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Enjoying Nature as a Wheelchair User

After a winter which has included several notable cold snaps, it might just about be time to finally start looking forward to the better weather that spring should soon deliver. Getting out and about to enjoy that weather, and the beauty of the natural world around the UK and Ireland, is always a joy but is a particularly tempting prospect after enduring the snow and wind that this winter has thrown at us.

Getting into the great outdoors and enjoying nature hasn’t always had a great reputation when it comes to disabled accessibility, however, with the possibility of difficult terrain and other similar obstacles often putting off wheelchair users. That doesn’t have to be the case, though, as we hope the below information will show you.

 

Accessible Nature Reserves

If you’re a wheelchair user or you have a loved one who uses a wheelchair, a nature reserve might not be the first place to spring to mind when you’re thinking of a potential day out. Recently, however, many beautiful and attractive nature and wildlife reserves have worked hard to improve their accessibility to wheelchair users. Many such places now boast a number of different features and alternatives which open them up far more comfortably to those less physically able.

Boardwalks introduced to different areas, lifts, ramps and even the possibility for mobility vehicle hire are all examples of such features which many nature and wildlife reserves now employ. Whether such features are in place should be information which is easily located via a nature reserve’s website or the main site of an organisation such as The Wildlife Trusts.

 

Wheelchair Friendly Walks

In the same way as a nature or wildlife reserve may not have immediately seemed like a viable option for a day out as a wheelchair user, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a walk through nature is also something less accessible to you.

Fortunately, however, there are an increasing number of trails and walking routes which are open and accessible to wheelchair users.  More importantly, too, these routes are more easily locatable thanks to the availability of different accessible walks guides and to sites such as walkswithwheelchairs.com.

 

Birdwatching for Wheelchair Users

Birdwatching is by its nature less physically strenuous than walking or exploring a nature reserve, and is another outdoor activity which has improved greatly in terms of accessibility in recent years. Organisations such as the RSPB have loads of locations around the UK for birdwatching and have been working hard to make those locations open and accessible to everyone.

The vast majority of RSPB locations now include accessible toilets, lifts, ramps and dedicated blue badge parking bays. What’s more, many locations also feature hides and viewing facilities which can be utilised from a seated position and mobility scooter or manual wheelchair hire schemes. The RSPB website is a great place to head to locate a local birdwatching location and to find out the level of accessibility of that location. That site, too, has a whole section devoted to offering advice for disabled birdwatchers.

 

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About Austen

My name is Austen Burns, Digital Marketing Consultant at Moorings Mediquip and I will be uploading blogs and news for you to read. I have a disability called Cerebral Palsy (CP). This affects my movement and co-ordination and as a result use a walking frame or mobility scooter to get around. I have a Degree in Computing & a Masters in Marketing, in my spare time I have always been involved in disability sports, competing in both disability swimming and equestrian at international level. My main focus has been on Equestrian where I am currently on the Irish Para dressage team. Despite having had success internationally I am yet to make a Paralympic team and with Tokyo 2020 coming closer it would be a dream to make this happen. As a consultant for Moorings Mediquip I hope to write fresh online content, information and debate within the disability and health fields, as well as work on many new digital marketing initiatives throughout 2017.