Feed the ducks and swans
Sometimes simple pleasures are the best, and a gentle stroll along the river can be enjoyed by people of most abilities. The water of the River Arle is beautiful and clear, and there are plenty of seats on the riverbank where you can stop and have a rest. The terrain here is flat, making for an easy walk, although it can sometimes be muddy.
There is plenty of wildlife to spot along the way, and as well as feeding the ducks and swans you can see the fish in the clear water. Some of the paths are suitable for wheelchair users. Being close to nature and hearing calming sounds such as a running river have been shown to be beneficial in dementia care, helping people to relax and become less anxious.
The 300-year-old Fulling Mill straddles the River Arle. This timber-framed, thatched building is where wool was washed and scoured before being stretched out to dry before use.
Another interesting building over the river is the Eel House that dates from the 1820s. This building has three water channels beneath it, housing iron grills to trap mature eels as they travelled towards the sea. Buildings like this are very rare, and your parents will probably find it interesting. They may even have memories of eating eels when they were younger.
See the watercress beds
The clear chalk streams making up the River Itchen, the River Arle and the Candover Stream provide the ideal conditions for producing watercress, and Arlesford is dubbed the ‘Watercress Capital of England’. The water comes out of the ground at 51 degrees F all year round and collects in the concrete channels of the watercress beds.
The watercress crop has been popular since Victorian times, and now this sleepy part of Hampshire is responsible for supplying watercress to many areas of England and even Europe. Watercress can also be bought close to the watercress beds.
Shop at the Thursday market
If your parents are fortunate enough to live in Arlesford with companion care, they may like to go shopping together at the Broad Street Market. This genteel tree-lined street has many interesting shops, cafes and Georgian colour-washed buildings.
There are many different stalls at the traditional market, selling everything from fresh fish to handmade jewellery. There has been a market in Broad Street for 800 years, so it is heartening to see that the tradition is kept alive in the 21st century.
In addition to the regular Thursday market, there are Sunday markets on the first Sunday of most months, and special events such as Continental markets.
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Visit Hinton Ampner
The stately home of Hinton Ampner House, owned by the National Trust, is close to Arlesford. Both the house and garden are open to the public and suitable for visits from elderly care groups and disabled people. There is a ramp at the entrance and an accessible ground floor. The adapted toilet is close to the tearoom and wheelchairs may be borrowed.
The house has a chequered history that includes reports of hauntings in the 18th century and a devastating fire, after which it was rebuilt in the 1960s. The gardens are spectacular, and you can get a map of accessible routes through them from reception. If you can visit in early May, you may be able to enjoy a guided bluebell walk.
Trips on the Watercress Line
The Watercress Line is the only preserved steam railway in the county and runs for 10 miles from Arlesford to Alton, passing through Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks. The line is quite steep in places, and there are views of the lush Hampshire countryside to enjoy.
In addition to standard services, there are also special events scheduled on the railway, and it is worthwhile checking the online timetable before you set out with your parents. Tickets cover all day travel, so you can explore the different stations and enjoy visitor attractions nearby as you wish.
The entrance to Arlesford station has no steps, so it suitable for those with limited mobility. There are also ramps available at all the stations to help with boarding, and platform staff will provide assistance.
All the standard travel services can carry between two and six fixed wheelchairs in the brake compartment, and there is also a special accessible carriage that can accommodate five wheelchairs and tables with room for carers as well. This carriage, however, is not always in operation and you should contact the company for details and information about the “Free Carer” ticket they offer.
Whatever the weather or the time of year, there are always plenty of things to do in and around Arlesford in Hampshire.
If you feel live-in care might be a suitable option for your loved one, you’ll find Elder is top of the list of live-in care agencies near you. Contact us today to discuss how our tailored services can allow your loved one to stay in the comfort of their own home.
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