New Wheelchair Accessible Boat

Disabled anglers across Oxfordshire can fish independently with new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat

For many Brits, fishing is an integral part of their life.

Fishing requires lots of focus and awareness of the immediate surroundings – it is, in effect, a forced mindfulness.

Fishing his takes your mind off internal conflict and stress, and helps to reduce anxiety, fight off depression, and promote relaxation.

In fact, studies have shown that fishing lowers your cortisol levels (otherwise known as the stress hormone), and this positive effect can last for as long as three weeks after a fishing trip.

Fishing has also been used to help people who have experienced trauma or suffer from PTSD due to traumatic life experiences such as wars, accidents and severe medical issues.

Sadly though, whilst the benefits are clear, angling, boating and fishing is not always the most accessible pastime for people with limited mobility.

In 2019, the Wheelyboat Trust and the Angling Trust set about to change that.

The two organisations invited fisheries and angling clubs throughout the country to apply for several part-funded Wheelyboats, which would allow people in wheelchairs with independent access to fishing sites across the UK.

Now, a brand-new purpose-built angling boat – a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat – has been launched on Farmoor Reservoir (Farmoor 1), allowing disabled anglers across Oxfordshire to fish independently.

Farmoor Reservoir, owned by Thames Water, is the largest single area of open water in Oxfordshire, and is stocked with 25,000 fish annually.

Will Barnard, Thames Water’s Fisheries Manager, said:

“Farmoor is open to everyone, and we’re delighted to be working with The Wheelyboat Trust and the Angling Trust so that people who may not have been able to go fishing before can now come and enjoy a day on the water in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.”

The new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat, which will be based on Farmoor 1, will now enable disabled anglers, and wheelchair users in particular, to fly-fish independently for rainbow and brown trout. Farmoor 1 offers a ‘catch and release’ policy, whereas Farmoor 2 is a ‘take home’.

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said:

“The launch of Farmoor 1’s Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is an extremely exciting moment not just for local disabled anglers who’re keen to fish on Farmoor 1 but haven’t yet been able to, but also for all those involved in this project, as now disabled anglers, like me, can fish independently here too. We hope their new boat brings joy and many successful fishing ventures to all on board.”

Just some of the benefits to disabled anglers include:

  • A hydraulic platform built into the floor for step-free roll-on, roll-off wheelchair access
  • Drive-from-wheelchair tiller helm
  • Space on board for three anglers including two wheelchair users
  • Designed primarily for angling on stillwaters, on the drift or at anchor

The Wheelyboat Trust relies on donations from individuals and organisations and their work could not continue without the ongoing generosity they provide. To donate and help The Trust get more disabled people out on UK waters, or to find out more about, visit

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