An all-terrain mobility scooter that can go off road is opening up wildlife and heritage sites on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, to people who have difficulty walking.
The ‘Wild About Weymouth and Portland’ project has teamed up with the Heights Hotel and Countryside Mobility South West to provide the new Tramper scooter for the island.
The Island is one of 30 sites across the region where Trampers are now available including five other locations in Dorset.
The scheme is proving extremely popular with people of all ages who want to get out and enjoy the countryside.
For Ian White, one of the Paralympic Flame Ambassadors for Weymouth & Portland, the Tramper has been an enormous help.
Ian said: “What a great experience I had visiting Tout Quarry on a Tramper. It gave me a safe and comfortable ride over very uneven tracks, where I would not have felt safe walking or using my wheelchair. I’m looking forward very much to my next visit.”
Nevil Salisbury-Rood from Chard, Somerset also used the Tramper and said, “I really enjoy photography and used the Tramper because I can’t walk very far. It allowed me to get around the quarries, which is something I would never be able to do normally because of my bad leg. The sculptures and coastal views are fantastic and I shot some great photos.”
Lyn Cooch, Portland Coastal Ranger added, “Whether you are temporarily unable to get out and about or have longer term mobility issues, the Tramper is available for use to explore the wildlife and heritage on offer on the Island. The island’s quarrying history has shaped the landscape with fascinating archaeological features such as massive dry stone walls, with fossil filled rocks and old horse drawn tramways, tunnels, bridges and arches. There are currently two Tramper routes but the plan is to add more. It is also hoped that in the future an additional Tramper Buggy could be made available at Portland Bill.”
The Trampers can go up and down slopes, over bumps and tree roots, through shallow puddles, mud and soft ground and are for use by anyone aged 14 or over who has a permanent or temporary condition that affects their ability to walk; with a top speed of four miles an hour they can keep pace with the briskest walking companion.
James Maben from Countryside Mobility explains, “Trampers are for everyone who wants to enjoy the countryside but can’t manage much walking. You do not have to be registered as a disabled person, or have a Blue Badge. Many people have found that Trampers have given them back their freedom, enabling them to enjoy time outdoors alone, with their partner or on a family outing.”
To use the Trampers, people simply choose a site and arrange their first visit, joining as members of Countryside Mobility on arrival – costing £10 per year or £2.50 for 4 weeks.
Training is provided on how to use a Tramper lasting approximately 10 minutes along with maps and guidance on where the Tramper can be used, before they are then given a membership card, which enables them to use a Tramper at any partner site without the need for further training.
Both Countryside Mobility and the Wild About Weymouth and Portland projects are supported with a grant from Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme and is being developed through a partnership between organisations that manage countryside sites across the region.
The scheme is now up and running on Portland, so to book the Tramper call 07973 907760 or 01305 228955.
Full details about Countryside Mobility and a list of the other Tramper locations can be found at www.countrysidemobility.org or call 01392 459222.
You can also find out more by following Countryside Mobility on Twitter @CMSouthWest or Facebook CountrysideMobility.