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.
Going on holiday is an exciting time for all! If you are planning to travel with a person who has special needs, you may feel like travelling greater distances can come with challenges. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we feel that holidays for people with disabilities should be made achievable wherever possible. If you are planning a getaway with a family member or a friend who have special needs, we have some tips you can take to ensure a smoother journey!
Have Back-Up Plans and Precautions
As you would expect, planning well in advance and pre-planning any unexpected situations are hugely beneficial when trying to organise travel. Discussing all issues beforehand with all necessary participants is a must as you can decipher any vital problems with travelling and accommodate around them. Therefore, make sure you know what to do in the incident of an emotional breakdown. By having a plan in place, you will spend less time worrying about what could go wrong and more confident in managing emergencies.
One of the most important aspects to consider is how you will cope if a medical emergency occurs. If you require medical attention, how will you do this, and what will be your course of action? It is good to note down any special needs or medical conditions. This may include contacts, care plan and their history.
Secondly, ensuring you have all the required medical documents for travel is vital. It may be that you need individual confirmations of their condition and any equipment while on the move. A Doctor’s letter is top of the list. If travelling abroad, you could try to get hold of the document in the language of the country you are visiting, if necessary. Secondly, a copy of any prescriptions, also in both languages. Any medical insurance documents are essential, alongside the number for the emergency medical helpline.
Before you embark on your adventure, it is essential to think about the condition your passenger may be coping with and how travelling may affect them and in what way. For example, will an alteration in noise and sensation affect your passenger? If so, you need to deliberate how you can ease this change in scenery for the comfort of the traveller.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard
The sunflower lanyard was initially launched at Gatwick Airport and is now endorsed by the majority of railway companies, airports, NHS locations and supermarkets across the UK. The sunflower lanyard is a form of communication for people with disabilities that are not noticeably clear to signal that assistance may be necessary. It is a useful thing to have, and we would recommend its use while travelling, especially on public transport.
Talking to companies you plan to travel with is essential. Each section further in the article will go into further detail on this topic.
Tips for Car Journeys
If you are travelling by vehicle, you may need to look into what modifications you need to include for a disabled traveller. As previously mentioned, preparation is key, especially with any behavioural issues. Ensure you have a simple piece of paper with a list of medicines, contact details for medical support and any other information. Make sure to check out where the accessibility service stations are allocated on your route and ensure all comfort and stress relievers are packed in the car, just in case!
Tips for Travelling by Train
Inform stations if you, or someone with you, are travelling with a disability so they can help you on your arrival. It is also essential to note down any platform changes and where accessible toilets will be located in the station. You should be able to find this out when you inform the company. If you are travelling with a child, show them pictures to familiarise them with what the journey will entail. If possible, avoiding the heaviest hours of traffic should reduce the stress of the journey for all involved! Ensure all comfort blankets and toys have been packed too in case of an upset. If you happen to come across a friendly member of staff who is happy to talk about the journey, this can also help to ease any anxiety.
Tips for Travelling by Plane
Firstly, contacting the airline is a must. You can explain the needs of passenger travelling. Any procedures in the case of an emergency and the equipment necessary to accompany the individual onboard can be confirmed. Obtaining written permission from the correct medical professional is essential and needs to be with the guardian at all times. This should be used to ensure that equipment and medication can be taken on the flight. Before the flight, make sure to explain the small size of toilets, so the person is aware of the circumstances before the experience. Once you are at the airport, heading over to the appropriate airport staff is essential to help a smooth check-in.
Hopefully, we have eased some concerns you may have when trying to plan travel arrangements with an individual with special needs. For more inspiration on where to visit on your next holiday, take a look at our blog on Six of the Top Accessible National Trust Sites in Devon.