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Rebecca Herbert: Getting around South London as a wheelchair user

Spring has almost sprung so it is time to ramble and explore.

Rambling has the benefits of being outdoors while enjoying beautiful scenery, wildlife and fresh air as well as the added bonus of meeting new people and creating a healthy habit.

The Ramblers is Britain’s biggest charity working to promote the enjoyment and discovery the outdoors can bring and respect for the life of the countryside.

Rebecca Herbert

The Ramblers supports work to make both the urban and rural walking environment more accessible to people with limited mobility and wheelchair users.

This includes improving the accessibility of the footpath network, access land and managed green spaces, so long as this is done appropriately to the environment, avoiding excessive “urbanisation” of the countryside.

Although London may not seem like an obvious location for a ramble, there are more than 4,000 members living here, making Inner London one of the most populous areas for walkers to live in the UK.

The Thames Path is the most rambled path in the country. Routes nearby include the Chilterns, South Downs, South Coast, Kent, Essex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, as well as further afield.

I spoke to Nomi Adler (pictured above) from Wimbledon about her rambling.

Are you a wheelchair user?

Yes. I have used a wheelchair all my life. I use an electric chair and I have an off-roader for rambling.

How did you get into rambling and why?

I have always loved nature and the countryside. I used to drive into the country just because I enjoyed being outdoors and breathing in the fresh air. Then one day about 10 years ago I heard an article on the radio about rambling in a wheelchair and that was the beginning of my wonderful hobby.

When and where do you go?

There are about 50 planned rambles all over England and Scotland. They take place every week between March and October.

Some of them even last four days. There are no official rambles in London but we are very lucky to have many beautiful parks and commons which are accessible.

I go on my own with my carer and have never encountered any difficulties.

Richmond Park is very easy to ride as it is nine miles round with a gravel path.

Hampstead Heath is lovely with asphalt paths making it comfortable and Battersea Park, Hyde Park, Greenwich Park and Wandsworth Common are also very good.

Everyone can properly explore their local park and find it suitable for rambling.

Not to be forgotten are our beautiful river tow paths which are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters.

“We are very lucky in London to have such a wide selection of places to choose from.”

The Disabled Ramblers is a small charity working across England and Wales to help make the countryside more accessible to people with mobility scooters.

They run 25-30 rambles a year, organised into groups of three or four in selected areas of the country.

The 2018 rambles are in Sussex, the Peak District, the North York Moors, Exmoor, Northumberland & Scottish Borders, and the New Forest.

Tim Morgan founded Mountain Trike Ltd just a year after completing his first prototype in the final-year of his degree.

As a keen mountain biker, he recognised there was a gap in the market for wheelchairs that were off road outcome was the Mountain Trike.

A revolutionary all-terrain wheelchair that offers freedom and independence to travel off the beaten track to explore.

The unique lever drive system allows the user to independently propel, steer and apply the hydraulic brakes while maintaining clean and dry hands in all weathers.

In 2015, a further two products were added to the range – the MT Evo, adapted for users with limited hand function and the MT Push – a buddy/attendant chair, adapted for users who struggle to self-propel.

Experience centres allow you to try products out or hire them so the countryside can be more accessible.

Tim said: “It is so satisfying to know that my design is helping people enjoy the countryside and experience greater freedom, independence and improved health/fitness.”

Benidorm Live from March 11-16.
The official world premiere of  the ITV comedy Benidorm is set to bring sunshine and smiles to the UK and Ireland. New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QG Access Booking line: 0800 912 6971 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Lass O’ Richmond Hill
The pub is located opposite Richmond Park and is on street level.
It has a carpark and disabled toilet. 8 Queen’s Road, Richmond TW10 6JJ

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