National Trust Brean Down buggy

The National Trust has reassured users of its Brean Down off-road scooters that it takes safety “very seriously” following an incident at the weekend in which a lady was hurt.

Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards and several ambulance crews were called to rescue a woman on Brean Down after the scooter she was using tipped over.

The teams were called to help the lady near Brean Down Fort on Saturday afternoon, as reported here.

A National Trust spokeswoman told this week: “We take the safety of our visitors very seriously. We always give a safety and instruction talk at the start of every hire.”

“We also provide users with a map of routes that the tramper is safe to use on and obtain a user declaration indicating that the user is aware not to take the vehicle off designated safe routes.”

“We’d like to thank the emergency services for their quick response at Brean Down this weekend.”

The scooters  – known as trampers – are electric all-terrain mobility scooters designed specifically to cover rough ground and grass safely. They can go up and down slopes, over bumps and tree roots, through shallow puddles, mud and soft ground.

The National Trust says the trampers are for use by anyone who struggles with walking distances or up hills, or who has limited mobility of any kind. Trampers are available to book from 10.30am on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday,  Saturday and Sunday. As Brean Down is home to only two trampers, advance booking is essential on 01278 751874.

Due to the slippery conditions underfoot on Saturday following heavy rain, a lengthy rescue operation was undertaken to move the scooter rider safely to a nearby ambulance for treatment for minor injuries.

A Burnham Coastguard spokesman says: “The National Trust has an off-road buggy available to hire for those who would not otherwise be able to partake in views that some of us take for granted. One such adventurer had hired the buggy and taken it up along the highest point and on towards the fort.”

“Unfortunately, the downward path is very steep and this led to an awkward fall as the buggy, at an angle, tipped and deposited the lady out onto the ground.”

“Some of our Coastguard team members were out at the time on a mission to gather information of where defibrillators are in the area when they spotted an ambulance sat at the gate of Brean Down and decided to approach them to offer assistance.”

“We unlocked the gate and followed them up to the fort to assist with the casualty while the rest of the team were paged. As the ambulance crew was treating the casualty the ambulance’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) arrived and together we quickly set about creating an extraction plan.”

“Due to the rain, our options were limited, and the slippery terrain meant carrying a stretcher was potentially dangerous to all concerned. A helicopter was also not available so we had to go to ‘plan C’.”

“A natural ‘holdfast’ was found and, using a stretcher, some rope, and a line controller, we were able to lower her down the steep slope in a painstakingly slow but safe manner taking care not to cause any further pain to the lady.”

“Once she was down the slope we all transferred her to the ambulance and she was treated on scene for some minor injuries and the buggy was recovered by the National Trust team member.”

“A wonderful example of inter-agency working and thinking outside the box by all concerned to achieve a safe passage for the injured person. As always it was a pleasure working with our fellow 999 colleagues.”

“If you have an emergency along the coast, then don’t hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Pictured: The incident underway at Brean at the weekend (Photos: Burnham Coastguards)

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