Travel & Holidays

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

Discover the UK’s Hidden Gems: Accessible Nature Walks and Reserves for Everyone.

As the warmer months beckon, the allure of the great outdoors becomes irresistible, especially with a long weekend on the horizon. Yet, for individuals with disabilities, the excitement of exploring the UK’s breathtaking countryside and diverse natural landscapes is often tempered by concerns about accessibility.

How do you ensure the beauty spot you’re eager to visit accommodates your needs, offering fully accessible routes and the necessary facilities? In partnership with AccessAble, we’ve curated a list of the top five accessible walks and nature reserves across the UK, designed to welcome visitors with various disabilities. Whether you’re planning a serene weekend getaway or a day trip this bank holiday, these handpicked locations promise worry-free access to the beauty and tranquility of nature, ensuring everyone can enjoy the rejuvenating power of the outdoors.

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.


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


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.

Surrey 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.

More on Disability Horizons…

I. Introduction

Importance of Accessibility in Hiking and the Outdoors

Accessibility in the outdoors is more than a convenience; it’s a necessity that enables everyone, regardless of physical ability, to enjoy the natural world. The great outdoors offers unparalleled experiences, from the serene beauty of a quiet forest to the rugged challenge of a mountain trail. Ensuring these experiences are accessible to disabled hikers not only enriches individual lives but also fosters inclusivity, demonstrating that the wonders of nature are a universal right, not a privilege.

Challenges Faced by Disabled Hikers

Disabled hikers face numerous obstacles that can make accessing natural spaces difficult. These challenges range from physical barriers, such as uneven terrain and lack of suitable trail information, to social barriers, including stereotypes and underestimation of abilities. Overcoming these hurdles requires not just personal resilience but also societal shifts towards more inclusive outdoor environments.

II. Researching Accessible Trails

Importance of Finding Detailed Trail Information

For disabled hikers, detailed trail information is essential for planning a successful outdoor adventure. This information helps in assessing whether a trail is suitable for their specific needs, ensuring safety, and enhancing enjoyment. Knowing the trail’s surface, grade, obstacles, and available amenities allows hikers to prepare adequately and avoid potential challenges.

Resources for Trail Information

Several resources can aid in finding accessible trails:

  • Disabled Hikers: A platform offering detailed guides and reviews on accessible trails.
  • Park Websites: Official sites often provide comprehensive trail data, including accessibility features.
  • Guidebooks: Some are dedicated to accessible outdoor adventures, detailing trails that cater to various needs.

The Importance of Finding Detailed Trail Information for Disabled Hikers

For disabled hikers, having detailed trail information is crucial for planning a successful and enjoyable outdoor adventure. This information helps assess whether a trail is suitable for their specific needs, ensuring safety, and enhancing enjoyment. Knowing the trail’s surface, grade, obstacles, and available amenities allows hikers to prepare adequately and avoid potential challenges.

Resources for Trail Information

Several resources can aid in finding accessible trails:

  1. Disabled Hikers: A platform offering detailed guides and reviews on accessible trails. According to Syren Nagakyrie, the founder of Disabled Hikers and author of “The Disabled Hiker’s Guide to Western Washington and Oregon,” accessibility is improving, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
  2. England. For the US, check out the Best Wheelchair Friendly Trails in United States. For England, see the 10 Best Wheelchair Friendly Trails in England .
  3. Motability Scheme: This UK-based resource offers recommendations for wheelchair-friendly trails and other accessible outdoor activities. Check out their article on the 12 greatest accessible trails across the UK .


Key Information to Look For

When researching trails, focus on:

  • Surface: Is the trail paved, gravel, or dirt? The smoother the surface, the more accessible it is.
  • Grade: Steep grades can be challenging; look for trails with gentle slopes.
  • Obstacles: Note any barriers like steps, roots, or narrow passages that could hinder access.
  • Amenities: Check for accessible parking, restrooms, and rest areas along the trail.

III. Adaptive Equipment and Aids

Stability Aids

Hiking poles and walking sticks can significantly enhance stability on uneven terrains, reducing the risk of falls and providing support for balance.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience for individuals with disabilities, it’s essential to have the right equipment. Here are some recommended products that can make a significant difference in your outdoor adventures:

  1. Greeper Hikers Shoelaces: These extra-long, 150 cm shoelaces are suitable for all types of footwear, especially walking boots and hiking shoes. They are available in various colors, such as Purple/Black, Brown/Black, Beige/Brown, Black/White, and Pink/Purple. Greeper Hikers shoelaces provide a secure fit and are designed to stay tied, ensuring your footwear remains comfortable and supportive throughout your hike. Greeper Hikers Shoelaces
  2. Hydrant Water Bottle Drinking Aid: The innovative Hydrant water bottle allows you to access liquids hands-free, eliminating the need for assistance and ensuring hydration at all times. This adaptive drinking aid water bottle comes with a long flexible tube, allowing you to drink without assistance. Its ergonomic design ensures a firm grip, and the unique bite valve prevents spillages, providing peace of mind. It also has a clip to attach to clothing, meaning it is always in reach. Available in 750ml and 1L sizes, this drinking aid is perfect for those seeking independence and hydration at all times. Hands-Free Hydrant Water Bottle
  3. Ramble Tag Guidance Aid: The Ramble Tag is a visually impaired guidance aid designed to be worn on the upper arm of a guide to increase pleasure and independence for blind and visually impaired people while walking with a sighted guide. This device is perfect for blind and visually impaired people to use when requiring assistance in various settings, such as outdoor walks, running, using public transport, or attending music or sports events. Instead of holding the guide’s elbow, wrist, or hand, the visually impaired person can hold a handle attached to the Ramble Tag that is strapped comfortably to the guide’s upper arm. Ramble Tag Guidance Aid

By incorporating these products into your hiking gear, individuals with disabilities can enjoy a more comfortable, safe, and independent outdoor experience.


Mobility Assistance

Adaptive mobility aids, including wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches, are vital for many disabled hikers. Advanced equipment, such as all-terrain wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs, opens up new possibilities for exploring rugged landscapes.

Foot Drop Solutions

Orthotics and functional electrical stimulation devices can assist individuals experiencing foot drop, improving their ability to navigate trails more safely and efficiently.

IV. Pacing and Listening to Your Body

The Importance of Pacing

Understanding and respecting your body’s limits is crucial. Pacing allows for a more enjoyable and sustainable hiking experience, ensuring that you can relish the outdoors without overexertion. A handy book about pacing is available to buy here.

The Value of Shorter Distances

Even short trails can offer profound connections with nature. Focusing on the journey rather than the destination allows for a fulfilling outdoor experience, regardless of distance.

Alternate Nature Experiences

For those who may find traditional hiking challenging, alternate activities such as scenic drives or bird watching provide opportunities to enjoy the beauty of nature in accessible ways.

V. Building Confidence and Community

Boosting Confidence Through Research and Planning

Preparation is key to a successful hiking experience. Understanding the trail, knowing what to expect, and having the right equipment can significantly enhance confidence and enjoyment.

feature diverse hikers using various adaptive aids such as wheelchairs designed for rough terrain, walking sticks, and guide dogs, on an accessible trail in a beautiful natural landscape. Finding Supportive Groups

Connecting with hiking partners and groups, especially those that are disabled-led, can provide a sense of community and shared experience. These groups offer encouragement, advice, and camaraderie.

The Role of Disabled-Led Organizations

Organizations led by disabled individuals play a crucial role in creating a sense of belonging and advocating for more inclusive outdoor practices. They provide resources, organize events, and foster a supportive environment for all hikers.

VI. Advocating for Accessibility

Disabled Voices Leading Change

It is imperative that disabled hikers are at the forefront of conversations about outdoor accessibility. Their insights and experiences are invaluable in identifying needs and advocating for meaningful changes.

Challenging Stereotypes

By participating actively in outdoor activities, disabled hikers challenge the misconceptions about who can enjoy the outdoors. This visibility is essential in broadening perceptions and encouraging inclusivity.

Improving Trail Access

Efforts to improve access can include advocating for better signage, more detailed trail information, accessible parking, and path modifications. These changes not only benefit disabled hikers but also enhance the outdoor experience for all.

VII. Conclusion

The Universality of Hiking and the Outdoors

Nature does not discriminate, and neither should our access to it. Hiking and enjoying the outdoors is a right that belongs to everyone, irrespective of physical ability.

The Path Forward

With thoughtful preparation, the use of adaptive aids, and continued advocacy, the dream of fully accessible trails can become a reality. By working together to remove barriers and create inclusive environments, we can ensure that the beauty and benefits of the outdoors are available to all.

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