Wheelchair Tandem & Travel In Devon

August 9, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, Adaptive Cycling, UK, Uncategorized, Wheelchair Walks

Wheelchair Tandem on the Tarka Trail

Had a brilliant day on the Tarka Trail, we did 16 miles on a Duet Wheelchair Tandem!

Wheelchair Tandem, Tarka Trail, Devon, Boats

Wheelchair Tandem Ride on Tarka Trail, Instow







We hired the Duet wheelchair tandem from Bideford Cycle Hire for £17 for the day. They have private access onto the Tarka Trail, it’s an unsurfaced slope and a bit bumpy. I had my strong pedaller push my wheelchair up onto the trail and then bring up the Duet wheelchair tandem. After transferring he then took my wheelchair back down to the car. Parking is free if you hire a bike. Once on the trail its a nice, smooth tarmac surface and mostly flat. We passed the charming railway carriage cafe at Bideford. Then lovely views of the estuary as we were leaving town.

Wheelchair Travel, Tandem, Tarka Trail, Devon

Wheelchair Travel, duet, wheelchair tandem, Tarka Trail, Devon







There is a bit of traffic noise from Bideford to Instow but it’s still a very pleasant ride. At Instow there is a disabled toilet (RADAR key required) at the back of the car park.  It’s not very far from the trail but be careful crossing the road with the Duet as it is a bit more awkward to handle than a wheelchair on turns and curbs etc if you aren’t used to it.After Instow it’s peaceful with lots on nature, birds, sheep, cows, horses, fields, estuary and marshlands. At Fremington Quay there is a cafe and a flat path along the quay with a large lawn. After our picnic on the grass we headed back the way we came staying on the car free Tarka Trail.

Wheelchair Travel, Tarka Trail, Devon, Disabled Toilet

Wheelchair walk, Tarka Trail, Devon, woods







We arrived back at the bike hire with time to spare so we rode  a mile or so towards Torrington where it is more wooded with slight gradients. I’m so glad we did, as we met a very kind lady cyclist called Sheila, who very generously offered me her copy of “Wind In My Wheels”  by Josie Dew.  It has a chapter about her journey from Lands End to John O’ Groats on a wheelchair tandem!

Westward Ho – Wheelchair Walk, Pier House and Beach

Despite the moody weather I really enjoyed the wheelchair walk on this coastal path.  The rain had perfect timing. Just as we returned from the walk it poured down, so we went for lunch at the Pier House.  The food was good and the portions large. Good wheelchair access and a massive disabled toilet too.

 Wheelchair Walk, Westward Ho Coastal Path, Devon

Wheelchair Access, Pier House, Westward Ho! Devon

Westward Ho Coastal Path, Wheelchair Walk, devon

Westward Ho!, The Pier House, Wheelchair Access













Since the weather brightened up after lunch, we continued the walk in the opposite direction down to Westward Ho! beach. The path which passes the rockpools becomes the promenade and is fully surfaced, wide and flat with lovely bay views.  According to this pdf,  Accessible Trails in Devon, there is another easy access walk nearby at Northam Burrows, but we didn’t get around to that one.

Westward Ho Beach Path Wheelchair Walk1

Wheelchair Walk Westward Ho Devon Beach Path Promenade








Wistlandpound Wheelchair Walk

Wistlandpound has a peaceful nature wheelchair walk circling a lake which is sheltered by woods.  To access the blue badge car park you must get a gate code from reception. From the blue badge car park the path is quite smooth compressed earth and gravel. There were steeper gradients than I had expected so if you want to do the full loop a strong pusher is required. Assisted canoeing on the lake is one of many activities available here for disabled people, for more info see Calvert Exmoor Trust.

Wistlandpound, disabled travel, wheelchair walk, devon

wheelchair canoeing, wistlandpound, devon


Wheelchair Access at Rosemoor Gardens

There are plenty of disabled parking bays at Rosemoor Gardens, disabled toilets and a spacious cafe with room to move in between tables.  2 trampers are available (book in advance) The surfaces are smooth tarmac paths, flagstones, compressed earth and gravel, flat brick paths and in the woods compressed earth and bark.

Wheelchair Access at Rosemoor Gardens, RHS, Devon

Wheelchair Access at Rosemoor Gardens Devon

Rosemoor Gardens, Woodland walk, Devon

Wheelchair Access at Rosemoor Gardens - The Lake













Part of the gardens are on a slope so a strong helper may be required for some of it. The path down to the lake is on a gradient. The earth and bark path through the woods is quite smooth with gentle slopes. The gardens are split in two by the road. The main gardens in front of the visitor centre are stunning and fairly peaceful. To access the other side there is a path that goes under the road, on this side you get quite a bit of traffic noise from the road.   If you are a bit sound sensitive (as I am) you might prefer to stay on the visitor centre side.

Wheelchair Tandem at Haldon Forest Park

2 different rides on a wheelchair tandem duet in the same week can’t be bad.

Wheelchair Tandem, wheelchair bike, Haldon Forest Park

Wheelchair Tandem, wheelchair bike, adaptive cycling, Haldon Forest Park, Devon







We did the Discovery Trail at Haldon Forest Park which is 2.5km (1.5miles) of compressed earth, gravel and bark path (which is fairly flat and wide) through the forest with some gorgeous views of Devon countryside. There are some short slopes so you might need a strong pedaller but nothing too steep. It’s a little bit tricky with the duet at the 2 road crossings due to the narrow wooden barriers, but it does fit through. Be careful crossing the road especially if you are new to handling the duet. Back at the car park there is a disabled toilet that’s big enough for the duet to actually fit it, but only just.

For more places to hire a wheelchair tandem see Wheelchair Tandem-Accessible Cycle Hire Adventures in the UK


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Wheelchair Travel Around Interlaken, Switzerland

July 24, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, Switzerland, Wheelchair Walks

This is a wheelchair travel adventure we did before I started taking notes and really looking at access, so there is not as much detail as in other posts. I hope it can still give an idea of what’s possible in Switzerland.

There is no doubt that this is a beautiful area. The Bernese Alps and their turquoise blue lakes were more wheelchair accessible than I had expected. Switzerland is expensive though, but we did it in our usual budget style by camping, bringing some food with us from the uk and only buying the fresh produce we needed in the Swiss shops. With so many beautiful natural sights to see and ‘carer goes free’ on cable cars, we still had a fantastic and affordable trip.

Wheelchair Walk at Neuhaus

We stayed a few days at Neuhaus and from there did day trips by car to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.
At Neuhaus there is lakeside park on Lake Thunersee where you can get close to the water. We found a lovely nature wheelchair walk by the lake. At the end was an accessible footbridge spanning the river that joins the two lakes.

Wheelchair access to Lake Thunersee, Park at Neuhaus, Interlaken
Park at Neuhaus, Lake Thunersee
Wheelchair walk in nature, disabled access, Neuhaus, Interlaken, Swiss Alps
Wheelchair access nature walk, Neuhaus
Wheelchair walk in nature, disabled access, Neuhaus, Interlaken, Swiss Alps
Wheelchair access nature walk, Neuhaus, Interlaken
Sunset over the mountains on the way back
Wheelchair walk in nature at sunset, disabled travel, Neuhaus, Interlaken, Swiss Alps
Wheelchair access nature walk, Neuhaus, Interlaken
Lake Thunersee at sunset


Day Trip to Lauterbrunnen

We left the car in the main car park, it was on a slope and was a bit of a push to get out of the carpark onto level ground. As we were walking through the village we were passed by a parade of decorated cows, it was part of a cheese festival celebration. Not sure how the cows felt about it but they were wearing some pretty fancy headdresses. The wheelchair walk at Lauterbrunnen was beautiful, lush green grass and cute swiss farm houses. We walked past a small waterfall, the path continues up the valley, but we turned back after the waterfall.

Old Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg road 6km

Wheelchair walk in nature at Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Swiss Alps
Cheese festival parade at Lauterbrunnen
Disabled access, Wheelchair walk in nature at Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Swiss Alps
Wheelchair accessible walk at Lauterbrunnen

Wheelchair Travel To Car Free Murren

We camped at Stechelberg and went up to Murren for the day. We left the car at Stechelberg Cable Car station. I remember that the paths in Murren were surfaced and very smooth, although there are slopes. It is on levels and the main street is fairly long and flat, but if you want a longer walk you would need a strong pusher. Also I remember there being a short uphill slope as you come out of the station. Murren is car free and has fantastic mountain views, so even if you dont move around that much, it’s a beautiful place to hang out. If you forgot your picnic there are plenty of shops and the supermarket is quite reasonable.

Murren Village Tour Wheelchair Walk – 2km
Cable Car – carer goes free

Wheelchair access in car free Murren, Interlaken, Swiss Alps, disabled travel
Car free Murren – Swiss houses up in the
Wheelchair access in car free Murren, Interlaken, Swiss Alps, disabled travel
Up in the mountains at car free Murren
Wheelchair access in car free Murren, Interlaken, Swiss Alps, disabled travel
Wheelchair access in car free Murren = Smooth
Wheelchair travel in car free Murren, Interlaken, Swiss Alps, Mountain views
Mountain views from car free Murren

Accessible Camping In The Swiss Alps

We camped at Alpenblick, Seestrasse 130 at Neuhaus. There are disabled facilities in a new toilet block. Lovely campsite, level grounds although a bit of traffic noise as it is next to the road. Good location for Thunersee Lake and the wheelchair nature walk. It was16 euros per night plus tax (2adults+tent+car) with ACSI card.

At Stechelberg we stayed at Camping Rutti, a very peaceful campsite with only basic facilites. Snow capped mountain views from the tent though. And good location for the cable car station for trips to Murren. It was16 euros per night plus tax (2adults+tent+car) with ACSI card.

Wheelchair travel resource for Interlaken area on the following link
Interlaken-Tips for wheelchair users and people with impaired mobility

General tourist info www.jungfrau.ch/en/

For another easy access walk with stunning views, check out our next stop in the Swiss Alps ……………..Weggis, Lake Lucerne…….blog post coming soon!

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 :-)



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