Glamping featured twice in last week’s George Clarke’s wonderful ‘Amazing Spaces’ TV programme (Thursdays, CH4 at 8pm), and the accessible glamping pod covered in the show provided GG with some deep thoughts on how we could help make it easier for wheelchair users to find accessible glamping accommodation should they wish to go glamping!
For the able bodied, most take it for granted that they can go and do what they want…but for wheelchair users, this is something that they need to work out every time they wish to go and do something different, to make sure it is accessible to them.
This is what James Ford from Gloucestershire discovered, when on a “trip of a lifetime” abroad, suffered a terrible collision with another motorcyclist, leaving him in a wheelchair for a year. James loved being outdoors and outdoor pursuits and it was whilst he was bed bound, he had his epiphany on creating the ultimate glamping pod that would be accessible for wheelchair users.
Now Glamping is one of the things that wouldn’t be thought of as being typically accessible for wheelchair users, not only because one of the key aspects of glamping is being close to nature, (and out in the middle of nowhere), but also because we haven’t come across many that are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users. So, for the glamp sites that are accessible for wheelchairs, it would be great if their accommodation was too!
Once back on his feet, James decided to ditch his job, re-train as a carpenter and build the perfect accessible glamping pod – and with just a £4k budget, he set to work.
James designed a barrel shaped glamping pod that would sleep 4, measuring 2.5m tall, by 2.5m wide and 4m deep. The pod also included a 1m overhang for a decking area, perfect for our British weather! His first commission came from a local college…and he started to build the pod, which wasn’t as plain sailing as he had hoped! His initial measurements were slightly off, and with such a small budget, James couldn’t afford to make a mistake! James re-worked his measurements and his first pod was completed.
James’ pod proved to be a big hit, with the college quickly ordering a further 3 pods! We loved the finished result, and you could see how spacious and roomy the pods were, so great for wheelchair users. Beautiful touches were evident, such as the lovely carved bed rails which finished the pods off nicely. Each pod can sleep either 2 or 4 people in comfort. George came to have a look at the pods, and it was plain to see he was really impressed with James as well as the finished pods. “So cosy, so snug” said George, “sleeping for 4 people…really comfortably…”
And James didn’t stop his design work there! He has since built the most incredible “Hobbit” pod, with it’s round door and round windows it looks very reminiscent of something from Lord of the Rings! The cabin sleeps 2 and includes a dining area, woodburner and double bed. It looks so gorgeous, GG thinks it would make a great addition to any glampsite! James, if you read this, let us know if you sell it, we would love to know if it ends up as a glamping retreat!
Glamping Owners – if you have disabled / wheelchair accessible accommodation, please get in touch! To help glamping enthusiasts find accessible accommodation, we will be adding an “Accessible Glamping” section to our site.