Here at Accomable, we know you love browsing our listings to find the accessible holiday destination that’s right for you. We also know that when it comes to choosing the perfect accessible property, the devil really is in the detail - so we’re bringing you more of it.
Meet The Vendors is a series of interviews designed to take you behind closed (fully accessible) doors and give a more in-depth look at some of the properties we feature. Shona, Head of Operations at Accomable, takes you behind the scenes with David and Felicity from Hoe Grange Holidays.
In the words of Cilla Black, "what's your name and where do you come from"?
We are David and Felicity Brown of Hoe Grange Holidays in the Derbyshire Peak District. We offer four cosy log cabins on a working farm, three of which are wheelchair accessible with fully equipped wet room showers. This year for the more able bodied we have added two totally gorgeous glamping pods; a luxurious romantic escape just for two!
What's the story behind the cabins at Hoe Grange?
Hoe Grange developed as a holiday destination 10 years ago as a diversification to the family dairy farm. However the concept goes back about 40 years when my father thought about building log cabins for holiday homes. The idea was never developed at the time as the local planners thought that Derbyshire was not an attractive holiday destination!
Felicity and I revisited the idea when it became apparent that we needed to find a complimentary business to provide the financial support to sustain the farm. During our market research we realised that good quality holiday accommodation with accessible facilities was vastly under-supplied, both locally and nationally.
As we were building log cabins from scratch, rather than converting farm buildings, we were able to incorporate accessibility into the design. Our wheelchair accessible cabin with a real “home from home” feel was an instant success, and led the way for the future development of the business.
In response to demand two further accessible cabins were added, together with a wide range of specialist equipment, including a Boma 7 off-road wheelchair. Concentrating on offering accessible holidays also led to a number of national awards, including Visit England Excellence Gold Award for Access for All in both 2011 and 2016, as well as the prestigious Catey Award for Access in 2015.
Wow,those are some accolades, how do you enable people with disabilities to stay?
Our cabins are not adapted for guests with disabilities, they were designed and built with accessibility in mind from the start, and therefore have the space and ease of use that comes without compromise, whilst retaining a feel of luxury and homeliness.
This does not mean that as we have grown we have not improved. We are constantly upgrading our facilities, taking into account the views of our many guests whom have a wide range of needs. We may not be suitable for everybody, but we strive to be as inclusive as possible whilst still remaining an attractive choice for the majority of holiday guests. We have invested in a long list of equipment for people with mobility or sensory difficulties to try to cater for as wide and audience as possible.
Why did you think it was important to have adaptations?
By offering adaptations and a wide range of equipment everyone can enjoy their holiday. We are very lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, but as the name “The Peak District” implies it is not the most accessible. We have a “can do” approach and by working alongside like-minded people, especially Accessible Derbyshire, Visit Peak District and the Peak District National Park Authority, we have tirelessly promoted interesting things to do in our area that are suitable for everyone.
So much so that Hoe Grange was the first holiday accommodation to purchase a Boma 7 off road wheelchair to enable less mobile guests to join family and friends as they explore the rugged countryside. The smile on people’s faces says it all!
With the growing number of people needing specialist accommodation we think it is imperative as a forward looking business to grasp this opportunity and stand out from the crowd.
Have you ever had anyone famous stay?
Do four legs count? We haven’t had any famous people to stay, but as we offer our guests the opportunity to bring their own horse on holiday, this lead to us being the base for a troop of stunt horses during filming of “Wolfman” at Chatsworth House. The impressive star of the show was Sevilla a handsome gentle grey stallion who can be seen in many films, including the big show down in Hot Fuzz!
What is your favourite thing to do in the local area?
Our favourite pastime is tasting the delicious local food and drink on offer in the Peak District, just so we can recommend the best to our guests, of course! Being farmers meat is very important, and the locally produced beef and lamb is the best there is (not that we are at all biased!). But it doesn’t stop there; we have venison, buffalo, pork and poultry all expertly reared by dedicated farmers all over the area. Couple that with a vast network of artisan breweries to mega breweries in Burton on Trent you can always be sure of a pint to wash it down with. And if that wasn’t enough our local pudding maker, who featured on TV’s Britain’s Best Baker, makes the best lemon meringue pie in the world. Finally, don’t forget to tickle your taste buds with a Bakewell pudding (not a tart!!).
Are there any exciting activities in the area that are adapted for people with disabilities?
Chatsworth House is the jewel in the crown of the Peak District. Recently adapted it is almost all accessible to someone in a wheelchair. The home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth is one of the finest stately homes in England, with its gold leaf windows, extravagant state rooms and glorious gardens landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown, you can easily spend the whole day absorbing the many wonders.
If you enjoy the outdoors why not explore the High Peak, Tissington and Monsal Trails which have superb views, tunnels to excite and a surface that makes wheeled exploration easy, great for pushchairs too. Take to the water with sailability at Carsington or for more of a thrill try abseiling at Miller’s Dale.
Do you have any tips for travellers staying with you?
The most important thing to bring with you when travelling to our area is a sense of adventure, laced liberally with a can-do attitude, so that you can embrace all that Derbyshire has to offer. Don’t forget your camera to capture those magic moments with friends, and sun cream because it never rains, much... well not all the time!
And finally, what sort of a traveller are you?
Living in the countryside, we enjoy city breaks where everything is available on the doorstep at all times of day and night – a real novelty!
But for us as farmers a real holiday is to switch off completely on a beach or by the pool, relax and read a book, and above all not to have to feed the farm animals, worry about who’s checking in today, or answer any e-mails. David dreams of an extended trip to New Zealand and Australia - maybe one day!
Wow, thank you so much Felicity and David, a trip to Hoe Grange sounds so exciting, and you are clearly dedicated the accessibility! There are so many accessible activities to keep the adrenaline junkies happy, or it looks like the perfect place for R&R as well! If you'd like to enquire about a stay at Hoe Grange, please do so here.