6 of the Best Wheelchair-friendly Routes in North Devon

North Devon is home to exceptionally beautiful landscapes; the luscious countryside effortlessly rolls into golden sanded beaches. It’s this that makes it such a fantastic place to either live or visit. Whether you’ve been here for years or this is your first trip, we compiled some of our favourite scenic routes in the area, which are each accessible while using an all-terrain mobility scooter.

Wistlandpound Reservoir

Wistlandpound Reservoir, near Exmoor National Park.

Image credit: Christopher TD

Before reaching Exmoor National Park, and located close to Blackmore Gate, is Wistlandpound Reservoir. It was built in 1956 to hold the drinking water for the nearby village of Combe Martin and towns of Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. There are two main routes around the reservoir, although the lower is more suitable for those using a wheelchair or a scooter. It is a beautiful spot, which offers tranquillity and immersion in nature. Towering spruce trees surround the reflecting waters, and the wildlife flourishes.

Tarka Trail

Covering more than 160 miles, the Tarka Trail has plenty of accessible highlights for visitors to enjoy! We’d recommend starting in the surfer-village of Braunton and then heading along the trail toward Barnstaple. This route allows you to enjoy stunning views of the River Taw, and there are some perfectly placed eateries along the way should you want a refreshment. There are regular buses which run between Braunton and Barnstaple should you just want to go one way, and there is also plenty of parting in both.

The path along this part of the Tarka Trail is tarmacked and relatively flat all of the way.

Heddon’s Mouth

Weave through the ancient woodland, admire the steep valley and breathe in the fresh seaside air. Heddon’s Mouth is a joy to explore, no matter the season. During the summer, it presents a welcome shade and cooler air by the river. While in the autumn and into winter, the leaves turn to burnt oranges and browns, all while the wildlife begins to prepare for the cold spell ahead. It is a route that really has it all; towering cliffs, a beautiful beach, a river and the wonderful woodland.

Following a dry spell, the terrain is relatively risk-free for all-terrain mobility scooters. For most of the route, it is either dirt or stone pathways, and the incline does vary throughout the walk.

Baggy Point

Overlooking Croyde, a popular surfing beach, is Baggy Point. For a walk that boasts fantastic views of the dramatic headland, powerful crashing waves and the open ocean, this is the one for you! Park in the National Trust Car Park Baggy Point and follow the signposts to the viewpoint. You won’t regret it!

The path has been levelled and compacted, which has improved access to wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

Rosemore Gardens

Roses at Rosemore Gardens, near Torrington.

Rosemore Gardens will ignite all of your senses, with the aromatic scents, vibrant colours, and varying textures. There’s a lot to be admired during a visit, and you could spend as little as a couple of hours to as much as a whole day here! The highlights vary from fruit and veg to the more exotic. The gardens include cherry, Mediterranean, stone, exotic, woodland, wild and more. Enjoy a pleasant walk around the grounds while appreciating the diverse plant-life surrounding you.

Most of the gardens are accessible with flat paths being either stone or tarmac. The gardens with limited access include Lady Anne’s, while the lake and woodland walks are also currently unsuitable.

Arlington Court

Arlington Court provides an idyllic day out, the setting is beautiful, and many of the highlights are accessible. Visitors can explore the house, carriage museum, walled gardens and some of the grounds. Either spend your time wandering around the beautiful grounds or enjoy the popular Lake Walk. For those keen to discover the history behind the house and those who previously lived there, the discoveries awaiting inside are fascinating with the Chichester family being of huge influence across Devon during the family’s residency.

Around the gardens, there are gravelled paths. The terrain along the Lake Walk varies; parts are a mud track whereas others are gravelled, all-terrain wheelchair or mobility scooters will be required.

Do you and your family have any favourite routes in North Devon? We would love to hear about them and try them too! Share them with us via our social media channels – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Accessible Tarka Trail Highlights

Last Bridge To Bideford

CC by Andrew (Last Bridge To Bideford)

The Tarka Trail is a beautiful walking and cycling route spanning North and West Devon, as well as Torridge. The trail is one of the most extensive dedicated walking and cycling paths in the country and has an array of highlights along the route. This blog will explore some of those attractions that are wheelchair-accessible, and will hopefully encourage you to visit some of them for yourself.

Most people think of the Tarka Trail as only consisting of the 30-mile stretch between Braunton and Meeth. However, the full Tarka Trail is actually a figure of eight around Devon, reaching from Bideford to Exmoor, and from Exmoor to the tip of Dartmoor. In total, the trail is over 160 miles in length, with many attractions along the way. This blog will include the extended 160-mile trail’s attractions.

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The issues of loneliness amongst the elderly and what a Channel 4 documentary is doing to help

One of the biggest issues facing the older generation in the 21st century is social isolation, particularly when they reside in a care home. Recent research suggests that over half of people over the age of 75 live alone, while two fifths of older people would say that the television is their main source of company.

Spending time together can help to combat loneliness

Continue reading “The issues of loneliness amongst the elderly and what a Channel 4 documentary is doing to help” »

Wheelchair innovation allows wheelchair users to enjoy the sea

Advances in technology have allowed people to explore new, and previously difficult, places with the use of all terrain mobility scooters. We previously reported about how these nifty chairs allowed a disabled mountaineer to rediscover his love for the countryside. All terrain mobility scooters are perfect for off-road adventures, which allow people to make the most of the great outdoors and enjoy visits to the beach, with easy steering, turning circles and all terrain wheels which make for easy driving.

Beach, All terrain mobility scooters, Wheelchairs, Innovation

Standard wheelchairs are also starting to see innovative advances to make more places accessible for disabled people.

Sandbanks, in Poole, have been testing out floating wheelchairs that allow wheelchair users to have a more interactive experience with the beach.

Sandbanks have acquired floating beach wheelchairs that are made up of aluminium and stainless steel frames, secure harnesses and buoyancy aids. The innovative wheelchair allows wheelchair users to go into the sea, as the chair acts as a support for floating or swimming from, with the use of the secure harness and buoyancy aids.

The Borough of Poole beach team leader, Tracey Moore, said: “They have been a huge success, and very well received by both local people and visitors to the beaches of Poole…. We have received a lot of interest in the Floating Wheelchairs and it has been lovely to see people, who have unfortunately been unable to go into the sea previously, enjoy the experience.”

This ‘Life’s a Beach’ project was funded by Tesco and Groundwork’s Initiative ‘Bags of Help’, where they were awarded £10,000 due to the token scheme vote by Tesco shoppers.

The success of this project could be the start of wheelchair users being able to enjoy a dip in the sea around the UK, including Devon, if the project is picked up. Meanwhile, a brilliant range of all terrain mobility scooters gives you the freedom to travel to explore a variety of places, including our beautiful Devon beaches.