Our Trail Writers always try to write Trails that are accessible and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, but it isn’t easy as town councils don’t seem to make as much provision as they perhaps should do.
I recently wrote an article about spending time with a friend who is in a wheelchair and have reproduced some of it below.
Erica and I regularly go out together. Over the last four years we have been to lots of different places and done a variety of things and have developed a favourites list! In February we generally go to Nature in Art to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition exhibits and in November or December we head to Worcester to tackle the Christmas shopping. During the summer months we go to the Elan Valley and enjoy the scenery and we also reserve one of the months to watch the kite feeding at Rhayader. We have completed lots of the local Treasure Trails too and they are a particular favourite of ours.
Treasure Trails come in the form of a booklet which Erica is in charge of and she loves to read out the directions and shout stop when she thinks we have reached the next clue! Having to search high and low for the answers ensures we both get to play on equal terms. Erica sees things at a different height to me and quite often will spot the plaque or the sign before I do, which gives her immense satisfaction. There is a lot of giggling along the way!
Occasionally we have embarked on a Treasure Trail and have got distracted, either with lunch or a particularly interesting shop and we haven’t managed to finish the Trail on that day. But it hasn’t mattered because the next time we are looking for a day out, we head back to the town or area we were exploring to finish the Trail off and work out the solution to the puzzle. We still need to finish the Royal Forest of Dean Trail because on that occasion we took some other friends, started late and subsequently ran out of time.
On the front of each booklet there is an indication of whether the Trail is suitable for wheelchairs or not and we appreciate this guidance. Not that we always take much notice of it as we’ve got adept at solving inaccessible clues when we need to! The Royal Forest of Dean Trail is suitable for wheelchairs.
The booklets also show how long the Trail is likely to take in terms of time and again this is a great indicator although Erica and I are quite slow so it always takes longer the guideline. We are never in a great rush though and stop and start along the way making time for coffee and cake!
We’ve had such wonderfully fun and memorable times together and would unreservedly recommend a Treasure Trail as a thing to do!
For a full list of accessible Treasure Trails, head to the home page of the website, click on the ‘buy a trail’ tab and tick the wheelchair box and a whole list will come up! We would love to hear your experiences of days out with a friend or family member who is in a wheelchair. Head over to facebook, or comment in the box below.
Amanda Ingham 21st January 2015
Posted In: Ideas