Two all-terrain mobility scooters that can go ‘off road’ have been opening up the Malvern Hills to people who have difficulty walking for years.
The scooters, known as Trampers, are available for hire from Café H2O at the Malvern Hills GeoCentre in Upper Colwall, Malvern from where people can enjoy the popular ridgeway route up to the Worcestershire Beacon. The hire facility is part of nearly 40 outdoor sites in the award-winning Countryside Mobility scheme which helps those with limited mobility to access the countryside and is operated by the charity, Living Options Devon.
Jamboree, a co-operative of adults each of whom have a learning disability which operates Café H2O, have been responsible for fund raising and bringing the initiative to the Malvern Hills. This endeavour has been assisted by a range of local partners including the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Malvern Hills Conservators, Disabled Ramblers, and Key IQ Ltd which manage the Wyche Innovation Centre / Malvern Hills GeoCentre where the Trampers are housed.
Kate Harding, one of the support staff to Jamboree said: “We have been amazed at how many people have supported this initiative and helped us raise the funds to make it a reality. Offering an option for those with limited mobility to hire a Tramper from Café H2O and enjoy the fresh air and amazing views en-route to the Worcestershire Beacon is something we have been excited about for over a year now, and Team Jamboree are so pleased it is now a reality”.
Adrian Burden, Technical Director of Key IQ, adds, “As the Malvern Hills GeoCentre is situated someway up the Malvern Hills with onsite car-parking, integral café, local information, and visitor facilities, this makes for an ideal location to offer the Tramper service and we are delighted to support the initiative.”
Significant funding and support for establishing the scheme at the café was provided through the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s Sustainable Development Fund.
David Armitage, AONB Manager, said: “As an AONB, one of our aims is to increase access opportunities to all people, so we are really pleased to see the Tramper available in one of the most iconic and unspoilt landscapes in the country. We’re sure it will be very well used!”
The project has also gratefully received funding from the Colwall Rotary Club, Malvern Roundtable, Westfest and numerous local benefactors who have made donations big and small at the café. Neil Warren, Countryside Mobility Project Manager, explains more about the opportunities opened up: “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. Those who discover the Trampers love them and are always for looking for new places where that they can explore. We’re delighted to be working with the range of partners at such a popular and scenic site which I’m sure will prove
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 who struggles with walking whether through age, or a permanent or temporary condition. With a top speed of four miles an hour they can keep pace with the briskest walking companion.
On arrival at Café H2O, those wishing to use a Tramper become members of Countryside Mobility, which costs £10.00 per year or £2.50 for 2 week ‘Taster Membership’. Training is provided on how to use a Tramper lasting approximately 10 minutes. As a member they are then able use a Tramper at any of the 36 sites around the South West.
The cost to hire the Tramper from the Centre will then be £5.00 per session, with slots being approximately 10am-12:30pm and 2pm to 4:30pm on days that the Centre and Cafe are open and subject to weather conditions. Advanced booking is strongly recommended by calling 01684 252 414 or emailing email@example.com. More details about Café H2O and the Malvern Hills GeoCentre are available by following the link below:
Full details about Countryside Mobility and a list of the other Tramper locations available can be found on their website linked below or by calling 01392 459 222 .