Wheelchair Mini Break in Chichester

July 9, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, UK, Wheelchair Walks

Are you planning a wheelchair mini break or disabled holiday in or near Chichester?
This post is about my recent experience in and around Chichester and is full of links and info for wheelchair users.

West Wittering Beach Wheelchair Walk

Easy Access, Disabled Travel, Wheelchair Walk on West Wittering Beach
Wheelchair Walk on West Wittering Beach
Easy Access, Disabled Travel, Wheelchair Walk on West Wittering Beach
Great to be on the beach

Although we were staying nearby, we nearly didn’t go to west wittering beach. From photos on the net I could see that it didn’t have a promenade so I mistakenly thought that it wasn’t accessible. We went to check it out and found that we could hire the wheelchair beach buggy for free (£20 returnable deposit) and it was so much fun. It’s the first time in over 5 years that I’ve had such a great beach experience! It feels great rolling over the sand on those balloon wheels, will definately be doing this again. Behind the beach is a huge grassy area where you can park and picnic, there’s a cafe too and 3 toilet blocks with disabled facilities. The car park charges were £2 for the day for blue badge holders and £7.50 normal charge, although I think it varies with time and season.

Chichester Marina Easy Access Walk

Wheelchair Travel Easy Access Walk at Chichester Marina, Sussex
Wheelchair Walk at Chichester Marina
Disabled Travel Easy Access Walk at Chichester Marina, Sussex
Wheelchair Walk Views at Chichester Marina

Chichester Marina has a circular easy access walk, all surfaced so it was a relaxing nautical wheelchair walk. It’s quite interesting going over the accessible lock crossing, after the crossing are some benches for a rest stop, there’s even the rare chance of spotting some seals. On the way back we passed Spinnakers Cafe/Bar which has a disabled toilet.

Accessible Harbour Viewing and Easy access walk at West Itchenor.

Disabled Travel, Wheelchair Access View at West Itchenor, Chichester, Sussex
Wheelchair Access View at West Itchenor, Chichester
Wheelchair Access View at West Itchenor, Chichester, Sussex
Wheelchair Access View at West Itchenor, Sussex

West Itchenor has a ramp up to this viewing platform, lovely place to sit and soak up the harbour vibes. There is also a wheelchair accessible boat Solar-Heritage (Solar powered boat with lift) Check first with www.conservancy.co.uk for times and bookings as they are limited. Apparently there is a disabled toilet near the harbour office.

The wheelchair walk starts at the far corner of the West Itchenor visitors car park, where the disabled parking bays are. There are 2 gates on this walk (large enough for most wheelchairs and small mobility scooters). It is a surfaced path that leads to a secluded viewing area looking over the harbour. Peaceful, green and wonderful marshland harbour views. The path does continue on after that but it becomes a bit “all terrain” with some gravelly bits and quite bumpy.

wheelchair travel, easy access walk gate, West Itchenor, Chichester, Sussex
Gate on wheelchair easy access walk, West Itchenor
Wheelchair Travel, Wheelchair Walk, Easy Access Walk West Itchenor, Chichester, Sussex
Enjoying the fresh air at West Itchenor
Wheelchair Travel, Wheelchair Walk, Easy Access Walk West Itchenor, Chichester, SussexWheelchair Travel, Wheelchair Walk Views, Easy Access Walk West Itchenor, Chichester, Sussex
Harbour Views on Wheelchair Walk, West Itchenor
  

Smooth surface path, Wheelchair Travel, Wheelchair Walk, Easy Access Walk West Itchenor, Chichester, Sussex

Smooth path on wheelchair walk West Itchenor

Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve Wheelchair Walk
There are interesting views over Pagham Harbour but this wasn’t my favourite walk, I found it a bit bumpy and not very peaceful. I could hear heavy traffic noise coming from the busy road nearby for half of the walk. For more detailed info please see PDF of Easy Countryside Trails


You can enjoy a more peaceful view over Pagham Harbour at Sidlesham Quay, Mill Lane, Sidlesham just near the Crab & Lobster (wheelchair accessible) pub. There is a bench on a patch of grass next to the quiet road where you can look out over the marshland harbour.


Butterflies

Disabled Travel - Wheelchair Access Info at Earnley Butterflies, Chichester, Sussex
 Earnley Butterfly – Wheelchair Access = not great

Earnley Butterflies Birds and Beasts is not ideal for wheelchairs but partly doable with assistance. The place is flat, but the problem is the gravel paths. In the nearest areas to the entrance the gravel is not too deep, so with a strong helper you can see the butterflies, birds and gardens. By the time you get to the animals at the far end the gravel is deeper and could be very tiring for whoever is pushing the wheelchair. There is a cafe and a disabled toilet. Also this could be a good place to come if its raining as most of it is undercover in glasshouses.

Wheelchair Access and Restaurants in Chichester
Chichester is quite flat, with flagstones in the central part, it is actually paved but the pavestones have slightly bumpy edges. It is only a little bumpy though, apart from that it’s actually very doable for wheelchair users.

We had tasty italian food at ASK Chichester. The Wheelchair access is at the side entrance not the front. There is a disabled toilet although sometimes getting access to it can be tricky, especially when the restaurant is busy as the tables are very close to the disabled toilet entrance.

Chichester has a local produce restaurant with wheelchair access check www.fieldandfork.co.uk for opening hours and menu.


For a long list of accessible cafes and restaurants please see this very helpful booklet (available from the tourist office) with all the access info. Here’s a link to the online pdf version www.chichesteraccessgroup.org.uk

Disabled Travel, Wheelchair Access Chichester Town Centre
Chichester Town Centre
Sunset at Elscott Park, Birdham, Sussex - Disabled Access Camping
Sunset at Elscott Park – Wheelchair Accessible Camping

Disabled Camping
We camped at www.ellscottpark.co.uk near Chichester Marina. This is a good location for being near to some of the wheelchair walks and West Wittering Beach. It’s also a good location for going into Chichester for restaurants or shopping. There is a disabled toilet and shower. It has a low step at the entrance (it is just the door ledge) so some assistance may be required, but the facilities were very clean and the owners very helpful. Will camp here again, good value for money.

www.camping-in-sussex.com Near West Wittering village, has an animal park.
Chichester-lakeside-holiday-park This place doesnt have great reviews. It’s near a busy road.

I hope you found this wheelchair mini break information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

 

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Accessible Day Out In Sussex – Lavender, Harbour Walk & Italian Food

July 5, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, UK, Wheelchair Walks

Organic Lavender Field
Lordington Organic Lavender Field 2012 open days are 4th – 8th July 2012 entrance £2.50 (goes to charity).  Parking is available near the field on the farm.  Wheelchair users can be dropped off very close to the lavender by car. There is a wide accessible walkway at the beginning of the field as you come in, it’s hard earth and not too bumpy, although it is on a bit of a slope. It is quite manageable to get close to the lavender with a strong carer. Lovely place to sit and soak up the lavender vibes. Cake and refreshments too.
For more info go to their website www.lordingtonlavender.co.uk

accessible day out sussex, wheelchair access, lavender field.
I got my wheelchair into a lavender field!
accessible day out sussex, wheelchair access, chichester, lavender field.
Who needs provence, when you’ve got sussex lavender

Cobnor Easy Access Harbour Walk 

After the lavender field we went for a walk along the harbour at Cobnor Estate, near Chichester. This easy access path is especially for disabled people. Disabled badge holders can access the path via the private Cobnor road. There are disabled parking bays and a disabled toilet (RADAR key access). The path is mostly hard surfaced and flat. It’s peaceful and has fabulous views of the harbour.
Italian Dinner
Had pizza and pasta at Prezzo in Chichester. Wheelchair access good – step free.

I hope you found this wheelchair day out information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great day out :-)

 

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Disabled Holidays In The Camargue – Accessible Attractions

June 20, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

Wheelchair Access To Wildlife – Parc Ornithologique (Wetlands Bird Park)

Disabled Travel - Wetland Bird Park Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Flamingo
Disabled Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Flamingotastic
Disabled Travel - Wheelchair Access Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Flamingo
Disabled Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Fabulous Flamingo Watching

Parc Ornithologique is a wetlands bird park near Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. It’s a beautiful reserve with flamingos galore and many other species. It’s a great place for bird watching and enjoying the incredible Camargue landscape. You could just pop in for an hour or spend a few days here, it’s perfect for wheelchair users, the paths are great and they even have a wheelchair accessible eco toilet, Enviroloo. Bring your camera, sunscreen, hat, bottle of water, mosquito repellent and a picnic (there is a cafe too).

Wheelchair Travel - Disabled Access Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Baby Storks
   Wheelchair Travel – Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Baby Storks
Wheelchair Travel -  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Easy Access Paths & Disabled Eco Toilet
Wheelchair Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Disabled Eco Toilet

The main loop (about 2.5k) is very accessible with easy flat paths and you will see plenty of wildlife and flamingos here. We were told that the larger loop also has good paths but the only thing is that you must cross quite a steep bridge to get onto that side. My carer said it was doable with a strong helper but we didn’t bother as we were already too hot and a bit tired.

Disabled Travel -  Easy Access Path Wetland Bird Park Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Disabled Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Great Paths. Wheelchair Access = good
disabled holidays Wheelchair Access wetland bird park Parc Ornithologique bridge
Wheelchair Access Parc Ornithologique
Access to longer walk over steep bridge

Wheelchair Access To Wildlife – Mejanes


The petit train at Mejanes is not wheelchair accessible. You can’t drive onto the train in your wheelchair. However if you can manage the 2 steps onto the train it’s a fun ride (about 25minutes) and good value at 4 euros (and he didn’t charge my carer). If you can fold your wheelchair you can take it on the train (my carer lifted it on for me), the other option would be to leave it in the station. Once you’re on the train sit back and enjoy the views of wetland landscapes, Camargue horses and bulls while listening to gypsy flamenco on the trains sound system!

Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair Access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
Wheelchair Access to station but 2 steps to train
Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair Access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
No Wheelchair Access to Train – 2 steps
Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair Access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
Views from petit train
Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue wheelchair access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
Views from petit train
Disabled Travel - wheelchair access at Mejanes, Camargue Horse
Disabled Travel –  Mejanes, Camargue
Camargue Horse
Disabled Travel -  Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair access toilet
Disabled Travel –  Mejanes, Camargue
Wheelchair access toilet on women’s side

Strangely at Mejanes only the women’s side of the toilets are wheelchair accessible. There is a wheelchair accessible footpath which takes you through the countryside and past Etang du Vaccares (big lake) it’s a loop so you end up back at the car park after about a 2.5km walk. It’s an unsurfaced earth path so can be a bit bumpy in places. There are no hills or slopes to climb, it’s all pretty flat.

Disabled Travel, easy access footpath country walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Disabled Travel, easy access footpath country walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Disabled Travel – Footpath at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Wheelchair Access = OK, unsurfaced paths, a bit bumpy
Disabled Travel   - easy access footpath country Walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France Camargue Horses
Disabled Travel   –  Walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Camargue Horses





Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue – Wheelchair Walks In Nature
Parc Ornithologique Wetlands Bird Park (flamingos galore!)
Camargue Museum and footpath 1.5km
La Capeliere - 2 of the 4 wildlife observatories and the exhibit area are wheelchair accessible
Mejanes - footpath 2.5km (and little train-not wheelchair accessible, but if you can manage 2 steps its fun)
La Palissade - footpath 3km

Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue – Boat Rides
Les Quatre Maries - wheelchair access
Le Tiki - wheelchair access
Le Camargue - non motorised wheelchairs only

Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue – Town & Beach
For wheelchair access information please check out my post on Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
For general tourist information in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and the Camargue check out this website www.saintesmaries.com

Camping

Le Clos Du Rhone - adapted showers/toilets
La Brise - adapted showers and toilets

I hope you found this disabled holiday information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Disabled Travel In The Camargue – Wheelchair Access at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

June 16, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

Disabled Travel in the Camargue – Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, Beach Wheelchair Access
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
Beach Path Wheelchair Access = good
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer- Disabled Parking
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
wheelchair access = good, 
disabled parking = good
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer Beach Path Wheelchair Access
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
Beach Path Wheelchair Access = good
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer Marina Path Wheelchair Access
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
Marina Path Wheelchair Access = good

There’s plenty of disabled parking bays at the beach and many ramps giving easy access to the beach path. The beach path is flat, smooth and hard surfaced. There are openings every so often from which you can look onto the beach out to sea. I couldn’t get onto the actual beach (soft sand) so we followed the beach path down to the marina and the town. The wind had blown some sand onto the otherwise lovely surfaced easy access path which could cause problems if it builds up, sometimes my pusher had to pull me through backwards where there was a mini sand drift. Overall it was fine. You can see that care has been taken to accomodate wheelchair users.

Disabled Holidays - Wheelchair  Access in Saintes Maries de la Mer
Saintes Maries de la Mer wheelchair access = good
Disabled Travel Saintes Maries de la Mer Church wheelchair access
Saintes Maries de la Mer wheelchair access = good
disabled parking = good

The church is open every day and according to the tourist office it is wheelchair accessible, we didn’t go in as it was the gypsy pilgrimage and very busy. The Cultural Centre (Relais Culturel) also has wheelchair access. The town is flat and most of the centre is pedestrianised so great for wheelchairs. The disabled toilets are in La Place des Gitans behind the Hotel de Ville. There is a wheelchair accessible bus (La ligne 20) between Arles and Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.

Boat Rides

Les Quatre Maries – wheelchair access
Le Tiki – wheelchair access
Le Camargue – non motorised wheelchairs only

Camping

Le Clos Du Rhone - adapted showers/toilets
La Brise – adapted showers and toilets

Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue

For easy access walks, wildlife and more wheelchair access information for the area, please see my other blog post Disabled Holidays In The Camargue – Accessible Attractions.

For general tourist information in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and the Camargue check out this website www.saintesmaries.com

I hope you found this wheelchair travel information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Disabled Budget Travel: Wheelchair Access in Lake Annecy, France

June 14, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

                 
Beautiful Annecy.
Will defo be coming back to this place. Quaint, historic, colourful and accessible enough to keep me interested. This brochure Annecy-Town-Walks shows the lakeside walk and accessibility. They don’t mention accessibility for the Old Town Walk but we walked and rolled around most of it with no hassle. We didn’t go up the steep bit to the castle. We did try to follow the canal further on but gave up due to the cobbles. There’s plenty of beauty and colour to soak up in the touristy part of the old town which is mostly wheelchair friendly.
Disabled Travel: Wheelchair Access in Annecy France
Old Town Annecy France, wheelchair access = mostly good
Disabled Travel: Wheelchair Access by the Lake in Annecy France
Annecy Lakeside Walk, wheelchair access = good

Lake Annecy Cycle Path
Now this is the kind of surface I like. Perfectly smooth. Its car free, surrounded by stunning scenery and there’s loads of it, over 40k long! The bits on the sides are for walkers and joggers. Are wheelchair users allowed on it? Who knows, but that didnt stop us. Although we did get pointed out and laughed at by a group of young boys, who cares when you’re rolling in paradise :) I need a Duet Wheelchair Tandem so I can feel like I’m cycling.

Lake Annecy France Cycle Path Wheelchair Walk
Lake Annecy Cycle Path Wheelchair Walk
Lake Annecy France Cycle Path Wheelchair Access
Lake Annecy, France. Cycle Path Wheelchair Walk



Beaches
There are 3 wheelchair friendly beaches on Lake Annecy- Sevrier, St Jorioz and Veyrier.
I stayed at St Jorioz. The beach is great for wheelchair users. Choose between grass or sand, sun or shade. There are lots of big trees to lie under whilst watching the paragliders in the distance floating off the mountain, enjoying the view of the lake and the beach atmosphere. You feel like you’re in a park and a beach at the same time and they have already thought about disabled access.

Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy
Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy

There’s an accessible path to the different areas of the beach and the sand is that hard sand so the wheelchair doesn’t sink. There’s even a handrail for going into lake. There’s a wheelchair accessible toilet and a snackbar.

Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy, France
Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy
Sun & Shade – A park & beach all in one

The disabled parking bays are near the entrance and have a sign welcoming wheelchair users which is nice. It really makes a massive difference going to beach where they’ve already planned for accessibility.  Wheelchair access in the Alps is much easier than I thought it would be.

Disabled Travel: parking and wheelchair access St Jorioz Beach Lake Annecy, France
Disabled parking and wheelchair access at St Jorioz Beach
Lake Annecy, France





Nature Walk – Reserve Naturelle du Bout du Lac
This place is not signposted well, but easy to get to when you know where it is. It’s on Route de la Vieille Eglise near Doussard. Apparently beavers live here but we didn’t see any. A beautiful walk (about 3.5k) on really good accessible paths and boardwalks.

Disabled Travel: Bout du Lac Nature Reserve, Lake Annecy, France
Bout du Lac Nature Reserve. Wheelchair access = great




Bout du Lac Nature Reserve, Lake Annecy, France.
Wheelchair access = great, disabled parking = good

Camping
www.campinglesolitaire.com This isnt where I stayed but we did pass by for a look. It looks like the best location to stay for St Jorioz beach and the cycle path. It’s away from the main road (so peaceful) and very near the lake and not far from the shops. It does have accessible facilities. Will try it out next time.


Attractions With Wheelchair Access
The forest of the senses trail at www.base-nature-aventure.com looks good, it says the trail is designed for wheelchairs.

General Tourist Info http://en.lac-annecy.com/

I hope you found this wheelchair travel information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Wheelchair Travel in the Ardeche – My Experience of the Route Des Gorges

June 10, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

Scenic Drive On Route Des Gorges, Ardeche, France (Wheelchair Access = Overall its very good)

 

Pont d’Arc by the river is a no go for wheelchair users – The path is very steep, then rocky and very steep, then sandy. All is not lost, there is a viewing layby on the road a bit further on. Go early if you want to stop there as its small and gets busy. There is a step up to the viewing area, I could still enjoy the view by looking through the railings athough the barrier wall doesn’t seem designed for wheelchair user viewing. Still worth a look though.

Ardeche Gorges, Pont D’Arc viewing layby
wheelchair access = 1 step

The rest of the Route Des Gorges has excellent wheelchair access lookouts or viewing areas, about 11 of them over an approx 30km stretch. With disabled parking bays, flat walkways, fantastic views of scenery and if lucky friendly goats.

Ardeche Gorges Scenic Drive 30km – fantastic viewing areas
wheelchair access & disabled parking = great
Ardeche Gorges Scenic Drive 30km – beautiful views from the
lookout areas, wheelchair access & disabled parking = great
Ardeche Gorges Scenic Drive 30km – beautiful views from the
lookout areas, wheelchair access & disabled parking = great

www.gorges-de-lardeche.com

Below are the attractions we visited on the Route Des Gorges.

Llama Park (Wheelchair Access = Dodgy, but we did it – Rock N Roll!! more Rocky than Roll actually)
They only charged me for one adult at 6 euros (carer goes free)  There are 2 steps at the entrance (these people need a ramp) and a bit of uphill rocky ground on the way to the enclosure which is also a quite a challenge. The good news is that its not very far to the enclosure and its well worth getting there. Loads of llamas and you’re right in there with them. The leaflet says petting guaranteed and it wasnt wrong.

Ardeche Gorges Llama Park
wheelchair access = dodgy but doable with help

Inside the enclosure the ground is very rocky so we didn’t move around much. The owner was very friendly and the llamas wonderful and so many of them. The wheelchair access is very dodgy but doable with a strong carer and some help at the steps.
www.ardeche-lamas.com

Lavender Museum (Wheelchair Access = Good, Disabled Parking =Good)

Ardeche Gorges Lavender Museum is wheelchair friendly

This place is very accessible, flat and easy. Most of it is indoors so it can be an interesting thing to do if its raining. There’s also a gift shop and they have their own lavender fields outside which must look wonderful in summer when in flower (end of june to august.)
www.ardechelavandes.com

Vallon Pont d’Arc  (Wheelchair Access = Ok, Disabled Parking = Good)
This is the small town near the start of the Route Des Gorges. There are plenty of disabled parking bays right in the centre of town giving close access to the main square and shopping streets. The pavements can be narrow but the main area is pedestrians only so its not too bad.

Wheelchair access = okay & disabled parking = good in
Ardeche Gorges town of Vallon Pont d’Arc tourist area

Camping

We camped off season for 16 euros a night for 2 adults, tent and car at Camping Beau Rivage, Les Mazes, Vallon Pont d’ArcThe campsite is 2km from Vallon Pont d’Arc. It’s by the river (lovely views from the tent) and away from the main road (very peaceful.) The paths around site are good, the reception, bar, shop, swimming pool are all accessible. The disabled toilet and shower are in the mens section of the toilet block (key at reception) but this didnt cause any problems, it was clean and available. The beach area by the river doesn’t have ideal wheelchair access but its doable with a strong carer. It’s probably not the most perfect site for accessibility but what I loved about this site were the natural surroundings, birdsong, relaxing under the trees with views of the river, feeding the onsite goats and the friendly and helpful owners. Will definately go back. www.beaurivage-camping.com
Ardeche Gorges Beau Rivage Camping, beautiful campsite
wheelchair friendly except for beach area

More campsites (that I havent visited) in the area with wheelchair accessible facilities include:
mondial-camping
campsite-arc-en-ciel
domaine-de-chadeyron
camping-nature-parc
campsite-des-gorges

For general tourist information check out www.ardeche-guide.com

I hope you found this wheelchair travel information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)