Five Things to do with Your Elderly Parents in Dulverton, Devon

Situated just inside Exmoor National Park, on the Devon and Somerset border, Dulverton makes a lovely base for a holiday or short break, with plenty to see and do in the local area.With the Rivers Exe and Barle meeting close to the centre, the town is notable for its bridges spanning the rivers, including the prehistoric ‘Tarr Steps’ bridge, which has been rebuilt many times over the centuries.

When taking your elderly parents on holiday, it’s important to consider the accessibility of any attractions that you visit. Look at websites before leaving home, to ensure that you make the most of your trip.

Many places offer assistance such as wheelchair or mobility scooter hire which often needs to be pre-booked well in advance, and increasing numbers of attractions now offer free admittance to caregivers.

Now that so many older people are choosing live-in care in Devon as an alternative to residential homes, it’s never been easier to plan trips out, even on the spur of the moment.

Caregivers trained in elderly care can help to facilitate fun outings that the whole family can enjoy. So whether one or both of your parents relies on care at home, such as live-in care or even specialist dementia care, you’ll find plenty of places that will welcome you and help you make the most of your time away from home. We’ve selected five of the best things to see and do in and around Dulverton.

Dulverton Heritage Centre

The first stop for any visit to Dulverton should be the Heritage Centre, which offers free admission. The Centre is accessible to all visitors on the ground floor, where you will find a series of rooms and a courtyard showing what life was like in the town in times past.

Exhibits include ‘Granny Baker’s Cottage’, which recreates a scene from the end of the 19th century, and a working model railway. Depending on when you visit, you could join a guided tour of the town, taking in the main points of interest on the way.

West Somerset Railway

Everyone loves a ride on a steam train, and the West Somerset Railway operates over 20 miles on a branch line track through outstanding scenery, making it the longest heritage railway track in the whole country. Take a ride through the Quantock hills towards the Bristol Channel, where you can look across the water to Wales on a clear day.

The railway runs between Bishops Lydeard, close to Taunton, to Minehead, where you just have to cross the road to access the beach. There are plenty of stations along the way, though, where you can disembark and enjoy a walk or refreshments. The railway offers wheelchair-accessible coaches and discounted fares to visitors with disabilities and carers.

Dulcie’s care story

Dulcie is one of our longest serving customers. In this video, she and her family talk through their decision to arrange care in the home rather than the care home.

Dunster Castle

Head north towards the coast and take the time to visit Dunster Castle, the residence of the Luttrell family for over half a century. Originally a fortified castle, the house was remodelled as a Victorian country house in the late 19th century, surrounded by beautiful parkland and gardens.

The main house is on a steep slope with steps, but a mobile stair climber is available for disabled guests. There are routes through the gardens that are suitable for mobility vehicles and wheelchairs.

There are an on-site shop and café, and visitors should call by the Dunster Working Watermill too, which operates on some days – check the National Trust website for details. You can purchase stoneground wholemeal flour made at the mill in the Dunster Castle shop.

Coldharbour Mill and Museum

Head south to Cullompton and you will find the Coldharbour Mill, which gives a glimpse into the Industrial Revolution in this part of the country. Reputed to be the finest example of a working textile mill in England, it has been in operation since 1797. You can watch skilled craftspeople as they create woollen goods, including hand-woven rugs and knitting yarn.

The Mill is open throughout the summer and occasionally operates steam events throughout the year. Although some parts of the mill and museum are not accessible to visitors with mobility problems, there is a lift between floors and a wheelchair available. There are a café and shop, where you can buy a range of items made at the mill.

The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

Head west to Barnstaple to spend time learning about the fascinating history of the local area at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. Here you will find information and exhibits detailing the history of the region from a human and a natural history point of view. The Museum also houses an exhibition of the Regimental Collection of the Royal Devon Yeomanry.

The ground floor is wheelchair accessible, and there is a stair lift to the upper floor, where you will find the gift shop and tea rooms. Entry to the Museum is free.

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