There’s a new way to get about Dartington Hall Gardens from today – an all-terrain mobility scooter known as a Tramper is available to hire from the Visitor Centre, thanks to the Friends of Dartington and Devon-based charity Living Options Devon.
The Tramper provides safe, enjoyable and easy access to the Dartington Hall Gardens for anyone who has difficulty walking. The Friends of Dartington are providing the scooter for an initial period of a year in partnership with Devon based charity Living Options Devon. It is the latest addition to Countryside Mobility South West, a scheme to open up the countryside to people with limited mobility which has introduced scooters to more than 30 sites across the region.
Dartington’s Property Director Jo Talling says: ‘We’re very grateful to the Friends of Dartington for their generosity helping us to offer a mobility scooter to our visitors. We really want to make the estate and gardens at Dartington as accessible to as many people as possible but due to slopes and challenging terrain of the site this has proved difficult.’
Jo continued, ‘The scooter we now have based here changes all that and means people who have difficulty walking can explore much more of the gardens when they visit. This is the latest development in improving access for visitors and complements other projects, including the Gardens Bridge by Peter Randall-Page which opened in 2011.’
The Tramper can go up and down slopes, over bumps and tree roots, through shallow puddles, mud and soft ground and are for use by anyone aged 14 or over who has a permanent or temporary condition that affects their ability to walk. With a top speed of four miles an hour they can keep pace with the briskest walking companion.
James Maben from Countryside Mobility explains: ‘Trampers are for everyone who wants to enjoy the countryside but can’t manage much walking. You do not have to be registered as a disabled person, or have a Blue Badge. Many people have found that Trampers have given them back their freedom, enabling them to enjoy time outdoors alone, with their partner or on a family outing.’
To use the Tramper, visitors join as members of Countryside Mobility on arrival, which costs £10.00 a year or £2.50 for 4 weeks.
Friends of Dartington committee member Helen Robertson said: ‘As a wheelchair user it has opened up a whole new avenue – as now I can come back to my most favourite garden’.
For Roger Pink from Dartington, the scooter has been an enormous help: ‘The scooter has made me much more adventurous around Dartington Hall gardens than I would have been. It’s given both me and my wife Mary a new lease of life, as we can go for a walk together again. Joining Countryside Mobility was a very simple process and the scooter was really easy to use’, said Roger, who’s used the scooter 10 times in Devon since joining scheme last June.
Dartington’s visitor centre staff will provide 10 minutes of training on how to use the Tramper, together with maps and guidance on where the Tramper can be used. Visitors will be given a membership card, which enables them to use a Tramper at any partner site without the need for further training.
The scheme will operate on designated routes around the Gardens and will be managed from the Visitor Centre. Find out more or make a booking by calling Dartington Visitor Centre on 01803 847 514 or email them at [email protected].