Accessible Walks and how stay Outdoorsing with Lisa Vesty @tyler_and_maya_tales

One of our Adventurers, Lisa Vesty had shared with us her favourite accessible walks and tips on how to stay Outdoorsing this winter. 

Lisa's Tips

Getting outdoors becomes a little more challenging during the winter months when you use wheels so here are my top tips!

What To Wear

Warm Clothing is key, you are going to get far colder as you aren’t moving.  My everyday essentials that I’ve worn throughout winter are:

Thermal Skinny Outdoor Trousers

Thermal Seamless Base Layer Top 

Bamboo Hiking Socks 

Chunky Cable Knit Bobble Hat 

I also love to wear the Windproof Sweater on more windy days as an additional layer to block out the cold. Additional things that keep you toasty whilst Outdoorsing include a good coat to keep you warm and dry, a hot water bottle to make a heated seat, and a hand warmer, there are loads of different ones out there, I even have one that you charge up.  

Tips for getting out

  • Plan ahead, I always check the weather so I can make the most of the drier spells. 
  • Organise a trip with friends and family, you can always stop off at a cafe to warm up afterwards.  
  • Have routes that you can easily cut short in case the weather turns or you get chilly. I like having the reassurance that I scale back my walk and prevent further pain.
  • During the winter it can be difficult finding walks which aren't muddy, this is key as wheelchairs and mobility scooter are notoriously heavy and can become stuck quite easily.   
I find the best places to look for accessible walks are places with multi use tracks. A few of my favourite sites are: 
  • The National cycle network
  • Foresty England
  • Local reservoirs often have multi use accessible paths around them. It’s always best to check the website  as some are only accessible for very small distances
  • Photo Trails is another good website to use as it covers the whole of the UK. It shows photos of the terrain type, allowing you to make an informed decision if the route is suitable for your mobility equipment.  
  • Trampers is great if you need to hire a mobility scooter at a location, 

 

If you are staying local I always say a good frost is your friend as a hard frost makes grass areas accessible again. I would advise that you have knowledge of the area and only attempt terrain you are confident with and know your mobility equipment can handle. It's worth noting that once the frost thaws the ground will be boggy again so be sensible.  

Another great idea is visit quaint market towns or towns during the winter months for example Stratford upon Avon. They will be quieter during the winter months so it will make it much easier to get about whilst enjoying a walk around admiring the  architecture.  

Finally, one thing that I love to do during January and February is to watch for signs of spring. I love taking the time to notice the buds, and spot the first snowdrops and daffodil and watch nature gently wake up. It’s something I never get bored of.  

How does Outdoorsing support your mental health?  

Getting outdoors is so important to me all year round and even more so in the winter. The winter is dark and gloomy and the house is dark and you need an artificial light on most of the day, this naturally has an impact on your over all mood and mental health.  

Even on days when you think it looks a bit bleak, if you are wearing comfortable, warm clothes and wrap up once you are outside you instantly feel better. You can feel your energy levels changing and your mood lifting.   

Like I said previously, I love looking for signs of spring and watching nature awake. Even in January there are bulbs popping up and buds on the tress. This is just a daily reminder that winter is almost over.  

The Winter sunrise and sunset can be spectacular and are so easy to catch this time of year. I always find sunrise so invigorating and uplifting.  Being present as the world awakes and birds start singing is so lovely and really sets you up for the day.

Likewise with sunset, the peace and serenity can help counter stress or anxious thoughts. Try to get out and focus on being present, I'd suggest doing some mindful breath work to help feel lighter, more focused and grounded. It's amazing the positive impact it has on your mood and overall mental health.

You never regret time spent outdoors even if you just sit in your own garden, balcony or shared open space to enjoy these moments.