Northumberland visitor attraction seeks funding to make carriage rides accessible for all

Wheelchair visitors to a north Northumberland tourist attraction could soon be able to enjoy a fuller experience.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 10:13 am
Anna Cockburn of Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.
Anna Cockburn of Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.

Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre on Ford and Etal Estates is seeking funding to make its horse-drawn carriage rides wheelchair accessible.

The tours around the farm proved very popular last summer but visitors needed to climb some steps to board the carriage.

It meant those with mobility issues had to wait in the centre while other family members had their turn.

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Anna Cockburn, who drives the carriage and is co-owner of the Heavy Horse Centre with her mum, Viv, decided to carry out some research into specially adapted carriages.

They have identified a model that will allow full access for wheelchair users and others who are unable to use the standard carriage.

Now, they are thrilled to have been selected for the Tesco Bags of Help scheme in the local Tweedmouth store.

If they are successful in receiving funding from this scheme, it will enable them to purchase a specially adapted carriage making all activities at the centre fully accessible. The visitor centre itself is already fully accessible.

Viv said: “We find it heart-breaking to see visitors who are unable to join in the fun of a carriage ride alongside their friends and families, especially as we have always prided ourselves on Hay Farm being an accessible visitor attraction.

“Should we be successful in the Tesco scheme, then once we buy the carriage we will also offer special days for groups of people who are less able-bodied or use a wheelchair to come along and enjoy this facility.”

Anna added: “We are always overwhelmed by the level of support we receive from the public, and so would ask that on this occasion if our supporters are in Tesco at Berwick, please would they consider popping their tokens into our pot.

“It is listed under our charity name, Northumberland Heavy Horse Heritage, and the project name is Wheel-Clyde.

“Fingers crossed that we can get this project up and running.”

The collection point is open until March 31.