Popular Beach Wheelchair scheme celebrates 15 years of improving accessibility

Posted On : 31/08/2022

A Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority-run scheme to improve the accessibility of Pembrokeshire’s beaches for those with mobility problems is now in its 15th year and is empowering more people to explore the magnificent coastline than ever before.

The Beach Wheelchair scheme was set up in 2007 with funding from the Welsh Government. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses who host the chairs and make them available to members of the public, availability has increased significantly over the last 15 years, with wheelchairs and other mobility aids now available from 14 different locations around the Park.

Standard size beach wheelchairs can now be hired from:

  • Crwst, Poppit Sands
  • The Wavecrest Café, West Angle Bay
  • Windswept Watersports, Dale Beach
  • Jack’s at the Longhouse, Freshwater East
  • The Dennis Café, Tenby’s Castle Beach
  • The Stone Crab, Saundersfoot Beach
  • Caffi Mawr, Newport Sands
  • YHA, Broad Haven North
  • Sunlounger and Deckchair Hire, Whitesands

Children’s beach wheelchairs are available at:

  • Crwst, Poppit Sands
  • Jack’s at the Longhouse, Freshwater East
  • Salty’s, Tenby South Beach
  • Good Trails, Coppet Hall Beach
  • Joe’s Diner, Tenby North Beach.

On some beaches, it may also be possible for those in need of a helper to arrange for volunteer support.

An additional beach wheelchair is located at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s HQ in Pembroke Dock (pre-arranged loans and preview systems only), and all-terrain ‘Push’ wheelchairs by Mountain Trike are also available at Carew Castle.

The chairs are designed for wheelchair users and those who struggle to walk on sandy beaches. While supporting improved access for many, they do not come with any additional harnesses, other than the lap belt. As a result, users will need to be able to get in and out of the chair without the need of a hoist or stand aid.

National Park Authority Beach Wheelchair Coordinator, Sarah Beauclerk said: “Over the last 15 years, Pembrokeshire’s beaches really have become some of the most accessible in Wales, and the future looks brighter still.

“We have recently secured Brilliant Basics funding, which will enable us to introduce another Mountain Trike to our growing fleet, as well as roll-out trackways, all terrain rollators, and a mobile hoist.

“The feedback we’ve received from users has been incredible. For many, it’s been a long time since they were able to enjoy the sights and sounds of a beach, and using the wheelchairs has been an exhilarating and emotional experience.

“None of this would be possible without the support of the local businesses enrolled in the scheme, and we’d like to extend our thanks to them once again for making such a difference to people’s lives.”

With the exception of the Whitesands wheelchair, which can be picked up on site, subject to availability and a small charge, all wheelchairs can now be booked online in advance at https://beachwheelchairs.simplybook.it/v2/#book. This ensures that a reserved chair will be available on arrival.

To find out more about Access for All in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, including information on beach wheelchairs, visit pembrokeshirecoast.wales/access-for-all.

Two children on a beach using beach wheelchairs