Visitors of all abilities and ages are invited to Moors Valley Country Park and Forest on Saturday 10 March to get out and about, enjoy the park’s accessible facilities and find out about Moors Valley’s approach to inclusivity. A selection of the park’s events and activities for visitors will be showcased throughout the day.
Free activities on the day include mobility scooter loan, a sensory nature table, pond dipping and the opportunity to have a go at sign language. Visitors can also try accessible cycles, electric bikes and orienteering; enjoy the audio trail by the lake, or the new Highway Rat family trail through the forest. The park even has 50 Highway Rat trail packs to give away, free-of-charge, to the first 50 Dorset Max Card Holders to visit on the day.
The Accessible Activity Day begins with a parkrun at 9am. The parkrun movement welcomes runners of all abilities and Moors Valley offers specially trained guides to support those with visual impairment. Taster sessions for those interested in trying running with a trained guide can be arranged on request. Moors Valley parkrun is free but runners need to register in advance on the parkrun website (www.parkrun.org.uk).
Other free morning activities include pond dipping, for children and adults from 10 -11.30am. Basic health checks are on offer from 11am – 2pm, and there is a sensory nature table to enjoy from 1 – 3pm. Early afternoon also provides the opportunity to learn some British Sign Language. From 1.30 – 3pm you can find out how to fingerspell the alphabet, say “hello”, and even learn some fun animal signs. Or have a go at orienteering with Wimborne Orienteers between 1.30 and 3pm. Booking is essential for this short course.
Chairman of East Dorset District Council, Cllr Derek Burt said, “During the past 30 years our staff at Moors Valley have worked hard to make it as accessible as possible to all. I’d encourage everyone to come along to see what the park has to offer. There are lots of activities which have been especially adapted so as many people as possible can experience this very special place to visit.”
Katie Davies, Accessibility Champion added “We are also working with specialist advisors to help us develop our approach to accessibility and inclusivity even further and to focus on improvements to our accessible activities and events. To help us get those improvements right I’d also welcome input from representatives of local organisations representing those with particular needs.”
The 2018 Accessible Activity Day marks the official start of a three-year project aimed at further developing inclusivity at the park. Moors Valley is one of 20 sites in the southwest to benefit from a National Lottery-funded Heritage Ability scheme to improve access for visitors with mobility and sensory impairments to heritage sites. Park staff have already benefitted from this scheme through specialist training on both disability and deaf awareness helping them to better understand the needs of all the Park’s visitors.