Read our Accessibility Guide on the official VisitEngland site.
We are fortunate to have many returning guests, some have asked us about ‘our story’, how we ended up doing what we do and why it is so important to us – so, this is us.
We are a very small family business consisting of Sue, Terry and daughters Kendall (qualified mental health nurse, married with 3 little girls) Beth (married with a new baby, bio medical science degree from Durham uni) and Callie who is 20. We all live here at Barnacre and are involved in looking after and taking care of the cottages.
Our youngest daughter Callie has Downs Syndrome and I, Sue, due to illness in 2015, has spinal cord damage meaning I am a part time wheelchair user that can walk sometimes, but badly.
All of us, have experienced difficulties that other people without personal involvement would not even contemplate.
It was through Callie, (who can be grumpy, stubborn, awkward, lazy and loveable) that we started the holiday cottages back in 2000. The cottages enabled us to work from home and spend time looking after her, attend all her many medical and other appointments.
Via Callie, we have met other children, teenagers and adults (plus their parents and carers) with various special needs and learning difficulties. From personal experience when Callie has had a ‘moment’ or thrown a tantrum, it can make a huge difference to families when they are met with a kind word and understanding. We welcome everyone here.
My own illness involved months in hospital, the majority of which was in the spinal unit at Southport hospital. Part of my therapy included being trained in how to use a wheelchair properly .
Prior to being in that, for me a nightmare situation that I genuinely thought I was going to wake up from, I had thought that our cottages had pretty good facilities. We already had ramp access, wide doorways, raised sockets etc. Four of the cottages we had officially graded some years previously as being Mobility 1, and we had done lots of extra things that we, in our lack of personal experience, thought might help guests.
After returning home from hospital, one of the 1st things I did was to change the ground floor en suite wet rooms in both Mole End and Woodpecker cottages. In hospital there was no shelving next to the wash basin to put toiletries, so I either had to have them on my knee or put them in the basin. The cottages now have wide wash basins with plenty of space for toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap etc and wheelchairs can fit easily underneath them.
Large illuminated mirrors with touch sensors come right down to the wash basin, so a guest sat in a wheelchair can actually see themselves, not just the top of their heads!
I have designed those wet rooms in Mole End and Woodpecker with my experience and how I thought they might work well for guests. I chose accessories and fittings that are stylish and discreet, that would and do enable me to look at a wash room wherever we go and know if I will be able to look after myself in there, or if I reluctantly need someones help. Whilst I know I am disabled, seeing how clinical some facilities can be is disheartening.
There are stainless grab rails either side of the toilets which fold down from the walls. A douche spray next to the toilet has also been installed, surprisingly very useful.
In the large wet room type shower areas, which can accommodate a wheelchair and a few helpers, we don’t have fixed screens. They can get in the way. Instead we have shower curtains if you want some privacy. There are also fold down grab rails creating a smaller enclosed area, which can be helpful for wobbly guests. There are fold down shower seats but we can provide plastic shower chairs if preferred.
Although there are fixed rainfall shower heads, there is also a shower spray that can be hand held, which is useful as you don’t always want to wash your hair every time you take a shower – it takes up too much energy!
Both Mole End and Woodpecker have two large ground floor ensuite wet rooms, including one that has a bath. The bath does have a grab rail for assistance in getting out.
Our recent grading inspection rated these two cottages now as mobility 2, and they are the ones which we would recommend for guests with mobility issues.
The three original cottages, Partridge, Old Stables and the Piggeries, were converted from the old stone farm buildings. This has meant we have been restricted in what we are allowed to do in regards to changing the rooms sizes and layouts. But there are some features we have managed to include, such as ground floor toilet facilities in Partridge and Piggeries, and the Old Stables does have two ground floor bedrooms and a ground floor shower room. Which can mean that these cottages are suitable for some guests, but they are not recommended for guests in wheelchairs.
However, as much as we can provide lots of information on here, sometimes there is no substitute for actually speaking to a real person. You are very welcome and encouraged to ring us, to clarify any points or concerns that you might have prior to booking.
A break can be much needed and if we can help make a guests stay successful, then we will try.
There is always a family member here to assist guests.
Our number is 01995 600918.