The South West’s deepest gorge is now accessible to those with limited mobility thanks to Countryside Mobility and the National Trust.
The National Trust’s Lydford Gorge in Devon has become the newest site to come on board as a partner for charity accessibility scheme, Countryside Mobility South West.
Countryside Mobility, which has recently been recognised nationally in the Visit England Awards for Excellence, is run by charity Living Options South West and aims to open up the South West’s countryside to those with limited mobility through the hire of their all terrain mobility scooters. The scooters are designed to handle a variety of terrains and often mean users can access and explore areas they might not have been able to using their own wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
Countryside Mobility scheme member Rachael Martyn was the first person to make use of the scooter. Rachael said: “using the scooter was absolutely brilliant! Being able to get right down to the bottom of Lydford Gorge with my family and friends is such a wonderful thing - and when you get to the bottom, what a spectacular sight the White Lady waterfall is! I find it difficult to walk and the scheme allows me really to enjoy and appreciate the natural environment, the smells, the beautiful wild flowers and the wonderful countryside. I can’t believe I would have missed out on all of this without Countryside Mobility and am so grateful for the freedom that the scheme has given me.”
Lydford Gorge is the 9th of the National Trust’s sites to become partners with Countryside Mobility with others across the South West including Penrose Estate in Cornwall, Dunster Castle and Tyntesfield in Somerset, as well as Arlington Court, Parke Estate, Buckland Abbey, Heddon Valley and Saltram Estate in Devon.
Fay Langston the National Trusts Visitor Services Officer at Lyford Gorge commented: “We are really pleased to partner with Countryside Mobility and to be able to welcome more people to Lydford Gorge. Previously, the gorge was almost completely inaccessible to those with limited mobility due to the steep slopes but now the scooter enables people to travel right down to the bottom and back up independently and safely”.
To join the scheme people simply arrange their first visit and join as members of Countryside Mobility on arrival - costing £10.00 per year or £2.50 for 4 weeks. Training is provided on how to use the scooters lasting approximately 10 minutes, before people are then given a membership card, which enables them to visit any partner site without the need for further training.
James Maben, Project Manager for Countryside Mobility commented: “We are always thrilled when any new site comes on board as a partner, or when an existing site adds another of our scooters, as more availability and more locations mean more people can enjoy the South West’s beautiful countryside. We hope to see our site list grow and grow.”
For full details about Lydford Gorge and to book the Tramper visit http://www.countrysidemobility.org/locations/national-trust-lydford-gorge call 01392 459222.