Accessible trails and walks are priceless to families like mine.
As I write this post the sun is shining, the sky is blue and I can hear birds tweeting in the distance. No i’m not in a Mary Poppins scene I am actually in Hebden Bridge staring longingly out of my office window noticing how rare that blue sky and sunshine is this time of year.
It’s surely time to break free and get those boots, wheels and paws muddy? I don’t need asking twice.
I am fortunate that my boys have adapted well to having parents who like to walk and now that my eldest has come through his multitude of spinal operations and rehabilitation he is able to put at least 5 miles under those feet (we’re just missing a dog but i’m working on that).
Why do we walk? Why are accessible trails important to us?
Walking for us has always allowed our family to have space and calmness where we can be present with each other and quiet if that’s what’s needed, or we can chat and explore topics that have the permission to span a good chunk of time whilst we inter weave it with…oh look at that flower or have you seen those hills in the distance…
Walks have been great for relieving tension when my eldest son becomes activated or angry and he’s usually worked it through by the end of a nice easy walk where distractions have diluted the emotions he feels stuck with.
Walks have also been great for us as parents because as I mentioned we feel space around us, fresh air and wind, sunshine or just that clouded coolness that helps break state and encourages a sense of feeling exercised without exhaustion.
Where are these accessible trails?
Although we have less obstacles these days than previous years where styles to climb over, parking, undulating trails and toilets all had to be part of our planning I still take some of these into consideration. We all different needs when getting out and about into the wilderness so i’ve given a few ideas from the places that we’ve been.
- I’m a true lover of the Lake District and stand in awe every time I go. Click on the link to find some great route without styles and ideas for great days out. The Lakes can get busy with traffic at certain times of the day and the year so plan your times and journey well before hand.
- The National Trust membership is a gift that keeps on giving. A whole year of ‘stuff’ to do and places to go and so much of it is accessible. Our favourite for going and meeting friends for the day is Nostell Priory. We can loose the kids here for hours and the day is relaxing and easy. We fly kites, take packed lunches (cafe there as well which is accessible), we love it so much we have visited repeatedly. It has paths used all year round and is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies. There’s a lovely sized courtyard for eating with well kept toilets and a great area for the kids to go a little wild.
- The North York Moors is a place near to where I grew up and spent a few childhood holidays in areas like Whitby (do any of you remember the 3 great big ‘golf balls’ our parents told us was Nasa HQ but we’re actually weather reading centres…gutted! Our alien stories used to get wilder and wilder the more we went). There are some good accessible routes that aren’t too long and when it comes to the North York Moors it doesn’t matter where you look, it’s simply stunning.
The one my son enjoyed was the Rosedale Mineral Railway route, it took us about an hour and a half ambling at an easy pace and stopping with our flask and sandwiches.
- Bolton Abby is a definite and ticks all of our boxes from beautiful fully accessible walks, to the stepping stone over the water challenge (the kids managed it but I nearly went head first), little sandy areas by the water where you can wade in, views, the abby and a lovely place to be. This is our idea of a bliss and I could be there all day. It’s not quite on our doorstep but it’s not a trial blazing distance so we go there maybe once twice a year. There is a page on accessibility on their website but if you need anymore information I can recommend their visitor support team.
- It took me a little while to find this but it’s worth it; In the Hull area there are a couple of great routes. I hadn’t thought about looking into this area until my parents brought me over to explore. Hull is known as the city of culture and does have a lot to offer. Here are some great routes and if you are in that area it’s worth checking out. Not big routes and the Cliff trail was the favourite for the boys.
Being a family of muddy boot walkers we love to test some trails and route; and we’ve used the outdoors as part of our son’s rehabilitation and therapy to learning skills like basic map reading, looking for signs and trying to read the clouds. The outdoors isn’t everyone’s cup of tea as we brits say but if it is and you have some great routes to share which are accessible for all then please do share.
Enjoy your spring time and getting outdoors.