On Saturday 28 April, I went with my cousin’s family to see the Bluebells in the woods at Ashridge Estate. They really were amazing, there must be something in the soil that makes them clustered together in such a way because sometimes it was like a field.
My cousin’s husband spent a short time in a wheelchair himself so he is aware of places that offer good wheelchair accessibility and he’d told me about this place before. The 1st thing that I saw was a good number of disabled parking spots, a good sign that the place is going to be wheelchair accessible. Not only are the trails wheelchair accessible because they are concrete paths but you can also borrow mobility vehicles. (which are actually golf buggies) and somebody or you can drive them and then the other people in your party can have a cheeky piggyback on the rear of the vehicle if they want a free ride!
the Bluebells really were beautiful, and there were pockets of them throughout the forest. You were just rubber-necking around to see where the next patch would be. Even though it was raining, it was totally worth it.
When we returned to the centre, I went to the accessible toilet which was a reasonable size. It was a bit ramshackle but then what do you expect in the middle of a forest?!
Later on, we went past another area called Dockey Woods which is so popular it has actually had a fence put round the bluebells patch to protect it. This area is not where the mobility vehicle is so we just saw it from the car. Again, I cannot describe how spectacular it is, a thick blanket-like covering of bluebells. Beautiful!
The next place we visited was a nearby nature reserve called College Lake. This also has mobility vehicles but these are a little bit different because they are one-person vehicles and you drive yourself. As a partially sighted individual that can’t use their hands (not to mention my terrible spatial awareness that has nothing to do with my MS but definitely doesn’t help when I need to drive something, whether it is a wheelchair or a more sizeable vehicle), seen that this would definitely not be a good idea for me to try out. Visions of the potential of me driving into the lake or taking out a peaceful flock of nesting birds abounded in my mind!
We made do with just going to the 1st wheelchair accessible hide which looked out over the lake and was active with birdlife. I couldn’t really see many of birds but the birdsong coming from the lake area was beautiful and we stayed there for quite a while.
Despite the rain, I had a fantastic wheelchair accessible day and I would fully recommend this adventure to any wheelchair users who like beautiful outdoor excursions :-).