As the winter draws in this is especially relevant to all our groups as we continue our raft of countryside activities come rain, hail or snow. As usual, our calendar of activities is jam-packed over the next few months with activities including wildlife watching, walking and winter crafts.

“Bad weather doesn’t stop us doing what we do best – getting people with a disability out and about to enjoy the pleasures the countryside offers all year round,” says David. “For a lot of people, coming out with us in the winter months is important as it’s time when our members might otherwise struggle to get out and about, which can affect their health and wellbeing. Walking in the rain or snow can be more of a sensory experience for those with a visual impairment and the post-walk cake and cuppa is always much more enjoyable if you’ve really earned it!”

Mel from Ripon has been a member of Open Country for over 15 years. She says: “I have a love for the great outdoors and exercise always makes me feel better when I am feeling low. Without Open Country, I admit I would have given up with life after all the heartache and trauma I have been through. It is the only thing that keeps me going.”

Sarah has been a volunteer with Open Country for the last 15 years, mainly with the walking and outings groups. She comments: “I get a huge amount from volunteering with Open Country. Not only is it a great way to feel like you’re making a difference and helping people with a disability to enjoy the great outdoors all year round, it’s also a great way of keeping fit, both body and mind, and seeing parts of our beautiful countryside you wouldn’t normally visit – in all weathers! You can always guarantee a warm welcome on one of their activities, as well as bad singing and terrible jokes!”

If you are a member or a volunteer, please don’t be put off by the fact that the cold weather is well and truly here. It just takes a little more planning and preparation. Please remember to bring the following:

  • Woolly hat, gloves and scarf
  • Warm clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers
  • A spare jumper or fleece
  • A rucksack to leave your hands free with a bin liner to keep contents dry
  • Lots of food to keep you warm and a hot drink in an unbreakable flask
  • And have a good nourishing breakfast before you come out!

We have some outdoor gear that we can lend you – just ask! Don’t forget we will always try to offer you a service through the winter, even if it is a museum or art gallery trip, unless snow and ice makes conditions unsafe to travel.

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