We hosted our first Wye Adventure Camp at the end of September, enabling 10 people with disabilities to take part in some kayaking and downhill biking in the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley. The camp was very successful and so much fun!
“I haven't felt so alive since before my injury
and it's given me so much confidence”
We did 2 recces leading up to the camp; checking out accommodation options and meeting with the activity providers to organise logistics.
The Dome Garden totally hit the spot - it definitely beats staying in a boring hotel! It’s glamping in a stunning location, giving you the opportunity to experience outdoor living, with the added comforts of raised beds and en-suite bathrooms. For many people with a disability, camping is a daunting prospect. We made sure people knew beforehand that if they were looking for hospital-grade accessibility, this wasn’t the camp for them! Getting around the site was a challenge for the wheelchair users in the group, but everyone embraced it, improving wheelchair skills and overcoming obstacles along the way. Johnny was the perfect host and couldn’t have been more accommodating for the group, plus the food was incredible!
Kayaking was the first activity on the itinerary – a paddle from Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat with Monmouth Canoe & Activity Centre. With a group size of 17 (including 8 wheelchair users and 2 others with disabilities), this presented a few logistical challenges! The kayak instructors took it all in their stride though, making the process run as smoothly & efficiently as possible, checking everyone was comfortable and that all abilities were catered for. With stunning scenery and a riverside picnic, it was a great way for the group to bond, making new friends and sharing experiences.
The group split for the following two days, with half taking part in more kayaking (including an intro to white water), and the other half trying Downhill Biking in the Forest of Dean.
Rough Riderz did an incredible job running the biking sessions, with support from Pedalabikeaway. The group had the use of three 4-wheeled gravity bikes, with the instructor in a fourth. The Launch Pad trail is a perfect for beginners - the UK’s first dedicated gravity biking trail, designed for 4 wheels as well as 2.
There were big smiles all round, obvious even behind the full-face helmets! The Rough Riderz team put everyone at ease before hitting the trail, then built the pace along with confidence.
“It was amazing to feel the adrenaline for the first time in years”
Many of the participants said the camp exceeded all expectations. The camp was an incredible experience for all involved – staff, volunteers and participants. Access Adventures would love to make this an annual event - introducing more people with disabilities to the area and the positive benefits it can bring.
“The camp has genuinely helped change my life. I have now learnt to kayak,
had a go at Downhill Mountain biking and even gone glamping! Access
Adventures has made me realise that anything is possible if you have the
belief and confidence to push your own boundaries”
Thanks to a grant from the Forest of Dean District Council, plus support from The Dome Garden, Access Adventures were able to offer this camp at a subsidised cost to the participants, making it accessible for all.
Check out the photos here
It rounded off a really successful year for us, we’re excited to introduce more people to adventures in 2017!