Empowering people with disabilities for over 25 years
Heritage Ability

Helping heritage sites become more accessible to disabled people and Deaf people who use British Sign Language

Heritage Ability is a project designed to support heritage sites to become more accessible.  It is delivered by Living Options Devon and operates across the South-West, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Cockington Park interpreted talk 2016 photo








Our vision is:
As a result of Heritage Ability, disabled and Deaf people with their families and friends will have meaningful, inspiring and life-enriching engagements with the South West’s rich and varied heritage.  The region’s heritage sector will be supported to develop a sustainable disability and Deaf friendly culture, improve their visitor experiences and become more resilient.

So what have we been up to so far?
During 2016 we have been piloting new approaches to making heritage more inclusive and involving disabled and Deaf people (who use British Sign Language) in their local heritage sites.  We learned a lot from this development phase and revised the project accordingly, and in November our second round submission went in to the HLF.  A decision will be made in March 2017 and, if we are successful, we aim to get the main Delivery phase up and running by June 2017.  We’ll then have three years in which to make a big impact on the heritage sector in the South-West.

Researching a new Tramper route at Durdle Door, Dorset








Pilot Sites
For 2016 we recruited 6 pilot sites to trial different approaches and ensure that when we come to the main Delivery phase we have ironed out any teething problems.

The pilot sites were:
•    Wheal Martyn Clay Mining Museum, St Austell – trialling a Deaf-friendly talk
•    Kents Cavern, Torquay - trialling BSL-guided tours led by Deaf volunteers
•    Cockington Country Park, Torquay – trialling an Open Day with a wide range of accessible activities
•    Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter – trialling activities for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
•    Killerton House, nr. Exeter – trialling BSL video clips filmed by volunteers, interpreting the heritage of the house
•    Durlston Country Park, Swanage – trialling versions of their site leaflet in more accessible formats

These 6 partners will be joined by another 14 – at least – spanning the whole of the region, from Geevor Tin Mine and Godolphin in the far west to Moors Valley Country Park and the Forest of Dean in the north and east.

Here is the list of participating sites:

Partner sites
1. Geevor Tin Mine, Nr Penzance
2. Godolphin, Nr Penzance
3. National Maritime Museum, Falmouth
4. Wheal Martyn Museum, St Austell
5. Cockington Country Park, Torquay
6. Kents Cavern, Torquay
7. Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
8. Killerton House, Nr Exeter
9. Seaton Wetlands
10. Seaton Jurassic
11. Seaton Tramway
12. Yeovil Country Park
13. Lulworth Estate, Purbeck
14. Durlston Country Park, Swanage
15. Moors Valley Country Park, Nr Bournemouth
16. Prior Park, Bath
17. Forest of Dean

We are still looking for a few more partner sites and are prioritising those that want to have an all-terrain mobility scooter at their site.  Please get in touch if you know of anywhere that may be interested.

It’s still early days for the project and if you would like to get involved, the project team would welcome input.  In particular we are looking for:
•      Disabled volunteers to support and advise the project
•      Heritage sites that want to get involved

Click here to read Countryside Jobs Service's latest publication featuring Heritage Ability!

Using the Echometer Touch on a Deaf-led bat walk








To find out more please contact the Heritage Ability team:
Telephone: 01392 459 222
Text / Glide (video message): 0795 851 7919
Email: heritageability@livingoptions.org

Click here to view some useful websites!

Heritage Lottery Fund logoDeaf awareness training for heritage site staff at Kents Cavern, TorquayThe front cover of our Easy Read version of Durlston Country Park’s most popular leafletFilming BSL clips to interpret the heritage of Killerton House with a Deaf volunteer

Click to view larger images

About Us

Living Options Devon is a well respected user-led organisation which works to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people can live the life they choose.

Set up in 1990 LOD is a registered charity (Charity N0. 1102489) and a company limited by guarantee (No. 4925281). Based in Exeter and Barnstaple, our charitable aims mean we we can offer services across the South West and share good practice throughout the UK.

Being led and run by people with disabilities and Deaf people ensures LOD has first hand knowledge and understanding of the issues facing service users and so is very well placed to increase the influence and voice of Deaf and disabled people. We do this by providing education, training and services which enable people to live the lives they choose.

You can follow us on


Contact us

There are a number of ways you can contact us:

By telephone: 01392 459222

By email: info@livingoptions.org

By SMS: 07958 517919

By post: Living Options Devon, Ground Floor Units 3-4, Cranmere Court, Lustleigh Close, Matford Business Park, Exeter EX2 8PW