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Enabling easy access to the South West's beauty spots

South West's beauty spots now open to all

Date Posted: 18 August 2011

Devon wide charity Living Options Devon is celebrating the success of its ‘Countryside Mobility’ scheme this week one year after the scheme first launched.

The scheme which began last summer is working to make access to the countryside easier for people with limited mobility living in and visiting the South West, helping make the region a truly ‘accessible’ visitor destination.

Based on the principle of urban Shopmobility schemes, ‘Tramper’ all-terrain mobility scooters and wheelchair accessible ‘Wheelyboats’ are now available for hire at over 20 countryside locations across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset with more to follow next year.

Claire Hariades recently took her father, Ronald, to visit the ‘Tamar Trails’ in Devon and said: “I didn’t expect my father to do be able to do much more than sit in a chair while he was staying with us for a short break recently. He has suffered with severe back problems for the past 2 years and walks with very great difficulty.  He had to give up driving several years ago and really misses this independence. Most of his days he now spends confined to the house. He enjoyed a very happy afternoon on the tracks exploring the woodland and enjoying being out in the sunshine. I am sure that he experienced the greatest feeling of independence since the onset of his mobility problems.” “I myself felt quite proud of the achievements that my father was able to make with the benefit of the scheme and had never expected to see him enjoying the outdoors again in the way that he used to.”

Diana Crump, CEO of Living Options Devon said: “It's fantastic to have so many organisations now working in partnership with us with a common aim”. “People with mobility problems have long been excluded from exploring beautiful areas of countryside and this scheme enables people to get out in the fresh air with friends and family to enjoy spectacular views and wildlife like anyone else.”

James Maben, Countryside Mobility Project Manager said: “Feedback from our members has been great and with such a varied selection of sites now involved, people with limited mobility have some fantastic opportunities to get out and explore the region.” “There is something for everyone – from wild Exmoor moorland to peaceful country parks and beautiful sections of the South West Coast Path.”

The scheme has been supported with a grant from Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme.

For more information about the scheme and for details of all sites involved visit www.countrysidemobility.org or telephone 01392 456522.

A Countryside Mobility Tramper all-terrain mobility scooter on a section of the South West Coast Path at the National Trust’s Penrose Estate, Cornwall.