6 April 2020
Access Out There has been dormant for about 18 months. The site has been available to view and the team have been out there at many places around the UK but we haven’t been updating the website. We are sorry we have been making you wait if you have been looking for our next visits. Currently, in April 2020 we find ourselves not being able to go out there in fact the government are telling us to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. So this is a perfect opportunity for the Access Out There team to look at our backlog of trips and get them posted on the website. None of us can go out at the moment so hopefully if we can share what we found when went out there, you will enjoy watching and maybe it’ll give you some ideas about where to go when we are all free to roam again.
Some of the trips we are going to post over the next few weeks are from trips out there a few years ago. This means that things may have changed a bit at the places which we feature, so the main thing is to enjoy out posts and if and when you do go out there yourselves see how things have improved.
Today we are reporting on a trip we made on beautiful August day back in 2016 (see I told you we had a backlog!) to Westonbirt National Arboretum. This was a great afternoon out with some old friends. The Tree Top Walkway was a highlight, and if you like majestic trees this should be right up your alley. Go to the Westonbirt link on the places out there page to see our day out there.
18 November 2018
Access Out There has recently been out there at the Bedford River Valley Park. In the 1960s Dr Beeching identified thousands of miles of railway routes for closure. Possibly one of the few benefits of these closures is that in many parts of the country the disused railway routes have been turned into walking or cycle paths which by their nature are relatively easy to traverse and therefore give a great opportunity for all abilities to go out there. We at Access Out There have already visited one on the Camel trail in Cornwall so finding one relatively close to our Bedfordshire base was not to be missed. The route in question is Cycle Route 51 between Bedford and Sandy. We set out to walk part of the route, from Priory Country Park in Bedford to Danish Camp which is about half way to Sandy. This part of the route is known as the Bedford River Valley Park. It is an easy walk, and a good opportunity to get fresh air and exercise in the countryside and beside the Great Ouse River where there is plenty to see. Go to the Beds River Valley link on the places out there page to see our day out there and maybe inspire you to plan your own.
29 October 2018
Access Out There has been very quiet for a long time but we’re back in business with a look at Stowe near Buckingham which we have visited a few times. Our report shows it as it was during two visits in 2016 but we have visited again earlier this year so we know that it hasn’t changed much. We have not visited Stowe House which is open to the public, but is not a National Trust property. The gardens and estate are National Trust. You can do relatively easy level walks around the lakes as we did on our first visit, or be more adventurous if you have the energy and do the long walks around the temples though this will require some uphill graft! We did both in our visits Out There. See how we got on by following the link to Stowe here or from the places out there page. And please find the time to watch the videos which will give you a good idea of the terrain we had to deal with.
17 May 2017
On the sunny day last week Access Out There made a return trip to Greys Court. This has become perhaps our favourite National Trust property to visit. Our first visit was in April 2016. So today we have published a new page in Places out there which shows our day Out There in April 2016 with John and Sue, where cherry blossom and bluebells were the stars of the day. We have updated it with pictures from last week, a month later in the year, showing how the gardens transform and while the bluebells are still there and beautiful, the stunning wisteria in the gardens steal the show. We are sure that Greys Court has something to delight whatever time of year you go Out There. To have a look at how we got on with both of our visits follow the link on places out there.
Also on 17th May 2017
In March we published a page about our day Out There at Attingham Park. Since then Claire, the Visitor Experience manager at Attingham, has been in touch with us to let us know that they are in the process of updating their Access Statement document which will be made available on their website. We have just looked for it on the site and were not able to find it yet ... but it’s worth checking before you go to see if you can find it. When we went Out There we were able to go and see the upper floors of the mansion at Attingham Park because there is a lift which Richard with Titania were able to use. Claire pointed out that “Restrictions are in place to use the lift. We would encourage anyone who is unsure about the accessibility of the Mansion to contact the property before they visit so we can check if these restrictions apply”. Sensible advice if you don’t want to be disappointed. Thanks to Claire for taking the time to read our report and providing feedback which is always appreciated from any of our readers. You can use the Contact us page to do this.
30th March 2017
Our first trip Out There into Wales was to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle. It was the last trip from our early April 2016 weekend base in Shrewsbury and the rain of the previous days had given way to grey but dry. The original Castle was built for Edward I as part of his suppression of the Welsh. It has survived its 700 year history looking good so there is much to see there as well as good walks around the grounds and woodland in the 480 acres of the estate. Go to the Chirk Castle link from the places out there page to see how we got on.
20th March 2017
It was a wet morning when we found ourselves Out There at the National Trust’s Attingham Park near Shrewsbury in April 2016 so we spent the first couple of hours in the dry going around the magnificent Georgian mansion which is set in the rolling park land. As the sun came out so did we, going for a walk among the daffodils beside the river before visiting yet another walled garden. We hope you enjoy our visit Out There which you can read on the Attingham Park link from the places out there page.
25th February 2017
In early spring of last year we spent a long weekend in Shrewsbury which gave us the opportunity to go Out There in the Midlands. Our first visit was en route so it was more of a stop-over than an all day Access Out There event. The journey break was at the National Trust property at Croome. However, we will need a longer visit as there is so much to see with Croome Court, an impressive house set in parkland which was Capability Brown’s first commission. We didn’t have the time to do it justice. So Access Out There mainly visited the Walled Garden at Croome. The original cobbled and rough paved paths do cause some issues for people with limited mobility but there is plenty of interest in the gardens and glass houses if you are feeling adventurous. See how we got on around the difficult paths of the Walled Garden at Croome by following the link from the places out there page.
4th February 2017
Wow ... we intended to publish the report on Hughenden Manor before Christmas but here we are in February. It would have been more appropriate in December as the National Trust property Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire was decked out in Victorian Christmas splendour when Access Out There visited.
Titania managed the ground floor of the house with no problem, though the rest of the team needed to report back on the other floors. The walled garden was interesting despite being in the depth of winter, and then there was an afternoon of madness getting Titania round a woodland walk in the parkland through mud tracks and drifts of leaves.
Madness but fun! To see a reminder of Christmas and our madness going Out There follow the Hughenden Manor link from the places out there page.
30th October 2016
The last day of our Cornish holiday in 2015 was a beautiful early October day. It was the perfect day to go Out There down the Camel trail. This is a walk which has been created on a disused railway line from Bodmin to Padstow running beside the Camel river and estuary. The Camel Trail runs through an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and on a beautiful day it cannot be beaten. The path was well maintained, and with no gradients for Titania to deal with, and along the way there many interesting birds we spotted. Access Out There did the trail from Wadebridge to Padstow which is roughly half of the whole trail. To see how we got on Out There - follow the Camel Trail link from the places out there page.
24th October 2016
Last October we spent a day, avoiding the heavy Cornwall showers Out There at the Eden Project. The iconic Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes are high on the list of must-visit attractions in the UK. Have you been there yet? Built in 2000 on the site of China Clay Pit it is very accessible for Titania. There were sloping paths, but we found options for avoiding them (especially the uphills!). We’ve added a commentary to the videos for the first time, and would love to get your feedback (contact us page) on them. To see how we got on when we went round the Biomes and the gardens follow the Eden Project link from our places out there page.
4th October 2016
At last The Lost Gardens of Heligan are revealed to the readers of Access-out-there almost a year after our visit to this magic corner of Cornwall. The gardens cover around 200 acres and not all of it is accessible to Titania or to anyone with mobility issues. However 200 acres is a lot and there is a great deal that everyone can get round easily, and more to those happy to put in a little bit more effort. We thoroughly enjoyed the day trip we made out there and we hope you enjoy reading how we fared on the day. Follow the Lost Gardens of Heligan link from our places out there page.
19th July 2016
During the summer months we are more likely to be out there rather than inside writing up or editing videos for Access-out-there. This means that we are building up a bit of a backlog of places out there. So don’t despair more reports are coming very soon ... starting with the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Meanwhile we recently went on holiday to Northern Cyprus, staying in the David and Judy's villa "Serendipity". While we were there we made a short video for them showing the accessibility of the villa from Titania’s view point. So, though not strictly an Access-out-there project, here is a taste of our summer break, at "Serendipity" a Titania friendly villa in Lapta near Girne (Kyrenia) in Northern Cyprus.
2nd June 2016
The next of the Cornwall week reports takes you out there with us for a walk around Mevagissey harbour. Not one of our normal countryside walks or visits to a stately pile, but when anyone goes to Cornwall they will spend a while in a picturesque fishing village. How does our little visit compare to your last trip to seaside Cornwall? Find out by following the Mevagissey link from the places out there page.
23rd May 2016 – Ashridge update
A couple of weeks ago we made our annual trip to see the bluebells at Ashridge. ( go to Ashridge Estate, Herts to see last year’s report) The bluebells were earlier this year and as beautiful as ever.
The National Trust had made some changes though. There is now a fence along the road so you can only get into the wood through a single gate. The gate is wide enough, but has a nasty slope down into the wood.
Last year we had found an easier point to gain access to the wood and although through the gate was still manageable with Titania, Di’s help was needed. We think the reason for this change is to enable the Estate to charge for access to the woods at peak times, and also to prevent motorbikes from gaining access to the woods and damaging the bluebell carpet. On a positive point they have removed most of the logs which were strategically laid across paths last year ... although we did have to turn around when we came to this one!
21st May 2016
Our second day of the Cornwall week was spent going out there for a long walk around the moody Forestry Commission Cardinham Woods. The murky damp day added to the atmosphere. The trail we chose to go around the woods was a relatively easy path for Titania to negotiate running along the tree-clad valley beside the forest stream. You can see how we got on at the Cardinham Woods link from the places out there page.
5th April 2016
A weeks holiday in Cornwall in October 2015 was planned as a week of getting out there with walks in the Cornish countryside and on the coast. The first day we started with an easy one at the National Trust site of St Anthony’s Head on the South West Coast Path where there are circular walks around the Roseland peninsular. There are great views, birds to watch, and the remains of a Victorian gun battery to see, so we enjoyed our walk out there on a blustery day. You can see how we got on at the St Anthony’s Head link from the places out there page.
18th March 2016
The latest page on Access out there is about our local stomping ground of Rushmere Country Park. Managed by the Greensand Trust this 400 acre park is covered with woodland and is criss-crossed with trails which are of varying suitability for Titania or anyone of reduced mobility. Many of the paths are broad and have a good surface and are easy, but others will provide more of a challenge. There is plenty to see out there and a great draw in the spring is the view of the heronry by the lake. This can be seen from the comfort of the cafe and visitor centre so you don’t even have to exert yourselves too much to enjoy these magnificent birds tending their chicks. Go to the Rushmere link from the places out there page to see more of what you can find out there in Rushmere Country Park.
7th March 2016
With all this going out there trekking through difficult ground we are always happy to stumble (excuse the pun) across some innovation to make Titania’s task easier. In October last year we did just that when we discovered the FreeWheel ( ref www.gofreewheel.com ). The FreeWheel (yes it is a wheel and it is free as in “free range” not as in no money!) is an extra wheel which clips securely onto the front of Titania and has the effect of lifting her small stone catching, root tripping wheels off the ground.
Instead the FreeWheel takes the load, and being larger it rides over the rough ground without the mishaps which used to dog Titania when Richard wasn’t paying enough attention. Over the last few months we have found our adventures out there revolutionised (oops another pun?) by this wheel. Leafy woodland paths with hidden roots and potholes are less risky, grass is less taxing, and gravel no longer the hindrance it once was. The clip below shows how much adding the FreeWheel has smoothed Titania’s ride. The Before and After films were both shot on the same path at different times at Rushmere Country Park in Bedfordshire. (To be the subject of the next Access Out There report coming any day now.)
So you will now notice in some of the film shot by Titania’s eye the FreeWheel in the foreground. We hope it doesn’t detract from the place out there which is the subject of the film. We think the film will be less “bouncy” which should make it easier to watch .. let us know what you think.
23rd February 2016
Oh dear, there has been a bit of time lapse between the last trip and this latest report of our day out there at the Henry Moore Foundation. Unfortunate technical issues (my laptop broke!) followed by other priorities has prevented a timely report. But no matter .. here it is now. A day out with friends at the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green in Hertfordshire on a sunny day in September 2015 was a great outdoor day with woodland walk while also being full of culture getting up close and personal with the magnificent works of art produced by Henry Moore. Go to the Henry Moore, Herts link from the places out there page to see the sculptures we got to know on our day out there.
17th November 2015
On a bright September afternoon we went out there to Ascott House a National Trust house and garden a couple of miles from Leighton Buzzard. It is only open to visitors for about six months of the year and is well worth a visit. The part of the house on view is easily accessible and the gardens are extensive and on a beautiful day are a delight. The Ascott Circle is fantastic, and the Lily Pond is tranquil and the mounds and moats in the Lynn Garden are modern and fascinating.
Go to the Ascott House link from the places out there page to find out what we saw on our visit.
29th October 2015
As promised we are starting to get through the backlog of visits out there to tell you about. The first of them was while we were dodging rain on the banks of Loch Fyne in Scotland. Inveraray Castle was well worth a visit, the armoury was spectacular. Unfortunately the rain put us off wandering the 16 acres of grounds which are reportedly superb – maybe next time, in which case we will tell you all about them. Instead the next day we went out there to Ardkinglas Woodland Garden which was full of magnificent “Champion trees” and delightful red squirrels. Go to the link on the Places out there page to find out more.
1st October 2015
During the summer months we build up a backlog of visits out there to write up, so if you think that we have been quiet over the last few weeks, don’t panic we have visits to Inveraray Castle, Ardkinglas woodland garden, Ascott House and the Henry Moore Foundation in the pipeline with more following. These will materialise over the next two or three months.
Meanwhile, when we do publish one of our visits we email the site visited to let them know what we have said. Mostly these communications go unacknowledged. An exception is the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). When they read our out there review of College Lake they responded very positively saying they would improve access where we had indicated problems. So we were delighted to see this in action when we went back out there recently (we are regular visitors because it is local to us). It’s a small thing really, fixing one of the outside tables at the cafe so that it is easier for a wheelchair user to sit at the table but well done BBOWT!
6th August 2015
Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury is a popular National Trust site. On our day Out there we found the gardens, Aviary, a woodland walk, a Henry Moore exhibition and some good food all before spending the afternoon going around the house which unlike so many old buildings had a lift which enabled Titania to take Richard round the second floor and enjoy the grandeur of the rooms and the fascinating collections. Read about Waddesdon Manor in our latest addition to the Places out there page. We’ve tried a new innovation on this page including a “Waddesdon Manor in a 60 seconds” video clip. Give it a go and let us know what you think on our Contact us page!
20th May 2015
A sunny Spring evening was a perfect time to go to the bluebell woods in the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate. We were really just going Out there for a brief walk and to enjoy the bluebells so Titania didn’t have her GoPro eye on, but we were reminded that she did bring it with her on an earlier visit last October. The result is a short tale of two Ashridge trips. Read it in our latest addition to the Places out there page.
5th May 2015
Not all of our trips Out There turn out to be easy for Titania. Accessibility of woodland walks can be a subjective view. Our walk around the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) site at Finemere Wood Nature Reserve near Aylesbury is a case in point. Perhaps we should have taken note that the only way in was over a stile next to the locked gate on the track in as a sign that Titania would find this a problem. But - it was a sunny warm day, and had taken us a while to find the place, and we had come Out There for a walk. You can read and watch the adventures with film from Titania’s point of view on our latest page. More film than pictures this one but please find a few minutes to see how we got on, especially if you are thinking of going Out There to Finemere Wood yourself, you need to know what you have to contend with!
1st April 2015
Rievaulx Terrace provided us with a pleasant short break Out There when travelling one day last October. From the 18th Century landscaped terrace we were presented with magnificent views of the impressive Rievaulx Abbey in the valley below. Once again Titania had her GoPro camera running so we have uploaded a new page in Places Out There with quite a bit of video and some photos to enjoy the views Out There at Rievaulx Terrace so you can be inspired to go Out There yourself. Have a look at the new page and let us know what you think...
29th March 2015
Last August we went Out There to visit the National Trust property at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. We didn’t have long enough there, but it was a wonderful place to visit and we really enjoyed the walk round the grounds and gardens. Titania had her GoPro camera running so we have uploaded a new page in Places Out There with quite a bit of video and some photos to give you an idea of what is Out There at Calke Abbey so you can be inspired to go Out There yourself. Have a look at the new page and let us know what you think...
3rd March 2015.
We’ve been a bit slow getting days Out There from last summer properly formatted and added to the Places Out There pages, but they will come soon. Meanwhile we are pushing ahead with 2015 and so you will find a new short visit to Moggerhanger Park in Bedfordshire. Go to the Places Out There page to see how we got on with our hunt for sun and snowdrops in February.