Lancashire Holiday Cottages News and Offers
Accessibility for Disabled Guests
I am getting more and more enquiries about the facilities that we have for guests who are disabled, or who are just not very mobile and not good with stairs, although disabilities come in all shapes and sizes.
Just in time for the Christmas guests 2016, the alterations and refurbishmentsI planned for the ground floor wet rooms in Mole End were completed. The large en-suite to the double room is now more accessible to guests. The basin has been replaced with a large style wide basin that a wheelchair can be wheeled under, so that guests can actually use the basin and place toiletries on the shelves either side of the washing area. There is a large illuminated fancy new mirror, which comes down to the basin, so that both sitting and standing guests can see themselves in it!
More grab and hand rails have been put in strategic positions. There is a flip down grab rail either side of the toilet. In the large wet room style shower area, there are also two flip down grab rails enclosing the space for more security and stability. The seat in the shower area also folds down, but we do have a separate free standing shower chair if guests would prefer. In addition there is another round grab / toiletries rail in the shower area, to provide additional support and avoid the need for reaching down to get items from the floor.
At one side of the bath is a horizontal rail, using this together with one of the fold down rails, gives more support for those guests that wish to use the bath.
We have completed these alterations with expensive and stylish fittings, which still make the room very attractive, yet functional. The multiple grab rails enabling someone (and it was me!) to swing around from the toilet to the basin to the shower area. Amazing what a different perspective you can put on things with personal experience!
These improvements have now also now (May 2017) been completed in the ground floor en suite bedrooms of Woodpecker cottage .
The en-suite of bedroom with the double and single bed, has had the basin replaced by the new wheelchair accessible style. Again, the new large mirrors which are illuminated by touch. The toilet which is in the middle of the wall underneath the window, has stainless steel fold down grab rails on either side. A douche spray has also been installed.
In the huge wet room type shower area, there is now a 'rain' shower and separate hose. Two fold down stainless steel grab rails and a large fold down seat. If guests feel comfier with a plastic shower chair, we can also put this in there for you. This is probably the shower room which is the most suitable for guests in wheelchairs, due to the size and ease of getting around.
The en-suite to the ground floor room with the king size bed has also been completely refurbished. The new style basin and mirror, rain shower and hose,in the large shower area, plus douche spray to the toilet. There is a bath in this room and we have put grab rails above the bath to assist guests getting in and out.
Last July 2015, I (Sue) woke one morning and to my shock and horror, discovered that my legs wouldn't walk. I spent 11 weeks in hospital, part of which in a spinal injury rehab unit. It was discovered that I had contracted an infection in my bloodstream which travelled to my spine. I underwent spinal surgery, but the infection had compressed my spinal cord and amongst other things, damaged the surrounding blood vessels and other essential bits.
It has been a long process and any more improvement to my mobility is not expected.. I now alternate between using a wheelchair and walking badly with sticks. Having previously been a healthy and fit person, out walking the dogs twice a day, between 5 and 6 miles every day. It's been a difficult time, although it has given me a greater understanding and an appreciation of many things, plus also which facilities can help,
Our youngest daughter, Callie, who is now 15 years old, has Downs Syndrome. She can be a whirlwind and despite being our third child, sometimes it is like having a little alien in the family - and I mean that in a nice way!
At the end of August 2010, Callie needed an emergency operation to have a large metal pin put in her right hip - she had been complaining just for a few days that her knee was hurting. For those of you with medical knowledge, it was a 'slipped upper femoral ephysis'. After the operation, she spent 17 weeks in a wheelchair with strict orders not to put any weight on her legs. Just a year and 2 weeks after this first operation, she was struggling to walk and within 2 days was in hospital to pin the other hip. Two further operations followed, which meant more months of being confined to a wheelchair. During these periods, we discovered quite a lot about which places, towns, restaurants and shops were actually wheelchair accessible. So, we do have some personal experience of 'Special Needs' and 'physical disabilities' and will always do whatever we can to assist guests in having a comfortable and successful stay with us.
I thought I would try and describe what our cottages are like, from that you may be able to work out if they will be suitable for your needs. Ideally, I will contact you and discuss these details prior to accepting a booking to ensure that we have the facilities that you require. All the cottages are inspected annually and have been graded as 5 Stars Gold Self Catering by Visit England.
Out of our five cottages, four have been officially graded Mobility 1 by the Enjoy England. I will be having them reassessed this year,2018, to take account the changes we have carried out. Mobility 1, means that a person is able to walk up a staircase with assistance, which might require as little as a handrail! However we,have done better than just that, although with Partridge, Piggeries and the Old Stables being conversions of the existing farm buildings, we have been more restricted with the room sizes and shapes.
All the cottages have wide doorways and raised electrical sockets. All except the Piggeries have ramp level access to the main entrance. Each property also has their own Miele washing machine and seperate tumble dryer. These facilities are not shared and are provided in each cottage.
From June 2014 we have changed the ground floor bedroom furniture in both Mole End and Woodpecker cottages. The previous twin bedrooms have had one of the single beds replaced with a double bed. We felt that our adult guests who had booked to use these rooms, would be more comfortable in a larger bed. These rooms now contain a double and a single bed, making them still suitable for two adults, but also with the flexibility of being used as a family room by parents and a child.
3 bedrooms, sleeps 6)
This cottage, assessed as Accessible Accommodation, has three bedrooms, all of which are on the first floor. There is also a family bathroom upstairs. On the ground floor is a separate shower room with wc, so for someone who was not good at climbing stairs, once they had made the journey down in the morning, there would be washing / toilet facilities downstairs for them to use till it was time for them to go upstairs to bed.
Cars can be parked in front of the cottage, there is ramp level access to the entrance door. At the rear of the cottage, reached by the lounge door, is again, a ramp leading down into the enclosed flagged garden area with a picnic table.
( 4 bedrooms, sleeps 9)
This cottage underwent major changes over the spring of 2013.
To get to the main door there are now five wide steps. Once inside, the old part of the building, now comprises of a very large dining kitchen with breakfast bar,inner hall to two en-suite bedrooms, one double and one twin room (which can actually be put together to make a superking size bed). The new building has a separate orangery style dining room,. Off this dining hall, are two steps up to two large en suite bedrooms and a staircase down into a very large attractive living room which opens to a large conservatory. There are doors leading out the garden areas, making it a light and spacious cottage. However, due to the sloping site of the cottage, we cannot avoid having short flights of steps leading to the different living/sleeping areas and the landscaped gardens.
In my honest opinion, the Piggeries is only suitable for guests that can manage a flight of stairs. It would not be suitable for any guests in a wheelchair.
The Old Stables
(6 bedrooms, 2 on the ground floor, sleeps 13)
This cottage, assessed as Accessible Accommodation, Mobility 1, is a large six-bedroom cottage.
There are four bedrooms on the first floor. There is an en-suite shower room attached to the double bedroom. This is a cubicle. A family bathroom with bath with hand held spray, toilet and wash basin. A family bedroom with a double and a single bed and two twin bedrooms.
On the ground floor are two double bedrooms with wooden frame type beds, which you would be able to slide a mobile hoist underneath if required. There is an additional ground floor shower room with a step into a cubicle type shower, toilet and washbasin. All the bathing facilities were completely refurbished in 2011. These ground-floor facilities are ideal for guests who are unable to climb stairs.
There is ramp access to the main door and a ramp leading from the kitchen door to the enclosed flagged garden at the side of the property. The conservatory doors lead onto a large private garden accessed by a few steps. By using the front entrance you can enter the garden avoiding the steps. Parking is in the gravelled drive at the front of the cottage. The interior of the cottage is large and spacious, there is ample room for persons of limited mobility to manouver around the ground floor.
(3 bedrooms, 2 ground floor, sleeps 7)
This cottage, I have gone into greater detail above regarding the wet room. Assessed as Accessible Accommodation, was completed at the end of June 2007. There are three bedrooms, two of which are on the ground floor and both have en-suite facilities.
The double bedroom has a 5ft king size bed. There is a large bathroom (about 12ft by 5ft 6ins wide) non slip tiles, with a wet room type shower area with rain shower, separate hose and level access (not a cubicle). A wheelchair can be wheeled under the basin and there is space either side of the basin to put toiletries/shaving items on. The large illuminated mirror comes right down to the basin, which mean that even when sitting in the wheel chair, you can actually see yourself in the mirror!
There are grab rails above the bath, next to the toilet (with douche spray) and in the shower area. Whilst we have provided a drop down seat in the shower area, if guests require to use a plastic shower chair, we do have those as well.
The other ground-floor bedroom has a double and a single bed. This means that it can either be used as a family room, occupied by parents and a child, or by two adults and one gets a double bed. The en-suite (also 12ft by 5ft 6ins) has a large range of fitted cupboards, standard height . Again, the shower area is large with level access, all fully tiled with non slip tiles to the floor... The shower hose can be detached from the sliding rail for ease of use. (This was suggested to us by one of the first guests that stayed in this cottage).
On the first floor is a pretty twin bedroom accessed by an oak staircase in the living area. This also has an en suite bathroom with bath, toilet and washbasin. Additionally, there is also a seperate utility room with a toilet (number 4) and washbasin.
This cottage has spacious rooms enabling someone in a wheelchair to manouver around the cottage easily. Parking is next to the cottage, the driveway is tarmac to make pushing a wheelchair easier, and there is a ramp to the entrance door. This cottage is the most popular for families fetching a relative who needs a ground floor bedroom or just friends who require the extra en-suite facilities.
(6 bedrooms, 2 ground floor, sleeps 15)
This cottage, assessed as Accessible Accommodation, was completed at the end of October 2007. I have also described the facilities in more detail at the beginning of this section.
Woodpecker is our largest and very spacious cottage. It has six bedrooms, five of which have their own ensuites, two of which are on the ground floor.
At the front of the property is a double room on the ground floor with a 5ft king size bed. The spacious bathroom (about 12ft by 5ft 6ins wide) has a large wet room type shower area (almost the same as in Mole End).
At the rear of the cottage, looking out into the woods, is a bedroom which contains a double and a single bed. This room can either be used by a family, parents and a child, or two adults. The large (again 12ft by 5ft 6 ins wide) ensuite consists of a modern washbasin, standard height toilet and large open wet room type shower area with fold down seat. Non slip tiles to the floors. Also on the ground floor is a utility room with additional toilet (number 6) and washbasin.
On the first floor, the huge family bedroom, an L shape, with 5 ft king size bed and single bed in the alcove, has an en-suite bathroom with large bath and fancy shower hose - ideal for rinsing toddlers off. There are loads of cupboards. The two twin bedrooms have double width shower enclosures, wash basins and toilets. Additionally, there is a pretty single bedroom that is ideally suited for a child.
Just prior to Easter 2012 we added a new conservatory / sun lounge, this is accessed off the kitchen area down some steps with a handrail. Unfortunately, there was no way of avoiding having steps to this new room. There are some french doors leading from this room out to a new covered level seating area.
This cottage has been great for large family groups, particularly with grandparents or relatives not good at walking or in wheelchairs. Parking is at the side of the property and there is ramp access to the front entrance. At the rear of the property is a raised decked area with tables and chairs in the warmer weather, this can be reached either by the french doors from the living area or by a permanent ramp from the garden path.
In our news section is an article 'Do you have difficulty walking?' This gives details of a 4 x 4 heavy-duty motorised Tramper vehicle. Some local businesses including ours contributed towards the cost of this, which entitles our guests to its use for a nominal charge.. It can be delivered to any of our cottages and used to accompany relatives and friends on specially maintained trails and walks in the area.
Should you require any equipment such as hoists, Millercare in Preston (telephone 01772 788128 / www.millercare.co.uk) will deliver direct to the cottage prior to your arrival.
A few guests have also required the services of a local carer during their stay with us. The company that we have used is Priory Homecare, Four Oaks, Garstang Road, St. Michaels, PR3 0TD. Their telephone number is 01995 679662. They also have a website.
The best way to discover if what we have at Barnacre is suitable for you is to contact us. I would much rather discuss in details your requirements than discover when a guest arrives that we have not got what you need. Unfortunately, we did not have two raised toilet seats that one group of guests requested on arrival, but we do have two proper plastic, moveable, sturdy, shower chairs that we can put into the cottages for you, if you let us know.