Category Archives: Accessibility


Calvert Trust Exmoor has achieved the AHOEC Gold Standard for the quality of its outdoor education, and continues to be the only centre in the South West to carry this endorsement.

The AHOEC (Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres) exists to champion high safety and quality standards in the provision of outdoor learning, and does not award its Gold Standard assurance lightly, with just 49 centres across the UK currently brandishing the accolade.

The Gold Standard is the AHOEC’s quality scheme, which recognises exceptional performance in the provision of outdoor education delivery and learning outcomes whilst also taking in to account other operational aspects, including the quality and safety of facilities, staff and customer care. Focusing on nine areas altogether, the standard provides a framework against which the top activity providers are thoroughly assessed.

On receiving the news, Sophie, Activities Manager at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said: “I am delighted to have retained the Gold Standard award, as we continue to strive to provide the best experience possible for our guests.”

Calvert Trust Exmoor strives for excellence in everything it does, and is proud to hold a growing number of awards and accreditations for the services it provides. The centre offers the only 5-star rated activity accommodation in England, and is also accredited to the AALA and CLOtC.

Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the edge of Exmoor National Park, a short distance from the North Devon coast, and with everything together on one fully accessible site, the Trust welcomes guests of all ages and levels of ability, enabling people with physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities to experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities, together with their families & friends. Highly experienced instructors are qualified by national governing bodies such as  British Canoeing, the RYA and the BHS and are specially trained to work with disabled individuals.

Residential breaks are built around a structured programme of activities led by qualified instructors, all tailored to the specific needs of visitors. Activities include cycling, climbing, abseiling, horse riding, archery, low ropes, and crate stacking. Calvert Trust Exmoor also has exclusive access to Wistlandpound Reservoir for sailing, kayaking and canoeing. With a range of indoor and outdoor activities on offer, and standard and adaptive equipment provided to suit individual needs, the Trust’s aim is to provide each and every guest with the best possible experience so that they leave keen to return and eager to recommend it to others.

To ensure Calvert Trust Exmoor continues to meet the demands of its Gold Standard, the AHOEC carries out inspections every two years.


Specialist Cycles Arrive at Calvert Trust Exmoor

Thanks to a generous grant from EBM Charitable Trust, Calvert Trust Exmoor has been able to purchase three more accessible cycles, allowing more guests with disabilities to take part in accessible cycling.

These specialist cycles are manufactured in the Netherlands and imported into the UK by Ashfield Special Needs Ltd. The three bikes are (left to right in the top picture):

  • A van Raam Fun2Go side by side three wheeled tandem.  The riders sit beside each other, one person steers and both can pedal.
  • A van Raam Veloplus front loading wheelchair trike. The tilting loading ramps at the front allow a wheelchair user to remain seated in their own wheelchair, while a carer or Calvert Trust Exmoor staff member cycles the bike.
  • A Roam Twinbike plus quad wheeled triple bike. Two riders sit beside each other, one person steers, both pedal, and there is a third, non-pedaling seat at the front.

Rob Lott, Calvert Trust Exmoor’s Head of Communications, said, “We are very grateful to the EBM Charitable Trust who generously gave us £13,170 to purchase these specialist bikes. Adding these three to our fleet along with the NOMAD all terrain wheelchair carriages we also purchased recently is another fantastic step forward in increasing our accessibility and inclusivity, and will allow us to assist even more guests to enjoy accessible cycling. ”

Calvert Trust Exmoor’s cycle fleet now consists of 31 self-supporting bikes of various types from a number of different manufacturers, allowing guests with a wide range of disabilities to experience accessible cycling.

Saunton Sands Celebrity Golf Day in aid of Calvert Trust Exmoor

On Thursday 10 November 2016 the luxurious Saunton Sands Hotel will be hosting a celebrity golf day, in aid of Calvert Trust Exmoor.

The hotel is part of the Brend Hotels, which recently won AA Hotel Group of the Year 2015-16. Various special accommodation and meal packages are available.

Tony Potter, CEO of Calvert Trust Exmoor, said “We are delighted that Saunton Sands Hotel have chosen to support us with their celebrity golf event, it will be a fabulous day of golf at the beautiful Saunton Golf Club, followed by a delicious meal from the Hotel’s innovative head chef, Jamie Coleman.

“The money raised from this fantastic event will be put straight into our bursaries, which we use to assist guests in financial need to be able to afford a break with us.”

There are still a couple of three-person team spaces available, which can be booked by contacting Saunton Sands Hotel on 01271 890212.

New Chief Executive

heidi-watson-2016Heidi Watson will be joining Calvert Trust Exmoor from 17 October 2016, and assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer on Friday 21 October after a handover week with current CEO Tony Potter, who is stepping down to pursue other interests and projects.

Tony Potter said: “It’s been a privilege to be the CEO of Calvert Trust Exmoor for the last four years, working with amazing staff and helping our wonderful guests enjoy every aspect of the Calvert Experience. I’ve also very much appreciated the fantastic support we’ve had from businesses, community groups and individuals from North Devon and across the South West. Life really is all about, “It’s want you can do that counts”; these have been some of the best years of my career and I wish Heidi and the Calvert Trust Exmoor team every success for the future.”

Heidi has previously held various senior roles in international business and national charities. She is joining the Trust from the role of Business Development Director at Business in the Community, where she worked with businesses on their corporate social responsibility activities and solving issues in vulnerable communities.

Heidi is relocating from Doncaster to Devon to take up this role; as an animal lover and nature enthusiast she is looking forward to enjoying country walks through North Devon and Exmoor’s spectacular scenery.


Dan Barnett, Exmoor National Park Authority’s Access & Recreation Manager, explains: “The Forum is looking for individuals from all walks of life and of any age who have the passion, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to help people get out and enjoy Exmoor.

“We would like to hear from anyone interested in walking, horse riding, cycling, conservation, outdoor sports, rural businesses or tourism.  If you have a good understanding of disabled access needs this could also be particularly useful.”

The Forum advises a range of bodies in relation to the improvement of public access to land in the Exmoor National Park, for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area.  Meetings are held twice a year at different locations within the National Park and discuss a variety of access-related issues.

If you are interested in joining or for more information please contact:  Sue Applegate / 01398 322292.


A new hard surfaced path and viewing platform has been installed at Yeo Valley Community Woodland.

North Devon Council and Friends of Yeo Valley Woodland celebrated the completion of the new path at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the end of April. The work cost £14,000, with £11,000 from the Coastal Recycling Community Fund and North Devon Council making up the balance.

The existing informal footpath has been re-surfaced with recycled road tarmac, providing an accessible walk through the woods. The viewing area, at the eastern end of the woodland, has also been surfaced the same way and enclosed by a rail fence.

Executive Member responsible for parks and leisure, Councillor Dick Jones, said: “The new footpath is a great addition to the already excellent facilities at Yeo Valley Woodland. The path will provide an all-weather, year round walk through the woodland ending at the viewing platform, where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Barnstaple, the Taw and Torridge Estuary and Braunton Burrows.”

Yeo Valley ward member, Councillor Joy Cann, said: “Those using the Yeo Valley Woodland pathway will now have the added advantage of taking in the fabulous views of Barnstaple and beyond. Providing this pathway and railed area will make easier and safer access for families and children. We should recognise all the hard work that has gone into the completion of this wonderful project and hope that it will be greatly used.”

Stuart Passmore, member of the Friends of Yeo Valley Community Woodland group, said: “It’s great to have a wildlife space so close to the town centre and the addition of this new path has opened up access for all to enjoy the fantastic scenery.”

If you would like to become a volunteer at the woodland, contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388337 or email