Wheelchair Accessible Glamping in Wales | COVID Safe Travel
Anxious about the future of wheelchair accessible travel for disabled people in the era of COVID? Read my new series of #SafeAccessibleTravel interviews. Today I’m chatting to the lovely Ellie from Canvas & Campfires, a business offering wheelchair accessible glamping safari tents in Wales.
Can you tell us a little bit about Canvas & Campfires?
Canvas & Campfires is a luxury glamping site set in the heart of the West Wales countryside. With the mountains and the sea both less than 30 mins away, it is a great place to explore the unspoilt county of Ceredigion. The glamping site is set on a family smallholding. There are 5 Safari tents on-site, with two having been created with a host of accessible features including ramped access, level thresholds, and level access wet-rooms with grabrails, shower seats and roll-under sinks in the kitchen and bathroom.
Read More: Accessibility at Canvas & Campfires
What is your role?
I am Ellie and together with husband Dan we own and run Canvas & Campfires.
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
We made the decision to close our site in early March, lockdown seemed inevitable and we wanted to give guests as much notice as possible and help protect our local community. Whilst we understand and totally support the need for a lockdown it has mean that we have lost a huge amount of this season and our income. When we do open we will need to limit the number of units we open and allow more space between bookings so we expect to feel the impact of Covid-19 for quite some time.
Canvas & Campfires provides dedicated accessible facilities for disabled guests. How has the accessibility been affected by any changes you’ve had to make?
On the whole, we haven’t had to make drastic changes to the site other than close one unit and allow more time between guests. When we welcome guests back we won’t be able to carry out the same settling in process where we take guests through how everything in their tent works, i.e. the fire. We will be producing captioned video guides for people to watch/listen to before they arrive and will be demonstrating as much as we can outside in a distanced way. For guests who are visually impaired, we will no longer be able to offer guided site/accommodation tours so we are currently working on ways that we can work around this to enable us to offer the same service to those guests. We will also be asking guests to make and strip their own beds or bring their own bedding. If this isn’t practical for our guests we will ensure we make beds for guests in new PPE and will keep contact to a minimum.
Have you taken any extra training to ensure that Canvas & Campfires is COVID safe?
We have completed online training and have created a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure we are doing all we can to create a safe space for our guests and staff. We have a COVID safe ‘Good to Go’ accreditation.
Can you tell us about the cleaning procedures you’ve put in place?
We have done a comprehensive risk assessment and will be wearing PPE whilst cleaning. We will be allowing over 24 hours between guests to allow for sufficient airing of the tents before cleaning and to allow extra time for deep cleaning. We will be using products certified to kill Sars-Cov-2. All surfaces will be cleaned and then disinfected. The bathrooms will be cleaned with bleach, all high touch areas including zips and window ties will be cleaned with 80% alcohol and we have an additional food safe disinfectant cleaner that will be used in food prep areas.
Bed linen will be washed by our suppliers at 60 degrees and with a disinfectant. Bed linen will then be sealed in bags ready for customers to put on the beds. We will also wash all mattress and pillow protectors between guests.
Have you adjusted check-in and check-out times and procedures?
We have adjusted bookings to allow a minimum of 24 hours between guests, this also means we can keep check-in and check-out times the same.
Are you offering extra flexibility for bookings?
Yes, we have changed our booking policy to a 20% non-refundable but moveable deposit with the balance being due 10 days before a guest comes to stay. If COVID means that customers can’t come on holiday then the 80% is refunded and we will move the deposit to another date.
As you reopen, roughly how many people will be on-site at any one time?
We have shut one of our units to allow for dedicated facilities for the tents. Each of the tents sleeps up to 6 people and we have a 2-person barn so the maximum number of people on-site at any one time will be 26. We have an 11-acre site and there is lots of space between safari tents so physical distancing on-site should be absolutely achievable.
Eating and drinking – will supermarkets deliver to Canvas & Campfires? Are there local, safe options for takeaways and/or eating out?
Asda, Tesco and Morrisons both deliver to our site as do our local deli and independent supermarket Watson & Pratts. There are a number of takeaways locally and lots of independent businesses that are doing take away/click and collect options.
For guests who wish to get out and about, are there accessible activities or places to visit nearby with social distancing measures in place?
We are still waiting to hear whether all the usual attractions will be open but we expect the accessible and well-run National Trust properties will be open with appropriate measures in place. There are accessible coastal paths and beaches nearby as well as the Elan Valley. As we get more information on what will be open and the plans they have for social distancing we will let people know.
An important thing to consider when getting out and about is the availability of accessible toilets. Are you aware of local accessible toilets which are open at the moment?
Currently, there are no public toilets open in Wales.
Are you able to provide information about nearby hospitals?
Yes, we have 2 local hospitals and provide information about both of them to guests in our guest information booklet.
Have you made any changes that we haven’t already covered?
We are adding fridges and mains lighting to our adapted tents so there will be no need for guests to go into shared areas. We are also looking at how we can do a socially distanced ‘meet the animals’ for each set of guests that stay with us. Usually, we do animal rounds every morning where people can come and feed the animals and collect the eggs but we feel this is impossible to do safely in a socially distanced way.
Where can people find out more about Canvas & Campfires?
A huge thank you to Ellie for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m delighted to say that I’ll be going on my own wheelchair accessible glamping adventure in Wales to review Canvas & Campfires accessibility on this blog, as soon as we can get it booked in.
If you’re planning future wheelchair accessible travels, I have some blog posts which may help.
Read More: #SafeAccessibleTravel Interviews