Beach wheelchairs at Sandown, Isle of Wight and Barry, South Wales
As you may be aware, I use a wheelchair for anything over very short distances. This can rather limit my ability to enjoy going to the beach, as wheelchairs don’t really work on sand…
There are some ways around this – for example, finding a beach where I can park my wheelchair on the promenade and get down onto the beach easily, and going at high tide I don’t have to walk very far to the sea – but even in these situations I find it tires me out a lot. However, there is a better way…
Some beaches have ‘beach wheelchairs’ that you can borrow. They have big inflatable tyres so they don’t sink into the sand, they’re waterproof, and they even float! Here is an example photo of me using a beach wheelchair:
Various beaches around the country have these wheelchairs available to borrow, but it’s quite difficult to find out where they are and how to get access to them. This blog will explain how to find and access the beach wheelchairs in Sandown, Isle of Wight and Barry, South Wales.
Sandown, Isle of Wight
Sandown has a lovely sandy beach on the south-eastern coast of the Isle of Wight. They have two beach wheelchairs, and they are available from the lifeguards in the middle of the section of the beach to the north-east of the pier. They are only available when the lifeguards are on duty (certain hours during the summer months). Go to the lifeguard station, which is an elevated platform at the top of the beach, marked on the map below (click to enlarge) and linked on Google Maps here, and ask for the wheelchairs. It may take them a while to find the relevant keys and get cover for lifeguarding so they can go to their storage room, but they should then come back with the life guard. One of the Sandown wheelchairs is shown in the photo above.
Other tips: there is parking along the road that runs at the top of the beach, free for Blue Badge holders, and there is a nice ice cream shop just opposite the parking bays.
Barry, South Wales
Barry also has a lovely sandy beach, in a bay in the area called Barry Island, just to the west of Cardiff. They have at least four beach wheelchairs, possibly more. They are stored in a room off the Changing Places toilet at the top of the beach, near the funfair.
To find them, go to the toilets behind Marco’s Cafe (see arrow on the map below – click to enlarge), or this location on Google Maps. You can get to the toilets by going either to the left or right of Marco’s cafe, and then around the back. You will find a circular building with standard disabled toilets in it, as well as steps up to normal male/female toilets. Behind the circular building is a rectangular building with a ramp up to one of the doors. This is where the Changing Places toilet (with a hoist etc) is located. Have a look around for a toilet attendant – they will often be in a little store-room at the back of the circular building, or they may be in one of the other toilets, or hanging around the general area. If you ask them for the beach wheelchairs they will open up the Changing Places toilet and then unlock a separate room inside. The beach wheelchairs will be there, and you should also be able to leave your normal wheelchair there to collect later.
I don’t know whether the wheelchairs here are available all the time, or just in the summer season (a lot of things in Barry close down for the winter).
Other tips: There is free Blue Badge parking on some of the roads nearby, particularly the parking bays off Friar’s Rd. Zio’s Gelateria is nice, and Boofy’s Fish and Chip shop does gluten-free.
Categorised as: Disability