Article Index


Mapperton - Earl and Countess of Sandwich - Beaminster - Mapperton Gardens is a romantic valley garden deep into a lost Dorset combe. The house, Elizabethan in origin, enlarged in the late 1660s, contains The Sandwich collection which includes pictures by Lely, Van de Velde the Younger, Scott, Reynolds and Hogarth. The House is open via guided tours only - "The paths in the Gardens are gravel and some areas are very steep due to the natural topography. Approximately 50% of the garden is considered to be accessible by wheelchair and there is a recommended wheelchair route...The café, the ground floor of house and the shop are all accessible to wheelchairs. However the house is not accessible in an electric wheelchair", accessible toilet located at the Sawmill cafe


Minterne House Gardens - Digby family - Minterne Magna, Dorchester - Landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown the gardens are laid out in a horseshoe below Minterne House, home of the Churchill and Digby families since 1620, it "hosts a world renowned and completely unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas, with Spring bulbs, Cherries, Maples and many fine and rare trees" - Their website states "Minterne Gardens are NOT SUITABLE for wheelchairs"


Nothe Fort - Weymouth Civic Society - Weymouth Harbour - a family attraction, the Fort is a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast. "Built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour, Nothe Fort is one of the best preserved Forts of its kind. The advances in technology that affected the Fort are explained through many displays, exhibits and audio visual facilities located on the ramparts, gun decks and maze of underground passageways" - "Acesss to those with Restricted Mobility is available to most of the fort including the cafe and all levels"


Portland Castle (EH) - Built by Henry VIII to defend England, the Castle also played a part in World War I and II. Attractions include Tudor kitchen, Great Hall, gardens, audio tour, tearoom, picnic tables - "There is disabled access to the Captain's House, ground floor of the castle, gift shop and the Governor's Garden...Hand held braille plaques are available for visitors on request...There is an induction loop installed permanently in the shop", accessible toilets, baby changing facilities


Sherborne Castle Digby family - Sherborne - Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 and the stately home of the Digby family since 1617, Sherborne Castle is a Historic House which reflects a glorious variety of decorative styles from over 400 years of English history, 42 acres of beautiful gardens and grounds, Capability Brown landscape, tea room, gift shop - Castle "Only the ground floor is accessible to wheelchair/scooter users, however this floor does include some of our most notable rooms", "Our garden paths all have a smooth gravel surface which has wheelchair/scooter users in mind; benches are located throughout the garden areas", "The Tearoom, Gift Shop and WCs are all accessible"


Sherborne Old Castle (EH)(ruin) - Built on a grand scale in the 12th century by the Bishop of Salisbury, Sherborne was coveted by churchmen and noblemen alike giving it a long, chequered history, "After withstanding two sieges during the Civil War, only the Southwest Gatehouse and parts of the castle, including the Great Tower and the North Range, now survive." - "The site is wheelchair accessible (all surfaces are grassed)....All pathways are gravel. There are also a number of undulating grassed areas...A single disabled unisex portaloo is available"


Thomas Hardy's Cottage (NT) - Dorchester - Evocative cob and thatch cottage, birthplace of Thomas Hardy in 1840. "The garden reflects most people's idea of a typical cottage garden, with roses around the door", shop, toilets and café at the visitor centre - "The ‘Accessible route’ to the cottage from the Visitor Centre is an uneven Bridlepath and can become deep sand during dry weather" Visitor Centre is accessible, the cottage is accessible to the ground floor only "There is space to turn a wheelchair easily only in the Parlour and in Granny’s Kitchen...There is a Braille guide which contains the information found in the Cottage Handbooks"



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