We had a lovely evening yesterday at the wonderful NCEM listening to Moishe’s Bagel and their superb mix of klezmer music with jazz and Latin influences – toe-tapping one moment, break-your-heart plaintive the next. They even played a really stomping rumba – I suspect they could play anything and it would sound terrific. The line-up includes piano, double bass, accordion, violin and percussion but sometimes mandolin and occasionally two accordions – a really rich sound which filled the place, especially in the tunes where they really gave it some welly!
The chat between songs was sometimes jolly sometimes touching and the atmosphere was great: the audience loved it and there was even some dancing!
I’ve reviewed the NCEM plenty of times so suffice to say: it is completely accessible, has an accessible loo and at least one Blue Badge parking space. The staff are helpful and for the first time, they had a couple of spaces (we were on the front row!) specially reserved for wheelchair-users which removed the small amount of hassle we had before where a member of staff struggled to disconnected a chair from the row to create space.
We’ve never seen a show here that was anything less than good, they are usually absolutely brilliant and this was no exception. Moishe’s Bagel have more dates coming up in the New Year. If you went to see them, I can’t imagine you would be disappointed.
We came here after visiting Hampton Court Castle which has a lovely accessible walled garden but whose woodland trails required a bigger scooter than mine.
We picnicked in the car park surrounded by trees (parking is free with a Blue Badge) then moved to the main car park which has some designated Blue Badge spaces and set off into the woods with a basic map provided by the visitor centre. The trails are way-marked, including the route to the viewing point!
The paths were earth and occasionally a little muddy in places (as it had chucked it down the previous night, it was actually remarkably dry!) and generally bump-free. We made our way to the viewing point for yet another wonderful view of the Herefordshire countryside.
As it is an arboretum, many of the trees were labelled but we managed to identify a giant redwood even before reading the sign!
The visitor centre has locally made honey and preserves and some lovely cards and gifts and friendly staff. Accessible loo a little small but enough room for my scooter! Plenty of parking, including some Blue Badge spaces although it could possibly do with some more and I’m not surprised – it was a great place to visit not only for scooter-users: there were plenty of people with pushchairs as well. You can borrow an electric scooter for a suggested £5 donation if you book it in advance.
I thoroughly recommend this place if you fancy some fresh air, trees and a lovely view!
Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire is actually the original Hampton Court! It predates the more famous palace by a hundred years or so. Most of its life it belonged to a local Herefordshire family but in the 19th century was bought by Richard Arkwright, son of the famous inventor.
We went because I had investigated online and found that it was largely accessible. We then discovered that it has what I think must be the best walled garden I have ever seen – absolutely wonderful!
Apart from lovely old brick walls, it has hedges dividing it up into lots of different ‘rooms’ – you just want to keep discovering what is around the next corner. There are water features and statuary and also lots of flowers and fruit and vegetables.
The surfaces are either flags, fine gravel, bark chips or grass and my scooter coped fine even on the wide expanse of lawns beyond the walled garden and despite the fact that it had poured with rain during the previous night.
We didn’t attempt to visit the castle itself – you can visit the ground floor and they have photos of the upstairs floors to look at if you can’t get there as there is no lift. We also didn’t attempt the woodland walks as that would have required a larger, all-terrain type scooter but as it turned out, Queenswood Arboretum down the road has perfectly accessible woodland walks so the two complement each other quite nicely!
We had set off bright and early so by the time we looked round everything we could it was still a bit early to sample the cafe besides we had brought a picnic with us. The cafe is accessible and did look very attractive and has lots of outdoor seating on the lawn and we could happily have had our picnic if it had been a bit later – perhaps we’ll just have to come back some time!
There is an accessible loo by the café – it has a steep little ramp to get in and it was a little tight backing out but otherwise fine. There is disabled access information on the website. The parking is simply in a field and getting from there onto the level pass might be a little tricky depending on your wheels but if you can access this place then I really recommend it. You could even combine it with a visit to Queenswood, like we did!
During our recent stay near Ross-on-Wye, we visited several places with amazing views, one of which was Yat Rock. At Symonds Yat both East and West there are various amusements such as boat rides, kayaking and cycling. We had headed for Symonds Yat East, where there is a car park by the river but it was a view from the top that we were after.
Then we saw the signs for Yat Rock and headed up a steep, winding road with passing places. It got rather congested at times as there were plenty of visitors but once we were at the top there was plenty of parking including designated Blue Badge spaces. A noticeboard informed us that it was 400 metres to the top with plenty of benches on the way and we could see that it was a good path.
There is actually more Blue Badge parking further up, but we were glad we had started further down as it was a very pleasant route through woods. Some of the benches looked like they were more places to perch on rather than sit – anyone expecting something more comfortable beware!
Some of the route is a boardwalk and a small part, near the shop and refreshment placed near the very top is just earth or grit but the whole thing was perfectly easy. A little bit steep right at the viewing place perhaps but a tarmac path at that point and perfectly safe. The accessible shop sells drinks and snacks and photos you can send as postcards.
The views are amazing: the River Wye snaking off into the distance and gorgeous rolling green fields all around. The wall is low enough to see over and there are places with a grille instead of the wall for even better but safe viewing.
There are toilets including accessible ones by the lower car park, which is pay and display.
I definitely recommend Yat Rock as somewhere to visit if you’re in the area.
For a change, we explored the Fulford side of the Millenium Bridge. The grass is left long to encourage wildflowers, so it had really quite a rural look.
The mown paths would be passable on a really sturdy scooter, but we stuck to the tarmac cycle/footpaths.
I had always thought of the grassy area by the bridge as being Fulford Ings, but according to Google Maps, they are actually further along. The path becomes a bit rough by then, so, having passed the grassy area by way of the cycle/footpath, then Love Lane amongst the trees, we turned around at St Oswald’s church – it’s a private house, complete with gravestones in the garden! The Ings were the site of the Battle of Fulford, precursor to the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.
Everywhere smelled gorgeously woodsy, so it made for a pleasant saunter, then we headed on past the bridge once more and along New Walk.
We hadn’t been this way for ages and having once been very familiar with it from living nearby some years ago was an added interest plus there are a few things to look out for, like the railtracks, a relic from the area’s more industrial past and Pikeing Well, once a fresh water fountain – the history of it is on an information plaque nearby.
There are plenty of benches along both sides of the river and platforms built out into the river so you can get a good view. There is even an ice-cream boat!
You could carry on along the bank, over Blue Bridge and into town but we headed back over the Millenium Bridge to good old Rowntree Park and –yes! – there were some ducklings as well as goslings, not to mention plenty of people enjoying the sunshine and the roses!
We had a turn round the ‘old’ campus of York University to see the blossom and hoped we’d see some cute wildlife and found that we’d timed it just right to see some goslings at their cutest, before they get too big!
There were also ducklings and loads of other water fowl, plus trees coming into leaf, spring flowers and a general sense of everything bursting into life again.
We parked in the huge carpark off Heslington Lane where there are some Blue Badge spaces where the parking is free. The paths are generally very good – some have a bit of a camber; in places there are chicanes to slow down cyclists; occasionally a path is a bit rough, but there is always an alternative route. Many of the buildings have automatic doors and many have accessible loos in them – some bigger than others. There are often building works going on, but again, there are so many paths and different routes around the campus that you can always avoid them.
Timing is important – weekends and out of term time is best – then there is more the atmosphere of a public park than a university campus, what with anglers, and kids feeding the ducks.
Also, there are plenty of interesting things to look at as you go round – information boards, an intricately carved tree stump, sculptures and plenty of benches.
Definitely worth a visit, especially when there are ducklings, moorhen and coot chicks and goslings to spot!