This weekend I went with my cousin and her husband to see the bluebells at Ashridge estate, which is a National Trust property near London, England. You don't have to pay to enter the estate as it is a very large area and the main road goes through the centre of the property. There is good disabled parking and there are at least 5 dedicated parking spots with marked outside panels for wheelchair access.
Her husband spent a bit of time in a wheelchair himself so he is familiar with places that offer good wheelchair accessibility and he had previously told me about this place and the fact that it offered decent wheelchair accessibility. Not only is the principal trail wheelchair accessible, you can also rent a mobility vehicle, which is actually a golf buggy, and be driven around. At this time of year, end of April or beginning of May, the bluebells are out and it is really quite spectacular.
We also visited a nearby nature reserve, College Lake, which had a wheelchair accessible hide and looks out over a lake where all kinds of birds were active. The sound was truly lovely. They also have mobility vehicles but these are a wheelchair accessible one-person vehicle, so you must be able to drive yourself. As I am partially sighted, and also, I can’t use my hands, it was deemed that this would not be the best idea for me!
Both the Ashridge estate and the College Lake nature reserve had accessible visitor centres and the Ashridge estate had an accessible toilet. I would guess that there was also one at College Lake but I did not use it so I cannot be 100% sure. They both also had wheelchair accessible cafés though the one at Ashridge was definitely larger.
I had a fantastic day out (despite the rain) and I would fully recommend it as a wheelchair accessible excursion.
By Susie Twydell
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Image credit: Charlie Bristow