New wheelchair-accessible fishing boat added to fleet at Northamptonshire reservoir

The boat means wheelchair users are now able to fish independently in the county

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:24 pm
Angler Alan Carleton and Tim Haines (Ranger, Anglian Water) demonstrating the roll-on roll-off access on. Photo: Stephen Logsdail.

A new wheelchair-accessible fishing boat has joined the fleet at a Northamptonshire reservoir.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir has introduced the boat to enable anyone with a disability to fish independently on the reservoir.

The new boat will set sail on the waters of the reservoir for the duration of the fishing season and will enable disabled anglers and wheelchair users to fish for rainbow trout, try out predator fishing and for those new to the sport to learn the art of fly fishing.

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The new ‘Coulam 16 Wheelyboat’ is the result of a joint venture between The Wheelyboat Trust, the Angling Trust and Anglian Water.

Andy Beadsley, director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said: “Wheelyboats are a lifeline for anyone with a mobility, learning or sensory impairment, as users can board safely and independently, rather than being manhandled into the boat which is not only unsafe but also undignified.

“Every Coulam 16 Wheelyboat has a hydraulic platform built into the floor which allows roll-on, roll-off wheelchair access from a pontoon, and its drive-from-wheelchair helm enables anyone in a wheelchair to not only board the Wheelyboat easily, but drive it too.

“Once on board, users can then enjoy being out on the water independently, a feeling I know the joy of first-hand. It’s fantastic to know that disabled anglers can enjoy fishing independently at Ravensthorpe thanks to this new Wheelyboat.”

Ravensthorpe is a 114-acre Victorian reservoir that has a long history of fishing, having been stocked with trout since the early 1890s.

Since then, it’s proved a popular spot with anglers who can fish from the bank, by boat, kayak or float tube.

The shallow waters make dry fly fishing popular, and each year almost 9,000 rainbow trout are stocked in the reservoir – including some larger fish reaching 15 pounds.

William Kirstein, park manager, added: “I am really pleased that we are able to make fishing at Ravensthorpe accessible for everyone with our new Wheelyboat.

“It’s important to improve the physical assets at the fishery so that everyone can fish here. “Now, our growing fleet is on par with our other sites at Pitsford, Rutland Water and Grafham, which is fantastic news for disabled anglers in Northamptonshire, Rutland and beyond.”

Ravensthorpe’s Wheelyboat will need to be booked in advance.

Visit the park’s website to find out more.