And then I found The Bulworthy Project, in Devon.
The owners live in 12 acres of private woodland which they manage - and in that woodland is a small, off grid, wheelchair accessible log cabin.
I stayed for 3 nights and LOVED it.
I enjoyed the outdoors, both in sunshine and rain. (Bring waterproof trousers and jacket!) The woods are small, but varied. And I often found myself just sitting - getting lost in the sights and sounds, or lying back and having a nap under the trees.
And I enjoyed the indoors - warm, cosy and dry. I even did some editing of the next stickman books!
|Collage of 8 photos of trees, woodland clearings, more trees, beautiful trees, and a happy me.|
|Collage of photos 5: 1. printed draft of a stickman book with cup of tea, 2. more trees, 3. camp fire and dinner, 4. camp fire, 5. After dark, camp fire in background, cup of tea and book in foreground.|
|Collage of 4 photos: Wood burning stove; happy me in a tree in the rain; chair stuck in 8 inch thick mud soup; photo taken inside cabin of music score, tenor recorder, and woodburning stove in background.|
And yes. I totally plan to go back again!
About the cabin:
The official blurb is on the owners website
This is the official photo of the front of the cabin:
And I've added some access notes below.
This my sketch of the layout. The numbers correspond to the notes below.
C is written on the plan in places I can turn a full circle in my manual chair.
1. The shower. Very narrow, maybe 600mm. Water is heated by the wood burning stove, and once it's hot the tank stays hot for well over 12 hours. I asked if they had a shower seat - they didn't, so they bought one. And despite it being a big stool in a tiny space it worked really well. Currently no grab rails.
2. The toilet. No grab rails, but can get my wheelchair in to the room, and the small wash hand basin means it's easy to use from wheels or standing. The mirror is a bit high, but I'm sure that can be sorted by the owners.
3. The bed is quite high. This image shows me perched on the edge of it. It was about 15cm higher than the seat of my chair. On the plus side this means storage space underneath.
4. Fold out table fixed to the wall, with 2 folding chairs. I put the folding chairs under the bed so I had better circulation space.
5. Wood burning stove (also heats water) on a large metal surround so you can't knock into the stove itself when you go past.
6. Wood store (with locked cupboard of water heating tech above)
7. unit with a few shelves and hangers. (currently all quite high).
8. Kitchenette - sink, 2 ring hob, drawers/cupboards with utensils etc in, and a small camping fridge. All the storage is either on the countertop, or below it, so no high cupboards.
9. Doorway, with a threshold of approximately 1 inch.
10. Veranda: covered, wooden, approximately 1.3m wide (guesstimate)
11. Ramp. (guesstimate 1m wide) takes you up the side and onto the front veranda. It's wide enough to store a power chair in the dry (unless the rain is horizontal) and probably wide enough to turn most wheelchairs round - but my Off road chair (Magic Extreme X8) isn't great at small turns, so I chose to reverse back down the ramp using the steering lock.
12. Steps down to grass.
|The view from the doorway into the cabin, and then the view from inside the cabin through the open door where you can see a path into the woods.|
The cabin is in a small clearing with a BBQ and a camp fire area, surrounded by young trees. The owners house is visible through the trees, but far enough away not to be 'overlooking'.
There is space to park on a lane about 3 metres from the ramp. There are main-ish roads close enough to hear an occasional truck, but not close enough to intrude.
There are no streetlights (obviously!) so bring a torch or two.
In a manual chair getting around the woodland would be very challenging - there are some footpaths, but they are foot paths worn by feet, and the owners quadbike, and are going to be very affected by things like wet weather.
Any chair will get muddy. I'd advise having the wheelie equivalent of wellies that get muddy and are left on the veranda, and slippers which stay clean and dry and are for use inside.
But part of the beauty of this cabin was that by opening the door or sitting on the veranda you are in the woods - with the birdsong. The BBQ and campfire areas are within a few meters (over rough grass, but close) so one day I barely left the clearing and still had a really lovely time.
|Photo collage of 2 images: 1 photo of ramp to cabin, and 2 a campfire.|
Electricity: Solar power.
There are lights in the middle of the room, by the kitchen area, by the bed, and in the bathroom, and 2 USB sockets by the bed.
NO standard 3 pin sockets. So there is no-where to charge a power chair. My chair lasted staying there 3 nights ( 2 full days and 2 half days) without charging and going on several 'walks' through the woodland each day, but not with much power spare. Speak to the owners if you might need to charge a power chair - but be aware that their home runs off solar power too so leaving a chair to charge overnight may not be possible. For a short break you may need to keep an eye on battery power and try and ration usage a bit. Like you would if camping in the wilds for real.
The cabin has wifi. There's nowhere to charge a laptop, but the wifi gives good phone access to the internet.
I had no phone reception at the cabin (EE) - but could use the wifi to make calls. In the woods where there wasn't wifi, there was often phone reception.
If you speak to the owners (or email them) about access needs they can help - e.g. I asked about a shower seat and they bought one for my visit.
They are also very chilled and real about disability - not once did they say I was brave, or question my competence/ability to look after myself. (Explaining why this is remarkable would be a whole blog post in itself - but many of you will know what I mean.)
Would I recommend it:
In short, if you think this sounds accessible to you and you love being in nature: Yes.