I thought it was time I shared my experience with Country Side Mobility. Country Side Mobility is a not-for-profit mobility equipment hire scheme. They work to improve access to the country side for people with limited mobility with Trampers (a type of mobility scooter) and Wheelchairs with off road wheels. The scheme runs within the South West Region, for those living within the South West or visiting.
The scheme runs on a membership but is extremely easy to do! I first set up my membership at Durlston Country Park the afternoon I decided to test out a tramper. Membership can be bought either annually or as a taster.
Anual Membership costs £10.00 and is valid for 12 months. Whereas the Taster Membership costs £2.50 and last 2 weeks. I would definitely suggest the Taster Membership if you don’t live or regularly visit the South West. I would definitely recommend spending £2.50 to enjoy beautiful country side walks with friends and family during your holiday.
The Country Side Mobility scheme covers 44 sites throughout Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucester, Somerset and Herefordshire. So far I have only had the pleasure of visiting two! Durlston Country Park and Moors Valley Country Park. I planned a trip to Moors Valley back in November and as beautiful as the sunset was through the trees it was far too cold for me! There were a few pathways we couldn’t/are told not to take in the tramper but I did feel that the path I took may have been accessible in my wheelchair – with James pushing of course.
However, my trip to Durlston was not something I would have been able to do without the use of the tramper. It was very uneven with a lot of stones and I am not too sure I would have felt safe or comfortable doing it in my wheelchair given where we were on the cliff tops. I did however, thoroughly enjoy the walk in the tramper. As it was my first time using a tramper I had a quick lesson first. It only takes around 10-15minutes. They’ll give you a map so you can understand where the tramper can go and just in case you get a little lost. There’s a few healthy and safety things to go through and they show you how to use the tramper but if you’ve used a mobility scooter before you’ll be fine! I think there only concern for me was the speed in which I chose – I can’t help it, I hadn’t been able to move that fast in years!
If it wasn’t for this scheme and the tramper I would not have been able to enjoy such a beautiful walk at Durlston. Chronic Illness has taken a lot from me over the years and being outside, spending time by the sea is one of them. Our day at Durlston was lovely, we enjoyed lunch in the cafe before, the sea was glistening in the sun and I felt so free, breathing in as much fresh air as I could. Even the dog loved Durlston, although that may have been to do with the wind in his ears.
Country Side Mobility really provides opportunity for those less mobile to enjoy time outside. Doing things they can no longer do or trying something for the very first time! One of the things I loved about the trampers was being able to be independent. To go where ever I liked whenever I liked… although looking back I think James would have preferred it if I had slowed down but I was having far too much fun!
If you are looking to take part in the scheme be sure to find a suitable location for you and book in advance! Although sometimes they have a tramper available by coincidence I would most definitely recommend booking ahead. Even when we went to Moors Valley on a cold November Saturday they were fully booked! Luckily I booked on the Friday and someone had just cancelled but I will definitely ensure I book ahead next time.
If you are interested in taking full advantage of the opportunities Country Side Mobility has to offer then check out their website now!
Let me know if you decide to sign up and where you explore first. Equally if you already benefit from the scheme let me know where you favourite spots are!