Open Gardens is a UK National Directory listing open garden events across the country. It was started by two keen gardeners who organize open garden events in their own village in the hopes of providing a space where small organizations and individuals can publish their Open Garden Events that raises money for charity and good causes across the UK.
At the moment, the directory does not contain any accessibility information in their listings and it is necessary to contact individual organizers directly to gain information about wheelchair and disabled access. These events are lovely days out, usually at a relatively low cost (around £5 – 7 per adult ticket) and provide the opportunity to explore otherwise private gardens throughout the country.
Devizes and Roundway Open Gardens Event 2014
We attended the Devizes and Roundway Open Garden Event over the weekend and 14 of the 21 gardens listed were wheelchair accessible. The listing information did not always state finer details around accessibility, but for those with limited mobility, all the gardens we visited would be accessible. A good example is a a garden that was specifically listed as “No wheelchairs”. The only barrier was two steps to the entrance. Past that point, the garden had narrow but level paths with plenty of seating to sit down and take a break.
Open gardens are not just for keen gardeners, but also a great day out if you enjoy the outdoors and a cup of tea in the garden. Many events offer refreshments and there is the opportunity to have a chat with the gardeners and other visitors and not all conversation necessarily revolve around plants.
The events are also open to children and many do not charge for children tickets and I think most children would enjoy the opportunity to explore beautiful gardens. In Devizes and Roundway we learned more about plants, vegetable patches and fruit trees, picked strawberries and met some tadpoles, a peacock and fed the chickens.
It is an easy mistake to make to assume that private gardens will not be accessible to those with a disability and limited mobility. I was overwhelmed by the level of access in the gardens we visited and negotiated an electric wheelchair with ease along level paths, lawns and over ramps. Contact event organizers and ask about access for Open Garden Events. It really is a lovely day out.