Sorry for the awful pun, but now is a brilliant time to visit Thorp Perrow Arboretum near Bedale as the acers are a fabulous blaze of colour as well as many other trees which are also looking wonderful.
We hired a scooter (for £1), the ‘off-road’ type and they give you a map which shows the wheelchair accessible paths. I would imagine pushing someone round might be rather hard work as there are no smooth paths and in fact some were really bumpy, but most are either grass or fine gravel. It can get muddy so it’s best to after a dry spell.
We had forgotten it was half term and there were Hallowe’en things going on and the place was packed but there were also lots of people who were there to admire the trees – as you can see from the photos, it didn’t spoil the views. Even the ones in the carpark looked great!
Despite it being busy, we and the friends we were meeting managed to snaffle an outdoor table – it was just mild enough – and there was still plenty of choice of cakes!
Loos including spacious accessible ones are available at the café and the bird of prey centre.
The staff were really busy but were pleasant and helpful – as we left, someone came with us to bring the scooter back from the car.
We’ve always visited Thorp Perrow in spring before to see the bluebells but an Autumn visit is definitely worth it too.
OK, so sunshine would have been great but it was so atmospheric with the abbey ruins looming out of the murk!
Park at the West Gate entrance and this is where you may need someone to help, go to the lodge at the gates and they will show you what to do: they open the gates so you can drive in and park and they bring the scooter to you. (Presumably you could also leave your car in the car park which has blue Badge spaces).
The paths are lovely and smooth and the setting is magnificent. We would have explored further if the weather had been better as the grounds are extensive. Following the main path, you eventually come to the lake at the Studley Royal end – I was looking forward to going along by the lake but at the lodge house here they said you can’t take the scooters along there as they aren’t insured.
You can go through the gates and visit the tea-rooms just outside them which also have outside seating. There are various accessible loos in the grounds but I’m not sure if any are big enough to take the scooter so that could be slightly problematic.
They are really fabulous scooters – substantial without being too huge and really easy to use (this is compared to the ones at Roundhay Park).
Rowntree Park is always lovely but particularly so in Autumn and just fabulous right now! In Spring it has daffodils and ducklings; there is a ‘reading-café’ which is accessible, a children’s play area and tennis club and you can access the river walkways with their viewing points and the Millennium footbridge over the River Ouse. Parking is reached via Terry Avenue.
The paths are smooth so the whole place is eminently scootable as are the paths by the river. Look out for the flood levels on the dove cote (itself a memorial to Rowntree’s workers who died in WW1) – the one from 2000 is way above your head!
The drawback is that the park does flood so is sometimes closed while levels recede and the place dries out a bit. Also the large amount of geese (or rather their droppings) do mean you can’t just sit anywhere on the grass but there are plenty of benches.