Accessible guide for Aisle Barn guests
We thought it might be useful to add in a bit of our local knowledge about the best places to shop, eat and visit in and around Chipley Park. This includes parts of Devon and Dorset which are within an hour’s drive too. During ongoing pandemic chaos please always check before you use this information guide. I have also marked wheelchair accessible activities and places with a big W.
Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Waitrose and Tesco all home deliver groceries to Aisle Barn (TA21 0QU)
As a general note, I highly recommend using and contributing to Euan’s Guide, which is a great way of giving and getting details about the accessibility of venues. We can all contribute to making it more comprehensive!
Local shopping and emergency milk
Milverton has a very good local shop (including Cook frozen meals, meat, diary, veg and baked goods plus the normal) and a pub with food (The Globe W). https://www.facebook.com/MilvertonStores/
Wiveliscombe has the best butchers anywhere, Thornes (park in the car park at the bottom of the village and use the ramped access). Great local outdoor food market every Saturday morning W). Wellington has good local shops and a Waitrose W.
Wellington (10-minute drive) is our local market town and has an excellent range of shops – bakeries, delis, health-food, butchers, supermarkets, etc.
Ling Shooting W: https://www.lingshooting.co.uk/
Abby and Ed Ling’s clay shooting school (4 minute-drive). Has disabled loo, all on one level and enthusiastic about shooting tuition for all. Great family, serious shooting school and our friends and farming neighbours. No also has a farm shop with local eggs, bread, pastries, milk, veg and more. W
The Quantocks AONB: https://www.quantockhills.com/
Sheppy’s Cider W: Tours, a café and shop : http://sheppyscider.com/
West Somerset (heritage) railway W: https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/, disabled access loos at We have disabled/accessible toilets at: Bishops Lydeard, Crowcombe, Heathfield, Stogumber, Watchet, Minehead. More details on accessibility can be found here; https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/accessibility-guide-and-dogs
Haynes Motor Museum W: https://www.haynesmotormuseum.com/
A great, wholly accessible day out near Yeovil, just under one-hour drive.
Fleet Air Museum W: https://www.fleetairarm.com/
Also near Yeovil, we have spent many happy days here. The whole venue is accessible.
Exmoor Zoo W: https://www.exmoorzoo.co.uk/
One of our favourite places to visit. Accessible guide can be found here.
Tropiquaria zoo: https://www.tropiquaria.co.uk/
Mixed levels of access (aquarium is not accessible) but other areas are. Great for kids and a mere 35-minute drive. Ideal to combine with a day on the North coast of Devon.
Hestercombe Gardens W: https://www.hestercombe.com/
Some of the loveliest gardens in Somerset. Great restaurant, gift shop and all accessible. Tramper available to hire, full accessible info here. The gardens are fairly hilly though if you are pushing the chair.
Fyne Court (NT) W: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fyne-court
There is a mobility drop off point by the main court yard which is smf disabled parking, there is also disabled toilet. Around the reserve there is an easy access trail and a Tramper for hire.
Knightshayes House and Gardens https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knightshayes
Lovely 19th century parkland and grand gothic revival architecture – National Trust – with the added bonus of a great new restaurant nearby (The Lost Kitchen) on a terrace (on the flat) which serves delicious wood-fired food, including pizzas, and glorious views.
Parts of the garden are accessible for wheelchairs, other parts not or weather dependent. For their access statement, visit: https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/access-guide/1431730063974-knightshayes.pdf
Exmoor National Park: https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/accessible-exmoor
Lots of trails marked for access with wheelchairs/trampers. Map here. Trampers also available to hire at Heddon Valley, Wimbleball Lake and Dunster Castle.
Valley of the Rocks near Lynton. Roughly 1.5 hour drive, depending on traffic, but worth it for the view. Recommended by one of our visiting families, spectacular view, wild goats, lots of chair accessible paths on the lower slopes, a disabled loo and a great cafe nearby (Mother Meldrum’s Tearoom and Garden). Parking postcode is: Postcode EX35 6JH
Quiet Jurassic Coast beaches, Seaton (paddle boarding and the Seaton Tramway) Accessible details for Tramway can be found here. Seaton also has a wheelchair accessible walking route around the wetlands W: https://theoutdoorguide.co.uk/walks/wheelchair-friendly-walks/rspb-seaton/
Beer and Branscombe. 60-minute drive from us going cross country (avoid dual carriageways and take the direct routes.)
North Devon beaches, approx 45-minute drive: Blue Anchor Minehead
Blue Anchor Beach is a sand and shingle beach alongside the village of Blue Anchor in West Somerset. A great place for a dog walk or Sunday stroll, the beach stretches for miles with views across to Wales and North Hill at Minehead. The shallow gradient allows for a large width of sand, particularly at low tide.
The Driftwood Cafe is a great spot for lunch, a coffee or ice cream W. The Smugglers Inn offers good pub grub and a pint, towards the east end of the beach.
Porlock Weir (1 -1.5 hour drive) is often overlooked (and thus quieter) but has a cracking pub, quirky harbour and great food options. There is fine dining at Locanda on the Weir, but we highly recommend the pub, The Bottom Ship. Sit outside on a sunny day and eat crab sandwiches by the sea. https://porlockweir.co/
Burnham-on-Sea: https://theoutdoorguide.co.uk/walks/visit-somerset-walks/steart-marshes-nature-reserve-walk/ Wheelchair accessible routes W.
Woolacombe Beach (1.30 hr) surfing and paddleboarding
Kilve beach (rockpooling and fossil hunting) 45-minute drive https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/south-west-england/somerset/kilve.htm
Beaches further afield
but a favourite with local surfing mates is Slapton Sands (1.30hr drive) it is vast, and even if ‘busy’ there is bags of room. https://www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk/things-to-do/slapton-sands-and-torcross-beach-p183983
Sidmouth and Lyme Regis are also less than an hour, but more likely to be busy in summer.
Wimbleball Lake (40 minute drive) W: https://www.swlakestrust.org.uk/wimbleball-lake
A stunning spot towards the South East of Exmoor, Wimbleball Lake is well worth a visit. A reservoir lake, the area is open to the public for watersports, walking and other outdoor activities. Managed by the charity the South West Lakes Trust, the site is promoted for recreational use by the public. There are facilities such as an all-terrain wheelchair and ‘wheelyboat’ available, changing rooms and showers, as well as a cafe and children’s play area. Also offers trout fishing. Telephone numbers: Wimbleball Watersports Centre 01398 371 460 Head Office 01566 771930
The Bear Trail:https://www.thebeartrail.co.uk/ My kids LOVE it, mud, lots of it, and an assault course. Great pizzas and a pic nic area. Lots of level access, accessibility guide here. Need to book. https://www.thebeartrail.co.uk/
Tarr Steps (take a pic nic, the pub can get busy): https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/tarr-steps
White Post Café in Langford Budville W: https://www.whitepostcafe.com/
5 minute drive or nice 30-minute walk to and from on mostly footpaths. Great accessible plant nursery next to the café: https://www.white-post.co.uk/ . Wheelchair accessible and accessible bathroom. Worth booking:
The Martlet Inn in Langford Budville: https://www.facebook.com/THEMARTLETINN
The nearest pub In Langford Budville, is wheelchair accessible (loo not disabled access) and serves good pub grub W.
The Rock Inn in Waterrow W: http://www.rockinnwaterrow.co.uk/
Wheelchair accessible (although the loo is not a disabled access loo) and serves spectacularly good food. Roaring log fire.
The Anchor Inn in Hilfarrance is also accessible and good pub grub (booking essential at the moment) W
The Culm Valley Inn in Culmstock is fab W: https://www.theculmvalley.co.uk/
Bridge Inn at Dulverton is lovely W: https://www.thebridgeinndulverton.com/
The Lost Kitchen near Tiverton W (20 minute drive) is getting rave reviews for food and atmosphere since it has opened, and great for combining with a day at Knighthayes National Trust house and Gardens. https://www.lostkitchen.co.uk/
River Exe Café: www.riverexecafe.com. This might be challenging (depending on the tides) with a wheelchair so call and talk to the friendly staff. Amazing seafood on a boat in the Exe estuary.
Wild swimming options
Our lake (has big carp in it but nothing nasty).
Spitchwick Common on Dartmoor is a favourite wild swimming destination for families in summer. There’s nearby parking and it’s a great place for picnics and ball games with its wide grassy river banks. Wild Swimming says: “Peaty water, clean from the mountain, this is the most popular and accessible Dart swimming location, especially in summer. Also known as Deeper Marsh, it has been a bathing place for generations. Grassy flats lead to rocky river shore, deeper on far side with high cliff behind.”
Watersmeet is a well-known area of gorgeous woodland and river walks which is part of the National Trust. It is a bit further into Devon (80-min drive) There are National Trust tea rooms at the start of the river with some small plunge pools. If you follow the river downstream a long ravine opens out — Long Pool. The ravine is surrounded by overgrown ferns and oaks and even has its very own waterfall.
Though this is a stretch of the river, it does open out to more of a pool and therefore is usually very still, and relatively safe. Be sure to watch out for the plentiful wildlife, although the shade can make the water look dark, there are many varieties of fish to keep your eyes open for. Out of the water, it is the perfect place for bird watching and spotting a dragonfly or two.