Where Julia walks, I wheel.
That has always been our motto since AccessTOG was given its own platform on The Outdoor Guide.
So when Julia went off to film her the walks for her new TV series Cornwall and Devon Walks, I followed on, finding my own accessible, wheelchair friendly Cornish coastal walks.
And that wasn’t easy! The rugged coastline of Cornwall, with its hidden coves and dramatic cliffs is not ideal for terrain for wheelchair users. And I think it for this reason that I found it really difficult researching for the walks.
Thankfully my friends at Countryside Mobility came to the rescue for one of the walks.
Countryside Mobility is a not for profit mobility equipment hire scheme working to improve access to the countryside for people with limited mobility living in and visiting the South West region and there are over 50 locations where a mobility scooter is available for hire.
As part of their scheme, I was able to borrow a powered all terrain wheelchair from the National Trust so that I could do the walk around Botallack, near Penzance.
On the day of the filming it was teeming with rain and we got absolutely soaked to the skin but to be honest, the weather only added to atmosphere of this historical Cornish walk. To be able to wander along the cliff tops and to see the mines where the Poldark series was filmed was an absolute pleasure. I’ve always been a huge fan of Poldark… even before Aiden Turner replaced Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark for the new TV series. I highly recommend reading the Winston Graham novels… my copies are so old now, many have got the pages held together with Sellotape!
As the saying goes … we got wetter than the inside of an otter’s pocket and so my first hot Cornish pasty from the National Trust Count House café was a welcomed treat. It was also great to be able to have a look around the exhibition there and find out more about the Tin Coast.
Penrose is a large estate, which is open to visitors and you can follow the woodland trail around Loe Pool, which is the largest natural lake in England and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Penrose is met by the coast at Loe Bar, a site of many historical shipwrecks and where King Arthur is said to have been mortally wounded and died. This walk was a pure delight. My favourite part was coming out of the woods and seeing the sea and the golden beach for the first time. It was so tranquil. From Loe Bar we climbed the steep path up the cliff top and followed the track down into the fishing port of Porthleven.
It was great to meet up with Phil from Ice Trikes and walk along a short section of the Mineral Tramway Trail from Devoran to Bissoe. Ice Trikes have been building high quality recumbent trikes in Falmouth since 1999. They have an exciting range of six different recumbent trike models, each one built to order by an expert team. Unfortunately I am not able to operate the foot pedals but both Gina and Holly used a Trike whilst I used my Davinci Wheelchair and Trailrider. It’s a perfect traffic free trail for cyclist, walkers and horse riders.
My final destination in Cornwall was Lizard Point. We stayed at the YHA and I was really impressed with the facilities there. Polbrean House, the officially name of the Youth Hostel, is located just south of the Lizard Point lighthouse, right on the cliff top, and has the most amazing views out across the North Atlantic Sea. Even though the building retains its Victorian charm, the whole of the ground floor has been made wheelchair accessible. The two accessible rooms are family sized, with a bunk single bed above a double bed. The huge en-suite wet rooms have transfer loos and roll in showers, together with a shower seat.
The track from the YHA down to Lizard Point is quite steep, but you can take your car down there, if you are a blue badge holder. It was worth the push back up the hill just to be able to have a cup of tea at the most southerly café in England. Our walk from here continued up through the village of Lizard and onto the bridleway which leads out to cliff tops at Kynance Cove.
Kynance Cove is not accessible, but the views out to sea from the cliff top are stunning.
It’s fair to say that I have fallen in love with the Cornish Coast and look forward, someday, to be able to go back and explore more accessible walks.