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Exploring Dorset with Limited Mobility
Posted by Kate Rickard on May 2, 2017
Country and Seaside Walks Suitable For Wheelchairs
The South West Coastal Path is so beautiful to wander along, however some parts of it are particularly challenging and strenuous. Leave those parts to the power hikers and focus on the many sections that are much gentler and easier for those with limited mobility.
A great wheelchair friendly walk along the South West Coastal Path is around Lulworth Cove and The Fossil Forest. This is such a stunning part of the path with such beautiful views and the walk is extremely enjoyable for the children as they glimpse the remains of the cypress forest growing in a swamp on the edge of a lagoon which would have been growing back when dinosaurs were around! This walk caters to the whole family; an old Fossil Forest for the children, a dog friendly beach for the four legged members of the family and a lovely pub for the ale drinkers.
There are other sections along the path, which are also suitable for people with limited mobility, pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The best way to check for a suitable section of the South West Coastal Path, is by looking on this Walk Finder page.
Places to Visit
Abbotsbury Swannery is a wonderful place to visit. It has existed for hundreds of years and was originally kept by the monks of Abbotsbury in the 1300’s. Swans flock here in their hundreds and they are fed and cared for now as they were by the monks.
The Swannery caters well for those with mobility problems, from the car park designated disabled parking area inside the Swannery, to the disabled toilet facilities at the entrance and the offer of free wheelchairs to borrow (they have two, although you can’t pre-book them). Those with a disability badge are also able to take a companion in to the Swannery free of charge.
Around the Swannery, the paths are flat and access is good for wheelchairs throughout all areas with the exception of the telescopic platform.
This lovely cob and thatch cottage is where Thomas Hardy was born. You can see the cosy parlour, as it would have been when Hardy lived there and Granny’s kitchen, where Hardy’s Granny Mary used to prepare the meals. You can see the original bread oven that she used. Then, upstairs, for those who are able, you can see Thomas Hardy’s bedroom where he sat at the desk by the window to write his great work.
There is an accessible route up to the cottage via a bridlepath, which although muddy, is suitable for those with limited mobility. For members of Countryside Mobility (it’s £2.50 for a fortnight or just £10 for the year), there are some ‘Trampers’ (all terrain mobility scooters) available to hire. Going to see the upstairs bedrooms will be tricky, but people who can’t manage the stairs will still have plenty to see and then there is the café at Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre which is plenty spacious enough for wheelchairs and Trampers.
There are also other National Trust places to visit in Dorset, with good ‘limited mobility’ access. There are many places offering these wonderful Trampers, which have been thoughtfully supplied by Countryside Mobility. It may be worth joining up for a fortnight if you are staying in one of our self-catering Dream Cottages.
Fishing Boat Trips for Young Children, the Elderly and those Less Abled
A fishing boat trip around the Jurassic Coast is such a special way to spend your break and thankfully, some fishing boat companies have adapted their boats to safely carry wheelchairs. One such boat moored in Weymouth Harbour is MV Freedom, which can safely hold 12 passengers including six wheelchairs. It is also easily accessible by ramp.
Once aboard, enjoy the beautiful Dorset seas with a spot of fishing or a traditional English picnic. They offer trips between all the favourite spots; Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Portland Harbour.
Dorset pubs are amongst the best in the world. Dotted around the prettiest rural villages with their thatched roofs and open fires, they give you a very good reason to relax with a glass of wine or a pint of local ale. It might be worth checking before you head to a pub just to make sure they have the facilities that you require, but there are plenty of wonderful pubs in Dorset that are suitable for those with limited mobility.