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!

Adjusting To Life With A Mobility Scooter

If your ability to walk reasonable distances is deteriorating, you might be considering a mobility scooter. Using this aid can help you get your life back. You regain some independence, meaning you can participate in activities that you may not have previously been able to. However, going from no assistance to using a mobility scooter can be daunting. So, to help with this period of change, we have put together some top tips on how to adapt to life with a mobility scooter.

a person using a mobility scooter in a park

Ensure Your Home Is Ready for The New Addition

You may or may not require your mobility scooter when in the comfort of your own home. If you only have limited ability to move while you are at home, this could be an excellent chance to walk short distances, to ensure you keep physically active. However, if you do require support at all times, you need to make sure that your home is suitable for your mobility scooter. Some homes are built with wider doorways and entrances, but if your house wasn’t, you will likely need to get them extended. With this extra space, you will be able to move more freely around the property, without having to worry about hitting or knocking anything over. Furthermore, if your property is slightly raised, you will require a ramp so that you can access your home with ease.

Independence is key! So, when it comes to the bathroom, you want to ensure that you have all the assistance you need. Having the correct facilities will allow you to gain that freedom once again and need no one but yourself. Sturdy grab bars are essential in the bathroom. These can help you move from your scooter and around the room with ease. Slipmats are especially important in the bathroom to avoid any accidents because the floor can, at times, get wet and therefore create a hazard. Additional adjustments would include increasing the height of the toilet and also removing the vanity from underneath the sink. These changes will allow you to use the bathroom more freely.

disabled access bathroom facility

The same suggestions apply for both the kitchen and bedroom. First and foremost, make sure that the items you want regular access to are stored in the lower cupboards and drawers. It is also useful to remove cupboard doors to avoid any restricted access. Although rugs and mats look nice, they can obstruct movement when using a mobility scooter; it is best to remove these to ensure you can move around effortlessly. For further information on how to adapt your home, check out our blog on mobility aids to consider for your home.

Keep Yourself Active

When you are limited with movement, it can be tough to remain active. However, don’t think that because you are restricted to a chair that you can’t do some physical activity! It is essential to try and do a little bit of exercise every day to keep yourself moving. Doing this will help avoid any aches or pains. Staying in one position every day can leave your body feeling still, especially your neck, as you are sat continuously upright. A way to avoid this is to do some chin to neck exercise; a simple movement that can relieve any tension in the neck. Your shoulders too can get uncomfortable from lack of mobility so to loosen them up, do some shoulder rolls. You want to sit upright in your chair, raise your shoulders and slowly roll them in a backwards motion; the goal is to perform a circle. To focus on loosening the lower body, raise one leg at a time and perform small circular motions with your foot. A few circles with each foot can help with any tension in your lower legs. Complete these exercises daily, and you should feel less discomfort. Therefore, enjoying using your scooter more!

a mobility scooter plugged in to charge

You Don’t Need to Worry

Gauging the width and speed of your scooter can be daunting, so here are some tips on how to stay safe. Firstly, ensure the battery is always fully charged; this is to avoid any cut outs while out in public. Secondly, practice makes perfect, so do a few laps around your local area to get used to the sensitivity of the scooter and also the width of it. Learning the size of the scooter can be one of the toughest challenges, so it’s great to get some practice in! To make travelling easier, consider purchasing a high-quality mobility scooter; they can move on multiple terrains effortlessly and are more comfortable.

Here at Essential Mobility, we have a wide variety of mobility scooters that you can either hire or buy. Start your journey to independence and freedom by checking out our range today to find your perfect match!

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

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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.

Hire Mobility Scooters

Mobility Scooter Hire Across The South West

We have been a supplier of mobility products across the South West and Devon for several years. Our scooter product range will enable us to provide you with the ideal mobility product for your needs.
Our rental packages cover short and longer term hire and are at highly competitive rates.

We have a highly experienced team who can advise on the best product for you, and we can deliver to your location whether its Barnstaple, Braunton, North Devon beach towns or further afield in the South West.

Call us today on 01271 859144 and speak to one of our advisers.

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