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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Glorious winter views in North Devon to visit

With the assistance of your all terrain mobility scooter, visiting the spectacular views of North Devon can be a great daytime activity this winter (if you wrap up warm!). Whilst many people believe summer is the best time to visit the attractive landscapes of North Devon, winter can boast just as many beautiful views!

Westward ho! winter beach view you can access on your all terrain mobility scooter.

Westward Ho!

Usually packed during the summer seasons, Westward Ho! takes on a beautifully peaceful atmosphere during winter, when only the locals can be occasionally seen walking their dogs or brave people are seen taking a dip in the water. The beach is easily accessible from the ramps by the amusements, with a carpark close-by, so you can venture down to the sands.

The dramatic skies that tower over the stormy waters, on windy days, can make a breath-taking landscape to admire and a perfect place to take a few snapshots. You can head over to the Pier House to enjoy their unspoilt views, with a warm drink in hand.

Appledore

Appledore is a quirky little fishing town, that looks over the opposite fishing town of Instow. Here the estuary of Torridge meets the river Taw, and unspoilt views across the water can be seen from the main high street.

Once you have admired the views across the river, you can make your way over to one of the pubs or cafes along the high street for a drink and a nibble to eat. If you’re feeling particularly cheeky, you can even indulge in an ice-cream from a Hockings van that regularly parks up in Appledore.

Instow

Instow is a little sea-side town full of undeniable charm that appeals to a lot of the locals throughout the year, and we are not surprised! The glorious white sand beach is a perfect place to visit on your all terrain mobility scooter, with ramps and flat level gates to access the beach. The beautiful views over to the quaint sea-side town of Appledore can be particularly spectacular during a sunset.  If you have a dog, who loves to play with other dogs, Instow can be a great beach to let them off; this beach is particularly popular amongst dog walkers as dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, due to it being privately owned.

From the beach, you can see spectacular views of the large foaming breakers in the distance, beside the sandy dunes of Braunton Burrows, as the ocean meets the water from the estuaries.

If you enjoy a bit of bird watching, Instow can be the perfect spot to witness wading birds such as lapwing and the golden plover. Instow has become the wintering area for birds such as these and has therefore been credited as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Ilfracombe harbour

Known as one of North Devon’s best known coastal towns Ilfracombe is a place to visit for a spectacular winter’s day. Head over to the Landmark theatre by the sea, which is a quirky and spectacular view in its own right, to enjoy a show. Or visit the unusually amazing Damien Hirst statue that stands tall against the dramatic backdrop of cliffs and coastline.

The locals of North Devon are lucky to be surrounded by stunning landscapes all year round. These are our favourite landscapes to visit… Do you agree?

Image: Andrew Bennett, available under creative commons.

Fundraiser raises money for Devon charity devoted to people with limited mobility

Plymouth city centre was the venue for a great fundraiser idea earlier this month, as several people on high spec mobility scooters cruised through the centre in an effort to raise funds and awareness for a local charity they rely on for support.

Mobility Scooters, high spec mobility scooters, charity, fundraising, Plymouth, Mobility news,

Seven people on their scooters started at the Access Plymouth base at Mayflower East car park, on 2nd September, at around midday before taking the ‘conga’ through Frankfort Gate and Drake Circus shopping centre.

The fundraiser’s objective was to raise awareness of the much needed support the charity provide for their local users, such as short-term hire of mobility scooters for shopping trips and sponsorship money.

The conga could unfortunately not rely on the weather but despite wet conditions Erica Travies, the Access Plymouth fundraising officer, was pleased with the outcome of the event and a similar ride is being planned for next year.

Commenting on the event, Travies said: “The ride promoted the charity and raised awareness of the needs of people who use mobility scooters.”

“It was a visual demonstration of the type of services we provide.”

The fundraising event was a demonstration of mobility scooter users and their needs which are unfortunately not being completely met in Plymouth city centre.

“Our people spend a lot of money in town and some shops are completely off-limits because of poor accessibility. That’s something we’ll be looking at.”

Plans for next year’s event are well under-way with Travies stating: “Perhaps next year we’ll look at sending everyone out on scooters with a shopping survey to see where they’ve been, what the access was like and any ideas for improvement so businesses realise how valuable we are.”

70-year-old Bruce Abbott, user of the charity, joined them on their fundraising ride. Bruce noted the importance of mobility scooters for people with limited mobility.

“People need to be aware that we have the same rights as them to get around the city and to do our shopping and I think this ride helped draw that to people’s attention, as well as trying to get the sponsorship.”

“When I came to Plymouth 17 years ago, I could walk around but I have been using this service since 2003. I’m at the stage now where I would be isolated without a scooter, whether that’s in town or while I’m at home.”

Mobility scooters are a lifeline for people with limited mobility in ensuring an independent and sociable life.

Image Credit: socialBedia, Flickr. Available under Creative Commons.