Here at Patshull Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club we are very proud of our Fishery and the outstanding fishing it offers. Situated in the stunning Shropshire countryside midway between Telford and Wolverhampton we offer some of the best fishing in the West Midlands. Our staff work hard to make all visitors feel welcome and are pleased to be able to offer facilities suitable for disabled anglers.
We spoke to Terry Moseley, President of the British Disabled Anglers Association (BDAA), about Disabled Fishing and his experiences of fishing at Patshull Park. The BDAA was founded in 1996 to develop opportunities for disabled people of all ages and abilities to access the activity of fishing in the UK.
Terry, what makes a good venue for disabled fishing?
The main barrier for disabled anglers is a lack of accessible fishing locations. We want to be able to fish at venues with facilities comparable with those enjoyed by our non-disabled counterparts. When looking for a suitable fishery the attitude of the owners and staff is very important. When a disabled person contacts the fishery, the person on the other end of the phone can determine whether they choose to visit or not. A bad attitude or lack of understanding of different needs can lead disabled anglers to look elsewhere. The facilities on offer are also a deciding factor. The basic facilities that we would expect to see would be easily accessible parking, suitable surfaces to walk or wheel on to reach buildings and fishing areas, suitable and accessible toilet facilities, and access into buildings and recreational areas. Basically, if a non-disabled person can access an area then a disabled person should also be catered for. Fishing areas and access to them is the final and often most important consideration for many disabled visitors. Can they get to them alone? Do they need to bring an assistant to help? We encourage fisheries to provide all of this detail in an access statement on their website, so that people can make an informed choice as to the fisheries suitability for their particular needs.
What specialist equipment is needed for disabled fishing?
Most disabled people don’t need any special equipment to enjoy a good angling experience. The standard equipment purchased in any tackle shop is often suitable. Although, those with more severe impairments such as tetraplegia, stroke survivors, head injury or upper limb amputees, may require fishing equipment adapted to suit their individual needs. In most cases though it is more about the disabled person learning how to adapt their way of fishing, rather than trying to conform to more traditional or orthodox fishing methods. If people want to know more, British Disabled Angling Association has a Facebook page full of examples of specialised equipment and how to use it.
What’s does Patshull Park Fishery offer for disabled anglers? What makes it suitable for disabled fishing?
The staff at Patshull Park Fishery have always cared what disabled people think of their facilities and fishing. All of the staff have a great attitude to disabled visitors – nothing is too much trouble. They treat everyone as an equal, regardless of impairment. I have always received a friendly and warm welcome, great fishing advice, and help with getting fishing rods and equipment to the boat or stands. The staff are genuine and non-patronising which is welcomed by disabled visitors to the fishery.
Over the years Patshull Park Fisheries have done a great deal to make the fishing experience as inclusive as possible. They have held a number of disabled invitation trout fishing competitions, encouraging more disabled people to try game fishing. On reviewing their facilities the Fishery staff realised that some disabled anglers were only able to fish from the boards due to access issues. The Fishery and the BDDA helped the local trout club Patshull Flyfishers to obtain a grant from the lottery fund Awards for All to buy a Wheely Boat. This boat is designed to carry wheelchairs and allows access to the whole of the lake. The boat is for the sole use of disabled anglers and is operated by the fishery for the club and its use is free of charge. The Fishery then had a grant from the environment agency which helped fund the access to the boat by building the pathways and slipway. In addition, the staff also looked at improving the existing toilet facilities in order to make them more accessible for disabled anglers. Although they are not perfect for every disability, these improvements are a welcome addition to the fully accessible toilets that are available in the hotel. Many fisheries don’t consider how mobility impaired visitors can access the fishing areas, and simply concentrate on making the fishing platforms accessible. Patshull Park Fishery has ensured there are a variety of fully accessible areas for disabled anglers to fish, rather than a single designated area which can often become overused impairing the fishing experience. Depending on their level of disability, some disabled anglers may need assistance with tasks such as getting on and off the boat, or with carrying equipment. It is a good idea to call ahead when planning a visit to check that there is someone around to help them should they need it.
Finally, what is the fishing like at Patshull Park Fishery?
I feel that the Patshull Park fishery is one of the finest around. It is a pleasure to take in the splendour of the grounds and Capability Brown’s vision of the Great Lake. I marvel at tranquillity that can be found around every bend and turn of the lake. Like all fisheries the trout have good days and not so good, more dependent on the weather than the number of fish in the lake. If you are willing to seek the fish out, they are there in their numbers. Fishing at Patshull Park feels like a mystical experience with stunning scenery, history and wildlife that you would normally only expect to be found in the more rural parts of England. Yet this fishery is less than 3 miles from a busy motorway and major city! When given a free choice of venues, Patshull Park Fishery would be my preference from both an anglers and disabled visitor’s point of view.
If you would like to know more about Disabled Fishing at Patshull Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club please call the Fishing Lodge on 01902 700774