Calvert Trust Kielder, Northumberland

My visit to Calvert Trust Kielder in Northumberland.

I visited the Calvert Trust Kielder for a five day holiday in June 2019 with family. This was my first visit to the trust and I wanted to share my experiences in a slightly different format from that of my usual accessibility reviews.

Accommodation:

We stayed in ‘The Bradbury’ which is one of the Trust’s wheelchair-accessible chalets. The facilities inside were brilliant: all doorways were more than wide enough for my chair to fit through, switches were at wheelchair user height and the views were absolutely incredible.

Activities:

The best part of the trip for me was getting to take part in the outdoor adventure activities they have on site. I got to do the Silver package which included the zip line, king swing and archery. For the zip line, I was attached to a rope and pulled up to the top of the tower in my wheelchair then rode the zip line in a specially-designed harness which provided ample support for my lower body. There were also harnesses available which gave upper body and neck support for those who needed it. I enjoyed the activities so much that I requested to do the king swing again later in the week and I also did laser shooting. The staff were absolutely fantastic, they made every effort to ensure comfort and safety whilst taking part in the activities. It was so liberating to feel I could do everything that an able-bodied person could do; just with a few extra adjustments!

There is also a hydrotherapy pool on site which we were able to book for one hour slots. The pool was really warm (kept between 30 and 35 degrees) and there was a hoist at the poolside as well as graduated steps and floating aids available for use. The only difficulty I had with the pool was that the changing facilities did not include a shower chair which made getting ready after swimming a little bit more difficult for me.

Overall, I had a brilliant stay at the Calvert Trust and would absolutely recommend staying here particularly if you enjoy outdoor adventure activities. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre, Northumberland

My visit to Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre in Kielder, Northumberland.

Blue Badge Parking: Yes
Concessions/Carer Prices: Concession for disabled person, no carer concession available
Wheelchair/Mobility Scooter hire: No
Accessible Toilets: No

I visited Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre on 10th June with family.

On arrival we found one blue badge space outside the attraction and plenty of other parking spaces. There are concession tickets available for disabled people and the lady on the door was very helpful.

As soon as we came in we were greeted by a member of staff who introduced us to some of the birds.

I needed help to get around the centre in my wheelchair as it is located on quite a steep hill, so I wouldn’t have been able to visit on my own and self-propel. All displays are accessible besides one small area which has a bridge across to it with a step up. The paths are tarmac; making it easier to wheel.

We watched the flying display which they put on twice per day, which was brilliant. The staff were really engaging and knowledgeable and we all got to be involved with flying the birds.

Overall I would really recommend visiting this attraction particularly if you have an interest in wildlife.

Saltwell Park, Gateshead

My visit to Saltwell Park, Gateshead.

Blue Badge Parking: Yes
Concessions/Carer Prices: Free admission (all)
Wheelchair/Mobility Scooter hire: No
Accessible Toilets: Yes

I visited Saltwell Park on 12th April with family. It’s a place I loved to go when I was growing up due to the fantastic play parks and big open spaces.

While there is no specific car park for this attraction, there are roadside disabled parking spaces by the gates.

All of the park’s paths are smooth tarmac, making it easy terrain to wheel or walk on. However, the park does contain many steep ascents and descents, which could pose a problem to wheelchair users who do not have power chairs/power attachments. I personally was not strong enough to self propel on some of these, meaning someone had to drop me off at the top of the park and collect me at the bottom. I also required assistance on some of the hills in between.

The park is really well maintained, and has lots of quiet areas to sit in which would be perfect for those who struggle with sensory issues.

There is also a cafe in “Saltwell Towers” which is wheelchair accessible and contains accessible toilets.

I’d recommend visiting Saltwell Park, as the beautiful landscapes and gardens make the hills worth it!

Thank you for reading.

Hauxley Nature Reserve, Northumberland

My visit to Hauxley Nature Reserve near Low Hauxley, Northumberland.

Blue Badge Parking: Yes
Concessions/Carer Prices: Free admission (all), donation optional
Wheelchair/Mobility Scooter hire: No
Accessible Toilets: Yes

I visited Hauxley Nature Reserve for the first time on 10th April with a friend.

On arrival, we found some accessible parking spaces nearer the entrance in the car park. It is then just a short and smooth wheel into the entrance area, where there is a small office. A very welcoming staff member greeted us and explained which paths were accessible and where the hides were. They also showed us a whiteboard where visitors can add which wildlife they have spotted in the past few days at the site.

The newly built centre and cafe are completely accessible, with an accessible toilet located next to the cafe. There are large glass viewing points inside the centre, all of which are easily approached in a wheelchair and the view is pretty impressive.

I was really surprised to find that the footpath really was accessible (often places claim to be wheelchair-friendly but then you come across huge lumps of gravel). Whilst there are a couple of slopes, it is mostly really flat and I was able to self propel for the vast majority of our wander round. If you have an attachment such as a FreeWheel, you may choose to use this so you can access some of the more grassy tracks.

Most of the hides are also accessible, though I needed some assistance with opening the door. Once inside the accessible hides there are windows at appropriate height for wheelchair users, and no bench at these lower windows so you can sit comfortably and watch the birds (picture below).

This is a place I’d really recommend if you would like a peaceful countryside escape.

Thanks for reading!