Access for all - Let's all get outside into the great outdoors together !
We at Repton Medical feel everyone should be able to enjoy the outdoors and spring is definitely just around the corner. So no matter what your ability we all know fresh air and being outdoors is great for the body and mind.
Studies also show being outdoors improves your mental health and is key to a healthy lifestyle. However, if you have limited mobility, or are a wheelchair user, it is not always easy to access our countryside and can be difficult at times.
The problems you might face can vary greatly. If you are capable of walking long distances on flat paths you may still encounter problems with stiles, steps or overhanging trees. The impact could vary from a minor inconvenience to something that could be overcome with the help of a companion, to an obstacle that could prevent you from enjoying an outing at all.
Users of both manual and powered wheelchairs can expect to encounter major problems on most country paths, particularly those with challenging surfaces, steps and obstructions. You are entitled to take a wheelchair anywhere that is open to walkers, but that does not mean the path will be practical for a wheelchair user.
There is an increasingly wide range of mobility scooters available and some are designed for use on the more rugged routes. However these will still encounter problems with hazards such as stiles, steps, gates and narrow or blocked paths
If you have limited mobility you may also need other facilities such as regular rest stops; accessible toilets; extra wide parking spaces; or accessible public transport.
So, we also suggest a little research beforehand and looking at route ideas and recommendations, as this can be key to planning your outing.
It can be difficult to find reliable sources of information about accessibility in the outdoors, but the good news is that the situation is improving, and more information is slowly becoming available. Some useful sources of information are identified below.
We have found that information, whilst not always from reliable sources, is increasing, and more information is slowly becoming available.
Some useful links we have included to help, so let’s get out there –
It is International Wheelchair Day on Friday 1st March 2019 and Repton Medical is proud to be supporting it.
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Useful sources of information:
- Great walk suggestions http://walkswithwheelchairs.com/UK/Derbyshire/Buxton/338
- Peak District -.https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/access-for-all
- National Trust - https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/access-for-everyone
- Access Guide to the Peak District -https://www.companionstairlifts.co.uk/news/accessible-guide-to-the-peak- district