to a lack of interest.
Larger targets are easier to hit; each arrow that hits the target will help to build on the participant’s confidence. It’s also worth noting that the design of the target can play an important factor in the archery experience. Too many colours can be distracting for people with ADHD.
Holding bows can become tiresome or challenging for those trying archery for the first time. Bow grips are often a good idea to increase support and ensure beginners get the most out of their archery session. The sling allows for a softer grip, allowing archers to relax rather than tense.
People with ADHD can often find loud or sudden noises distracting. String stops are often incorporated to help avoid loud noises impacting their archery session.
String stops work by preventing the bow from producing a loud noise when the arrow is released and are one of the most effective ways to reduce noise.
What Activities are Good For ADHD?
Sadly, not all sports and activities can work well for people with ADHD. However, there are some (like archery!) that are great for promoting things like health, self-esteem, teamwork skills and reducing ADHD symptoms.
Even a 20-minute walk in the park can help to reduce ADHD symptoms. However, not all individuals are the same, and an activity that might work wonders for one person may not have the same impact on another.
As mentioned above, archery is an excellent medium for any age for practising focus and building on patience and progression, which can quickly result in an increase in confidence and concentration.
Biking and cycling is active and adaptable, and is a great activity to experience with family and friends.
Again, bike rides have been known to support the improvement of focus, fitness, attention and confidence.
Paddling sports such as kayaking and canoeing are easy to learn and great ways to get out into the sunshine.
Not only is paddling excellent for building up strength and fitness, but it can also provide a calming feeling as you glide through the water.
Gardening can be incredibly mediative, making it a wonderful activity for people with ADHD. The activity offers a sense of progressive measure that can easily be observed.
Gardening also offers a sense of purpose, can be easy to access, and can help to burn off excessive energy.
Rock climbing is becoming increasingly popular and has started to present itself as a great way for people who have ADHD to exert their excessive behaviour. Climbing requires a lot of focus and can be just as mentally challenging as it is physically.
Coaches and Instructors
A coach or instructor plays a crucial role in supporting the adventurers to understand, participate and enjoy the activity. In some cases, the coach might not have a good understanding of ADHD, which can negatively impact the experience.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, all our staff are devoted to making a positive difference in people’s lives. We work hard to ensure that all our guest’s needs are met and more! Due to our experience with a variety of conditions and abilities, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide an experience tailored to you.
The Calvert Experience includes a whole range of exciting activities for an assortment of occasions; each break is specifically tailored to meet your needs.
For more information about our accommodation and outdoor activities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Communication is an integral part of how we understand and relate to one another. Everyone talks and behaves in unique ways, with many of us having personal verbal or body language quirks that are part of what make us, us!
The subtleties of these different methods of communicating can make understanding others confusing, especially for autistic people.
Educating yourself on how an autistic person might communicate is one of the most helpful ways to reduce confusion for everyone. It’s important to note that no two autistic people will communicate in the same way; there are, however, some general things to consider.
By having a good general knowledge of autism and communication, you open the door to more effective communication between all, rediscovering the joy of good conversation whether it’s with a family member, friend, work colleague or stranger!
We hope this will prove a useful resource for those endeavouring to improve their understanding of autism and the role of communication.
Understanding Autism and Communication
When considering how to improve the way you communicate, it can be helpful to first appreciate how communication might be more difficult for autistic people.
Historically, wider society has perpetuated assumptions that autistic people struggle with social skills, are shy or unfriendly, or cannot feel or express emotions.
These assumed traits are unfair, untrue and should be dismissed as ignorance.
Instead, an autistic person may be unable to find the right words to start a conversation, they may not understand body language and social cues, and they may deal with emotion internally rather than expressing it outwards.
Some autistic people cannot quickly adapt to conversations or respond to words in the same way neurotypical people might. This is not because they cannot communicate ‘correctly’; they may simply communicate in their own way.
Because the autism spectrum is vastly different for each person, there is always variety in the way autistic people will behave and talk. Autistic people are not deliberately being strange or unsociable but are seeking the best ways to express themselves.
The Benefits of Improving Your Communication Skills
Learning how to best converse with people who may not communicate in a way you’re familiar with can help you appreciate how people experience the world differently.
When improving your communication skills, you’ll also learn how to better express yourself and your own ideas in various ways.
You’ll also, of course, be able to connect with more people, build relationships and help cultivate a more understanding environment, making discussions an enjoyable and productive experience for everyone.
How Do Autistic People Communicate?
As mentioned, there is no one size fits all – autistic people are not a homogeneous group. That being said, many autistic people might use some of the following communication techniques.
- Non-verbal communication – pointing, gesturing, physically moving someone to the thing they need, writing words.
- Sounds and crying – due to not understanding, feeling frustrated or being unable to use the right words.
- Echolalia – the term given to repeating phrases and words they have heard in the past, hoping these phrases ‘fit’ the current situation.
- Picking out keywords or phrases – then focusing on the literal meanings and responding accordingly to those words only.
For an autistic person, focusing on the literal meaning of specific words creates a reply that makes sense to them, but it may seem out of place in the conversation to a neurotypical person.
Analysing words and not tones is why an autistic person might have trouble understanding sarcasm, metaphors, and humorous language.
While talking to someone, an autistic person might also:
- Change topics quickly – it can be difficult for individuals to stay on topic as they deal with incoming stimuli. It may seem like they are avoiding something or are unfocused, yet it is usually the other way around, as the mind moves quickly to deal with each input.
- Make no eye contact – autistic people can talk with you but may struggle to talk to you, often not making eye contact. Again, this is not an unfriendly action.
Eye Contact and Communication for Autistic People
Avoiding eye contact may help an autistic person talk clearly as it takes away all the stimuli that come with looking into someone’s eyes, which can often cause an overload of information. Some people may prefer to speak with their eyes shut, to focus purely on the words of the conversation.
You should never force an autistic person to make eye contact with you during a conversation as, for many individuals, this might cause undue stress and discomfort.
How to Talk to an Autistic Person
By looking at how autistic people may communicate, we can see that their understanding of conversations relies heavily on language and words (or lack of words) and not the use of other people’s facial expressions, body language or subtle infections.
Below, we provide some common tips to use when speaking to an autistic person who may have difficulty communicating.
Speak With Clarity
One of the best things you can do is speak with clear and concise words, saying simple and plain sentences that cannot have more than one meaning.
Be direct and avoid using figures of speech as non-literal language can be confusing. Slang, nuance, or sarcasm can cause confusion and double-meaning.
Avoid Terms of Endearment
Like sarcasm or slang, terms of endearment, including things like ‘honey’, ‘love’ or ‘mate’, can cause confusion and should be avoided.
The speaker may mean nothing by these terms or use them offhandedly, but an autistic person may take them literally or find them uncomfortable.
Address the Individual By Name
Say the person’s name at the beginning of a conversation, question or important statement.
This ensures they are paying attention instead of blocking out background noise. If you don’t know their name, take a moment to ask and find out (which is also just polite and helps make a connection).
Make Gentle Eye Contact If Possible
This encourages non-verbal communication and helps autistic people develop their skills in understanding facial expressions and emotion.
Again, don’t try to force this, as it can make talking even more difficult for some.
Avoid Open-Ended Questions
Something like ‘did you have a good day?’ is an open-ended question that many neurotypical people will answer without hesitation. However, questions with so many possible answers and interpretations can be challenging for autistic people to answer.
Questions that are necessary and require a specific answer are much better. It can also help to offer options or choices to help guide but not control the conversation.
Talk About What They Want to Discuss
This is especially true for children.
Trying to force the conversation in a certain direction is not a successful approach. Instead, talk about what they are doing and let them lead the subject.
Another trait of autism includes obsessive tendencies, which might lead to them talking a lot about one particular thing. Sticking to the topic they want to discuss keeps the conversation going and helps them develop their communication skills.
Avoid Overloading Information
An autistic person can struggle to filter out less important information, which can lead to them being overloaded, meaning they struggle to process new information.
If it seems like they’re being overloaded, or are anxious, begin to slow your pace or halt the conversation. If something must be said, use minimal words and avoid questions. This break allows the individual to catch up and deal with stimuli.
If it seems like a conversation is becoming distressing, it can also be helpful to remove visual communications. While eye contact and movements are usually a good thing, during an overload, they can become unwanted stimulus.
You should also be aware of the surrounding environment – could background noise be causing overload? Are too many people talking at once? Finding a quiet place reduces sensory input and will help avoid overload.
If it’s necessary to wait for a response to a question, then give them time. If someone does not respond straight away, it could be that they need more time to absorb and process the information.
Expect the Unexpected
We know that autistic people may use gestures, sounds and echolalia to process and respond to specific words. Someone may use all or a few of these communication methods.
If an individual does or says something unexpected or changes the subject, do not be alarmed or try to fight it. It’s important to listen and work out what they’re trying to say. Keep being patient, go with the flow of the conversation and allow the individual to communicate in their way.
Try Written or Visual Communication
If verbal communication is less effective, try writing or getting visual. Someone who struggles to talk may be happy to restart the conversation on paper, using written words or pictures.
Sensory or receptive toys may also help some people feel more comfortable when in a situation where they have to talk or get their point across.
How to Communicate With Autistic Adults
Most of the tips above will apply to conversing with autistic people of all ages. However, one of the most important things to do when talking with an autistic adult is to address and converse with them as you would any other adult, and not as a child.
An autistic person may understand every word said but then may have difficulty responding verbally. It is therefore important not to assume the person has limited skills or abilities.
You should also never speak as if the person is not in the room when in a group setting. By modelling appropriate behaviour, you also help show others in the group how they can best communicate with autistic people.
How Do Autistic Children Communicate?
Autistic children may have different mannerisms as they are still developing and learning to react to the world around them.
These may include:
- Using made-up words (known as neologisms) instead of words they don’t know or when they are unsure how to express themselves.
- Using the same words over and over.
- Muddling up words and pronouns, for example, referring to themselves as ‘you’ and other people as ‘I’.
These are often a child’s attempts to make some communication happen, but an adult may not understand. This may lead to tantrums, aggression or self-harming behaviour because they are misunderstood, confused or frightened.
How to Communicate With Autistic Children
Language is often simplified for all children but is especially important for autistic children as they are still learning about metaphors, double meanings and sarcasm.
When speaking to autistic children, you should be very conscious of doing the following to support their communication skills.
- Using short sentences and blunt instructions.
- Using sounds like ‘yuck’ and physical actions.
- Combining verbal communication alongside visual cards or tablets with pictures.
- Speaking with an exaggerated tone of voice to make a point and highlight important words.
- Talking with gaps in sentences for them to fill in and finish.
- Using prompts and questions to encourage responses.
- Speaking with patience and giving time to respond.
- Attempting communication at the right moments when they are not engaged with something else and are calm.
Autism-Friendly Holidays at Calvert Trust Exmoor
As everyone is different, we understand that these points can only be used as a general guide – one of the best ways to improve communication with autistic people is to build a rapport and connection with the individual.
This is something we keep in mind here at Calvert Trust Exmoor when organising our accessible holidays in Devon.
Our breaks are designed to support those with a range of abilities, providing specialised activities and autism-friendly accommodation, facilities and adventures.
When on one of our autism-friendly holidays, our trained instructors will create a tailored experience, guiding guests through a variety of exciting activities. We ensure that guests will have the same instructor throughout their stay, helping autistic guests build a stronger bond with them.
Our accessible breaks cater to both adults and children, ensuring that everyone enjoys the activities and is encouraged to reach their full potential!
To find out more about the autism-friendly Calvert Experience, you can read our guest stories, where you’ll find numerous examples of how various autistic people have enjoyed their time with us.
For more information about booking an autism-friendly holiday, please get in touch.
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.
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!
5 Benefits of Introducing Bushcraft Activities to Disabled Children
Activities that allow children to connect with nature can offer an abundance of learning experiences, opening the door to new skills and ways of looking at the world.
Making these kinds of activities accessible to disabled children is at the heart of what we do at Calvert Trust Exmoor. Our range of disability adventure activities provides exciting experiences for children of all abilities, helping them discover new possibilities.
Bushcraft specifically can be incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons – we talk through some of the most significant ones.
What is Bushcraft?
Bushcraft simply refers to relevant skills and knowledge relating to the outdoors and navigating the natural world.
Our bushcraft activity sessions include things like fire lighting and cooking, campfire storytelling, woodland crafts and shelter building.
Enjoying the outdoors in a safe and supportive environment can provide brilliant opportunities for every individual.
Nature’s Beneficial Impact on Wellbeing
Just taking in the natural world and dedicating time to enjoy it can be incredibly beneficial for people of any age.
It is important to take a step back from the modern, digital world, especially for children who are still developing and changing. Nature has a soothing quality that can help boost mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Spending time in green spaces is vital for all individual’s mental health and wellbeing, so it is vital that we make this accessible to everyone!
Feeding the Spirit of Adventure
Many children with disabilities can have trouble accessing countryside spaces, but we aim to support everyone and cultivate the ‘I can do it’ spirit in all of our guests – we are always interested in showing that there should be no restrictions when it comes to enjoying and learning about nature.
Bushcraft activities help promote a sense of adventure and discovery. These feelings help children find new connections and encourage them to get excited about learning all manner of things.
Toasting marshmallows on an open fire is certainly a delicious adventure that anyone can enjoy!
Providing a New Perspective
Entering the natural world and interacting with it in different ways can be transformative.
Learning new skills in a new space can help children open up as they gain a fresh perspective on the world around them, themselves and others also taking part in the activities.
Bushcraft activities can teach children about science, safety, self-reliance and help inspire a broader understanding of their place in the natural world.
New Sensory Experiences
Doing bushcraft activities deep in nature provides an expansive sensory experience.
With the rustling wind and birds in the trees, there are countless sounds to discover, along with the exciting sights of crackling fires and creepy crawlies.
Children can also engage their senses of smell and taste with campfire snacks after crafting sessions, where they can get to grips with natural materials and the engaging textures of the forest.
Any kind of residential trip that’s full of exciting activities is bound to include a social aspect. There are lots of opportunities for children to make friends as they participate in group activities and explore together.
Working with others is a crucial life skill that can be taught through a range of bushcraft activities as children learn to collaborate and work together.
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.
How to Make the Most of Your Adventure Holiday
Adventure holidays that are packed with activities and fun experiences can feel like a whirlwind. Amidst all the excitement, there are various things you can do to make the most of your break and have the best time possible.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, our activity holidays for disabled people provide lots of opportunities to learn new things and create some wonderful memories! We share our top tips for embracing your time spent on an adventure holiday and making the most of all the new experiences.
Before any kind of holiday or adventure away from home, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for everything to come.
Make sure you think about what you’ll need to pack and how much. You’ll need to consider the best kinds of clothes for adventuring and be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you with both waterproofs and suncream.
It can also help to find out what to expect from the activities you’ll be doing and where you’ll be staying. Knowing what to expect before arriving can reduce any nerves, helping to grow feelings of excitement and anticipation instead!
Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Going on an adventure is all about getting out of your comfort zone and finding new things you didn’t know you could do or enjoy before.
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we offer a wide range of accessible activities that will probably be totally new to you and our other guests. Having some anxiety before trying something like abseiling or canoeing is normal, but overcoming fears can be a great motivating force, helping to boost your overall experience.
Make Friends and Embrace the Social Aspect
Embarking on an adventure holiday where lots of other guests are also taking part in the activities can be an excellent opportunity for making friends and building up some social confidence.
Try to have fun with the others who are trying out the activities – you’re sharing these unique experiences together, and the friends you make and memories you share can end up being one of the most memorable parts of the holiday!
To make the most of this social aspect of an adventure break, check out our blog below:
Enjoy the Local Scenery!
When on holiday, you are also given the opportunity to enjoy the local scenery and escape to locations different from everyday life. Adventure breaks are great for celebrating the outdoors and taking in all that nature has to offer.
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are lucky enough to be situated in a stunning location, surrounded by countryside views on the edge of Exmoor’s National Park – there are plenty of chances to enjoy the local scenery here!
Ultimately, making the most of an activity break comes down to letting yourself be present, having fun and enjoying your adventure!
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.
5 Facts About Exmoor
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by stretches of Exmoor’s stunning landscape. Our accessible site is set amongst beautiful rolling hills, putting you in a prime position to enjoy peaceful views spanning across moorland, water and woods.
As a local charity in Devon, we love to make the most of our surroundings – Exmoor National Park is a renowned area of natural beauty and makes an excellent location for exciting adventure breaks with lots of outdoor activities!
Here, we share some of our favourite Exmoor facts to help you get to know the place a little better.
Exmoor is Home to Unique Plants
Exmoor is teeming with flora and fauna, making it a great place to visit for those that love wildlife and celebrating the natural world. In fact, Exmoor is home to unique plants that don’t grow anywhere else.
These Exmoor-exclusive plants include various species of the whitebeam tree. The National Park is also home to a plethora of various nationally rare plants, including lichens which have only been found on one specific Exmoor tree!
There are Herds of Roaming Ponies
When visiting Exmoor, you’ll see many awe-inspiring sights – if you’re lucky, one of these sights will be a herd of roaming Exmoor ponies!
These native ponies are free to roam the moors, with twenty different herds grazing across various commons. There is nothing more exciting than crossing paths with these lovely creatures during a walk or drive through the moors.
Exmoor Boasts England’s Highest Cliffs
The first thing you think about when considering Exmoor is probably the expansive moorland, but Exmoor is also home to the highest coastline on the British mainland.
The highest cliff named Great Hangman has a spectacular 800ft cliff face looming over the roaring waves below.
As well as having the highest cliffs, Exmoor can also claim one of the most isolated stretches of coastline as the cliff’s extreme heights make the shoreline extremely remote.
Exmoor has Inspired Generations of Writers
Countless writers and poets have been inspired by the stunning views and natural beauty found at Exmoor.
Early Romantic poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are among just some of the most notable examples. The origins of their seminal work ‘Lyrical Ballads’, which transformed 18th century English poetry, has often been attributed to their shared love of Exmoor’s coastal walks.
Calvert Trust Exmoor itself has a connection to Wordsworth too as our name ‘Calvert’ comes from his friend Raisley Calvert, who he dedicated a poem to upon his death.
There are Rumours of a Mysterious Exmoor Beast
With such a rugged and isolated landscape, it comes as no surprise that Exmoor has birthed a couple of mysteries. One of the biggest mysteries to come out of the moors is the popular tale of the supposed ‘Beast of Exmoor’.
Eyewitnesses have described seeing a large, black cat-like creature roaming various locations, with the first sighting being reported in the 1970s.
Since then, there have been numerous alleged sightings of the Beast despite no real concrete evidence that big cats are roaming the wilds of Exmoor!
Exmoor has countless wonders just waiting to be explored! Why not get a taste of what it has to offer by visiting us at Calvert Trust Exmoor? Exmoor is the perfect backdrop for our exciting and inclusive adventure activities.
The rest of North Devon is full of some great sights and attractions too – you can discover more in our blog below!
To find out more about our site and the kinds of activities we offer, you can get in touch by calling 01598 763221 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How an Adventure Break can Help You Set Goals
Embarking on new challenges through disability adventure activities can be a great way to help you set and achieve your goals.
Whether your goals are oriented around overcoming fears or focus on pushing yourself to try something new, getting involved in exciting adventure activities can help anyone reach their full potential.
When surrounded by support and encouragement, new accomplishments can be achieved in no time!
The Benefits of Setting Goals
Setting clear goals is one of the best ways to help you make positive changes in your life. It helps you look to the future and make plans about what you want to improve or overcome.
Thinking about your goals, whether they are long or short term, also gives you an opportunity to reflect on yourself, thinking about your feelings and aspirations. It will prompt you to really think about what you want to do and how you can make it happen.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we’re dedicated to supporting our guests as they work towards their goals on their adventure break. With unique, fully accessible experiences, we are always striving to help everyone achieve their full potential!
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
A goal is something you have to work towards. It will likely be a challenge, but the sense of the achievement you will gain when you reach it will be more than worth it!
When taking part in an adventure activity, you might find yourself leaving your comfort zone a little bit. This can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also a good thing!
It will allow you to work towards any goal, big or small, and prompt you to gain new experiences that you might not have had if you hadn’t pushed yourself slightly.
This point goes hand-in-hand with the idea of getting out of your comfort zone.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when setting goals is the fear that comes with thinking you can’t achieve your goals or when you are too nervous to try.
An adventure break can really help when it comes to building general confidence and showing you you’re capable of much more than you thought possible!
Our friendly team at Calvert Trust will support you when building your confidence as you participate in a range of exciting outdoor activities.
Learning Something New
When you try a new activity, there’s always something to be learnt from it. An adventure break is full of great, new experiences that might help you think about what kind of future goals you want to set or what you want to try next time.
When you do something you’ve never done before, you’ll learn things about yourself and the others around you, giving you a fresh perspective!
If you want to find out more about our adventure breaks and the exciting experiences we offer, please get in touch today. You can speak to one of our team members by calling 01598 763221 or emailing email@example.com.
How to Promote Disability Awareness
Roughly 13.9 million people in the UK are disabled. Overall, it can feel like society has some work to do in providing an inclusive environment for disability.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, supporting equality for all is something at the heart of what we do as providers of holidays for people with disabilities. In this article, we share some ideas on how to spread and encourage disability awareness! Our list is certainly not exhaustive; there are many other things you can do too, but we hope to inspire and motivate those who may not know where to begin.
Promoting disability awareness is essential in improving equal opportunities for disabled people. It creates a more accurate representation of the reality of living with a disability compared to how it is commonly perceived. For many, it is believed that disability itself is the sole reason why someone faces barriers in their life.
However, it is not a disability that hinders a person but a discriminatory environment that doesn’t accommodate diversity.
With more awareness, comes the opportunity for a more accessible and equal world. This would transform the day to day lives of disabled people by improving things that many non-disabled people may take for granted, such as access to buildings.
However, the biggest hurdle would also be overcome; the general assumption that disabled people are unable to do certain things. This can include the belief that a disabled person is unable to:
- Live independently
- Have children
- Be employed
These types of assumptions need to be addressed and changed.
The first step is to learn about it thoroughly. To do this well, you need to understand the impact that a prejudiced society can have on people with disabilities, understand how many people it affects and how you can support changing it. There are many organisations out there to help inform people about this and why it is crucial.
If you are hoping to spread awareness on a large scale, such as through a social media campaign, it is integral to know the facts and present them properly.
Lead By Example
One of the most significant things you can do is to role model the correct behaviour.
If you witness anything that undermines a disabled person, it is important to speak up. Ensure that everyone interacts with respect and genuine support, especially in public situations where others may copy your behaviour.
Another vital thing to do is not act out of pity, but instead strive for equality. Make sure to read up on blogs and newsletters by relevant organisations to ensure you are staying updated with the latest information.
One important thing you can do is donate to charities and organisations that support disability awareness; they will already organise events and campaigns to spread greater awareness. However, extra finance can help to develop their hard work even further.
It may not seem like it, but signing petitions for things that you care about can make a huge difference. If there are petitions that you feel can change the lives of disabled people, whether national or local, you should support the cause that is close to your heart and your beliefs.
Follow Social Media Groups
Social media is a great way to stay up to date with key information that interests you, so make sure to follow those groups and organisations that promote disability awareness! You can share what you learn on your own social media channel if you want to spread the news even further than your phone!
We have only touched on a few ways to promote disability awareness. If you have any further advice, why not share it on our Facebook or Twitter pages? To discover more about acceptable disability terminology, take a look at our blog below!