Charming cottage and very high-tech!

Valley View cottage, Llangrove, Hereford

Valley View is a lovely cottage for two: comfortable, spotlessly clean and well-equipped plus it has amazing views. It also makes a really good base for exploring the area and there are plenty of accessible things to do.

Valley View cottage, Llangrove, Hereford
Valley View cottage, Llangrove, Hereford

The cottage comprises a sitting room, kitchen-diner, bedroom and ensuite bathroom, all of which have plenty of space to get around easily in a wheelchair and the access is really easy, just a slight ramp to get you over the threshold with hardly a bump. The table is high enough that you can sit at it in a wheelchair. Thatch Close Cottages comprises three cottages in total, all of which can be linked in different combinations for larger groups.

Fabulous view from Thatch Close Cottages, Llangrove, Herefordshire
Fabulous view from Thatch Close Cottages, Llangrove, Herefordshire

There are various high-tech features such as the kitchen worktop with hob and sink will rise and lower at the touch of a button as will the bathroom wash basin and the dressing table. Despite this, the overall feel is of a cosy cottage and the decor is charming.

The spacious bathroom has a shower seat, lots of grabrails and even a wash-dry loo.IMG_1256

I was really impressed that the website included a list of everything that was included as so often you are not sure quite what to bring. In the event, one or two of these were actually missing but it was just a case of mentioning it to Ed, one of the owners and they were provided straightaway. Ed and Marion are obviously really keen that people enjoy their visit and will lend equipment such as a shower wheelchair or toilet seat raiser (which some places charge for) and they even have a talking microwave and other kitchen equipment for the visually impaired. In fact, when Ed asked if there was anything that would improve the place and I mentioned that the sofa was a bit low, he promptly fetched some feet to go underneath it which raised it up – perfect! The household equipment generally is very good quality – although I’m not sure any two of the glasses matched each other! – however, we have been in some cottages where the kitchen equipment is a bit worn. Here everything was in really good condition and there was all you could need for meal preparation.

Easy access at Valley View cottage, Llangrove, Herefordhsire
Easy access at Valley View cottage, Llangrove, Herefordhsire

The cottage complies with very high levels of accessibility on the National Accessibility Scheme and has been inspected by the Fire Brigade. It has various safety features such as an emergency pull cord in the bathroom and emergency lighting in case of power failure. There are further details and a full accessibility statement on the cottage website.

The walled garden at Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire
The walled garden at Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire

The emergency lights do unfortunately mean that there is some light at night which might disturb some people and the patio could do with some TLC but otherwise the cottage is fabulous and even includes a generous welcome basket including breakfast ingredients, a bottle of wine, home-made cake and marmalade. The cottage can be linked to the ones next door for larger groups. You could hear some noise from through the wall, but not too bad.

St Mary's churchyard, Ross-on-Wye
St Mary’s churchyard, Ross-on-Wye

There are plenty of accessible things to do in the area, such as Symonds Yat – we parked up at Yat Rock and had no problem accessing the lookout point with my scooter – there are also plenty of benches on the way. We also visited the original Hampton Court which has the most amazing walled garden which was fully accessible and my scooter coped fine with the lawned area. Entrance was free for a carer so we only had to pay one entry fee! The woodland trails would have been too much for my scooter though but very nearby is Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum with very attractive woodland and the paths lead to a viewing point with amazing views over the countryside. It is free and even the parking is free for a Blue Badge holder.

By the riverside, Ross-on Wye
By the riverside, Ross-on Wye

Another day we visited Ross on Wye where if you park up by St Mary’s church you can go through the churchyard to a park called The Prospect with, you’ve guessed it, amazing views! We later parked down near the river and there is a riverside path which is easily scootable too and very attractive. The tourist office sent us some leaflets about the area, including a ‘buggy route’ around the town – we didn’t follow all of it, but it’s good to know that they are thinking about accessibility.

Amazing view at Queenswood Arboretum, Herefordhsire
Amazing view at Queenswood Arboretum, Herefordhsire

This is a gorgeous part of the country and Valley View is a great place to stay with plenty of accessible places to visit within easy reach.

View from Yat Rock, Hereforshire
View from Yat Rock, Hereforshire

Possibly the best view in the world!

Swaledale
Swaledale
Swaledale

Certainly the best view in Gunnerside, maybe in the whole of Swaledale. If this cottage, the Garth, had been wonderfully accessible I would have been inclined to keep it to myself but as it turned out, it did have its downsides. We booked it through Yorkshire Cottages although you can do it through Owners Direct which has some different and more recent photos.

Getting in and out involves a couple of steps, not very deep ones but no handrail and when wet, rather slippery. Inside was so huge (it sleeps 6) I used my trusty Luggie scooter to get around between rooms! The house was designed to make the most of the fabulous views and has huge windows in every room, most of which look over, up or down the dale.

View from terrace
View from terrace

There is a shower cabinet as well as a bath but with rather a high step up into it, otherwise everything is fine – they obviously take note of comments in the visitors’ book as new sofas and reading lamps have been added. The décor is somewhat dated (actually, very dated!) but it’s all pretty comfortable and very well-equipped. The first evening in a cottage is always cold in our experience, even though this place has central heating rather than storage heaters. There is a real fire, so we stoked that up then didn’t need it the rest of the time as it was perfectly cosy.

The Garth, Gunnerside
The Garth is the cottage with the inverted v shape eaves

I’m not sure about accessible things to do in the area – we did everything there is to do before access was an issue, so looking at the stunning views is the main thing we do now! Anyone wanting recommendations for things to do or where to buy things, do ask. One of the things we did was the route from Langthwaite to Low Row which takes you through the ‘watersplash’ from the opening shots of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ – it’s a fabulous route with amazing views. This is a bit tame but something new we tried was the fish and chip van which comes up the dale and stops in Gunnerside on a Friday night – wow, best we’ve had for a long time. Supporting local businesses is always a good thing! There are of course walks galore, including investigating the industrial ruins of the area’s lead-mining past – it is this mix of natural and industrial heritage which makes the dale so attractive in my view.

So the quest for an accessible dales cottage continues – I was gutted that this one is not really suitable but new cottages appear all the time, so here’s hoping! I hope you like the posed picture with the bottle of wine – not a bad view from your kitchen!

Posed picture from kitchen
Posed picture from kitchen

We drove over the amazing Buttertubs pass to get home – no view this time due to the weather but, trust me, it is staggering.