Access All Areas
Published: Thursday 14th Aug 2014
Written by: The Good Life Cottage Company Team
The Lake District offers outdoor enjoyment for people of all physical capabilities. Whilst the highest fells and some of the local sports may be the domain of the extremely fit and/or ultra determined, more and more of Cumbria is becoming ‘Access all areas’.
The National Park website now lists 42 walking routes on it’s ‘Miles without Stiles‘ webpage with routes divided into ‘Routes for all’ ‘For Many’ and ‘For some’ depending on your level of mobility and amount of aid you may need. These routes are ideal for both people with mobility problems, partially sighted and also families with young children and/or pushchairs. They can also be very useful for dog owners whose four-legged family member may not be as spritely as he/she once was. Here at the Good Life Cottage Co we hire out All-terrain pushchairs ideal for the Miles without stiles walks (enquiries to our office for availability).
Route gradesGrading is based on gradients and surface conditions. Distances shown are in kilometres for a return trip. Please take special care on roads. In general, you should use the right side of the road to be seen by oncoming traffic.Routes for allMeans suitable for everyone, including pushchairs and people operating their own wheelchairs. Gradients will be no more than 1:10. The surface will be tarmac or smooth, compacted stone with a diameter of 10 mm or less. Path width will be a minimum of 1 metre with passing places.For manyMeans suitable for assisted wheelchair users and those with more robust, all-terrain type buggies. Existing gradients no more than 1:10, although newly built gradients can be up to 1:8. The path surface will be rougher stone of 4 cm diameter or less.For someGradients are not limited, but slopes greater than 1:8 will have improved surfacing, or handrails. There may be some low steps or breaks in the surface up to 10 cm in height. Stone surface material may also be up to 10 cm in diameter.Strong and confident wheelchair users and helpers may find routes ‘for some’ within their abilities. But please weigh up your route choice carefully.Facilities such as toilets or bus timetables are subject to change. Path conditions can change and be damaged, or eroded, by rain and bad weather. We do our best to carry out repairs quickly, but occasionally a route is closed, or diverted, for essential repairs.
Many local attractions now offer improved wheelchair access with Muncaster Castle leading the way. Take the X33 (assessable) bus service to Muncaster Castle and explore the grounds (including the Meadowvole Maze) and the ground floor of the castle using one of their scooters. Grizedale Sculpture Trail is also accessible for wheelchairs, scooters and kids pushchairs (although a strong helper may be required for some of the steeper sections).Lakeside and Haverthwiate steam railway now have a dedicated viewing carriage designed for wheelchair users and anyone can enjoy a cruise with Windermere Lake Cruises on their accessible Steamers.
There is always something to do whatever your ability and whatever the makeup of your group. The Lake District is here to be enjoyed, and with each passing year becomes more accessible to more people. We are moving forward to become ‘Access all areas’.