5 accessible walks and nature reserves across the UK for anyone with a disability

5 accessible walks and nature reserves across the UK for anyone with a disability

With a bank holiday on Monday, the long weekend is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the beautiful countryside, varied nature and fresh air that the UK has to offer. But, before you head out, you’ll want to be assured that your chosen beauty spot is accessible for your disability. To help you choose the best for you, we’ve asked AccessAble to select five of the most accessible walks and nature reserves from across the UK, all for people with a range of disabilities.

Spring and summer are the perfect time to get back to nature and explore the UK’s nature reserves and country walks. But what if you have accessibility needs? How can you be confident that you won’t turn up to find totally inaccessible routes and paths with a lack of facilities you can actually use?

Our list of five accessible walks and nature reserves is here to help you be prepared – and therefore enjoy a stress-free day out. 

Maybe you need step-free access, level paths and smooth terrain. Or you could be searching for places that have a hearing loop for their points of interest and staff trained in sign language. If you have a visual impairment you might be interested in routes that have information in Braille or large print. Even something as simple as knowing the distance from the car park to the start of a walking route. Whatever you need, we’ve got it covered.

All the information is from our AccessAble website, where our detailed access guides tell you all about a place’s access. They are all 100% facts, figures and photographs, from the organisations we work with and disabled people who have been there. We also send trained AccessAble surveyors to check out every single place in person to verify the information.

For each place, we have added links to the main Detailed Access Guide, so you can check all the information you need. We’ve also included full access guides to attractions, hotels and B&Bs, restaurants and pubs/bars, so you can see everything the local areas have to offer.

1. Childwall Woods, Liverpool

This 39-acre woodland is a designated local nature reserve in the South East suburbs of Liverpool, with views overlooking the Lancashire and Cheshire plain. With ramped and sloped access around this woodland, it’s the perfect place for a picnic.

Ideal for families, the nature trail lets you explore the environment, including the bluebells, marsh orchids and buttercups over the grasslands. Watch out for a glimpse at the local wildlife with bats, grey squirrels, voles and foxes inhabiting the area.

Fox

The majority of the paths around the parks and gardens are wide enough for wheelchair users. There are a few slopes, which vary between being easy, moderate and steep. There are some bench seats situated along the paths for people to rest.

Liverpool access guides

2. Galloway Forest Park – Clatteringshaws Bruce’s Stone Trail, Dumfries and Galloway

The visitor centre overlooks tranquil Clatteringshaws Loch, a haven for water birds in summer, and beyond to the rolling Galloway Hills. On a clear day, look out for the mighty Merrick, the highest hill in the Southern Uplands.

Soak up the stunning views or meander beside the loch to the historic Bruce’s Stone, one of two stones dedicated to the Scottish king in the Forest Park.

This is also one of the best places to enjoy the night sky – the visitor centre overlooks the darkest part of the Forest Park, which ensures a particularly dramatic stellar show.

A member of staff trained in disability awareness/equality will be available for help and assistance. Wheelchairs can be borrowed, and water bowls for assistance dogs are available. Leaflets and maps can be provided in alternative formats on request. An accessible toilet is located along the path to the left of the visitor centre.

Dumfries and Galloway access guides

St Saviour Reservoir, Guernsey

Guernsey

This very pleasant walk takes you around Guernsey’s St Saviour’s Reservoir, which supplies 25% of the Island’s water. The route, which covers a distance of two miles, gives unique vistas of the sea and inland Guernsey at the same time.

The walk was created by Guernsey Water in consultation with environmental groups and other users to enable the public to enjoy the lovely scenery and wildlife that surround the reservoir. This walk is perfect for packing a picnic as there are many benches to stop off at around the walk, all of which offer lovely views. Alternatively, the nearby West coast offers a range of bars, bistros, cafés, kiosks and restaurants.

The most accessible route is along Le Neuf Chemin, Rue Des Choffins and Rue A L’or footpath, approximately 750m. This route has a tarmac footpath with an easy slope.

Guernsey access guides

Wymondley Wood, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire

Wymondley Wood is an educational nature conservation and field study area. The wood provides food and cover for a wide variety of wildlife all year round. Work has also been carried out within the surrounding mature woodlands to ensure their long-term survival.

The creation of the car park and footpaths within the site to provide access for all. Visitors are welcome to walk and picnic within the site. There is also a pond and minibeast areas to explore, all teaming with wildlife.

The majority of the paths are wide enough for wheelchair users, with easy to moderate slopes. There are bench seats situated along the paths for people to rest.

Hertfordshire access guides

5. Morden Hall Park, Surrey

‘An ancient, Arcadian country estate’, Morden Hall Park is a tranquil hideaway enveloped by London. It is a 125-acre estate with fine trees and open skies. Follow the River Wandle as it meanders serenely through the park and under the ornate bridges.

The atmospheric wetlands provide a natural haven for an abundance of wildlife including kingfishers, herons and dragonflies. For young explorers, there is a natural play area where you can fly through the air on the zip wire before building your very own secret den in the woods.

Kingfisher bird

Parking is free for Blue Badge holders, with four designated bays in the car park. There are surfaced paths throughout, with easy and moderate slopes, and accessible toilet facilities are available. A manual wheelchair can be hired for a £10 refundable deposit.

Events run throughout the year, from family trails to summer theatre and open-air cinema nestled amongst the roses.

Surry access guides

By AccessAble

Have you visited any of these places? Share your experiences with our community by leaving your comments below, messaging us on Facebook or tweeting us @DHorizons.

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