Adventures for all on Exmoor

Adventures for all on Exmoor
Image supplied 

By Ellise Hollie Hayward, Disabilities Correspondent

Amongst the hills of Devon’s Exmoor countryside, nestled in pine forests and beyond a tranquil reservoir, you’ll find Calvert Exmoor; a Gold Standard AHOEC accredited accessible activity centre.

Removing barriers and enabling people with physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities through adventure is something they do daily.

Built around a Victorian farmstead, they were established as an activity centre in 1996 with onsite accessible accommodation, activity facilities and catering.

What can you do there, I hear you ask? Well, it’s not exactly a short list. Activities can span from climbing and abseiling, archery and zipwire to bike riding, orienteering and more.

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Calvert Exmoor are also lucky enough to have exclusive use of Wistlandpound Reservoir, around which they can deliver cycling and canoeing.

Their ingenuity with accessibility for these sports is something to behold.

For example, when delivering canoeing sessions, some guests, who may spend their time in a bespoke wheelchair that perfectly fits their body and needs, are carefully hoisted from a dock into a simple but effective (and incredibly cosy) bean bag within the canoe!

This ensures comfort for the guest and, alongside the clever rafting of the canoes, guarantees stability too.

On the very same site is also Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre; a British Horse Society (BHS) and Riding for the Disabled (RDA) approved fully accessible riding school offering horseback and carriage riding.

The staff at the centre are incredibly knowledgeable, considerate and patient, ensuring that guests and their four-hoofed friends are both comfortable and confident at all times.

Outside of activity sessions, guests and their families or school groups can be found relaxing in the TV or sensory rooms, listening to the birds in the courtyard garden or even dipping in the heated swimming pool and jacuzzi.

With wetrooms, hoists, electric beds and even a room for charging wheelchairs, it’s a place of not only acceptance but celebration of difference.

This is proven by the dedication of their compassionate, conscientious and highly qualified staff.

After visiting the centre in August this year, Jane, who attended with her father and her son, said that the staff were ‘enthusiastic, knowledgeable and totally safety conscious… while simultaneously delivering fun, exciting activities that were matched to every participant’s ability’.

Jane’s son has autism and her father, aged 85, is living with dementia and their experience was one of fun, sensitivity and supportive community:

“My dad, who will be 86 next month, recently revealed a long-held ambition to ride a horse for the first time. He watches a lot of cowboy films and loves John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. So, after searching around, I found Calvert Exmoor. Right from my initial contact, I knew this would be the right place to fulfil my dad’s dream.”

“My overriding happiest memory is of my dad and son riding horses named Ruby and Rodney, watched and cheered on by all our new carer and caree friends, accompanied by the theme to The Good The Bad and The Ugly!”

It might be surprising to know that Calvert Exmoor is actually a charity and relies heavily on donations and volunteers to subsidise the costs associated with running the centre and giving the best possible experience to their guests.

However, they have made it clear that they want not only physical but also financial accessibility to be at the forefront when guests are booking their experience at Calvert.

They have a bursary scheme that offers financial help to those who are struggling during the current cost-of-living crisis and encourage those who feel unable to afford a break like this to apply during their booking process.

And, in case you’re looking for a way to escape the wintry gloom, Calvert Exmoor will be doing festive-themed Christmas breaks and Tinsel horse rides too!

Head to for more information and get your adventure booked in…

For more stories from Ellise and Jill Dando News click here

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