Access for All
At the end of October, we officially kicked off a new project to review Easy Access routes on the South West Coast Path to improve the experience for people of all abilities wanting to access the Trail.
With the help of our Project Officer Alex Turner, SWCPA local reps Tino Savvas and Hadyn Mudford along with Countryside Manager for Torbay Coast & Countryside Chris Lingard, we met with four mobility-scooter users to test a route in South Devon. From this initial session, which took place on Berry Head, we plan to use the findings to establish best practice for trail management and information provision going forwards. This work will contribute to a wider review of walks on our website that would be suitable for this user group, along with the identification of any other new routes that could be enjoyed.
Our user group was made up of Gordon Guest, Devon Representative for the Disabled Ramblers, Paul & Gill Narramore and Kate Wass – who together form part of the Wheelchair Access Group, known as WAGs. This group, formed back in 2017, rely on mobility scooters or wheelchairs to get around but are working together with charities like ours to help change the way disabled people access the countryside.
Splitting into two small groups (to adhere to social distancing rules) we completed the 1 ¾ mile walk around Berry Head National Nature Reserve. We tested all access points, reviewing the width of gates, ease of use of infrastructure and assessed the terrain - rating it from Level 1 (easy) to Level 3 (challenging). We also took note of facilities such as toilets and cafes before testing the gradient of paths, like the one that leads down towards the sea giving you stunning views of the disused quarry and out across Torbay.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Gordon, Paul, Gill, Kate and her partner Stewart for taking the time to join us for this day. It was vital to have their expertise and knowledge to inform this important project work. We will be liaising with the group in the coming weeks and months to ensure all feedback has been captured and we look forward to sharing the new and improved routes with you in due course.
If you have any user feedback that would you would like us to consider as part of this project, please email us.
Published on: Oct. 28, 2020