The historic county of Derbyshire lies in the East Midlands of England. Derbyshire is famed for its dramatic bleak moorland landscapes of the northern Peak District and the serene Trent Valley Washlands of the South. The county is divided geographically into two sections, a large part of the county lies within the Peak District National Park and a smaller southern lowland area surrounding the city of Derby. In addition, the Pennines, the backbone of England, extends southwards – from Northumberland into Derbyshire.
Here are our top choices for wheelchair-friendly walks in Derbyshire – keep reading to find places to go in the heart of the Peak District itself.
- Shipley Country Park, Slack Lane, Ilkeston, DE7 7GX
Shipley Country Park, Osbourne Pond, Derbyshire.
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The nearest train station to Shipley Country Park is Langley Mill. To find out more about suitable travel arrangements via bus or train, call 0871 200 22 33 or click here for more information about public transport in general.
Shipley Country Park is located near Derby and Nottingham. Suitable for any season, Shipley offers 700 acres and over 20 miles of paths that can be bridleways for everything from walking and bird watching to picnicking and angling. For children, there are 3 playgrounds to choose from, bird observation points and an annual events itinerary, for more information see here. Before you venture out, check the latest information about coronavirus and visiting this particular site. A gift shop, coffee shop and toilets and a Changing Places facility are also on site.
There are plenty of disabled bays in the Pay & Display parking area, which is free for blue badge holders. The car park on Shipley Hill is for blue badge holders only, if you want to skip the crowds and tramper hire is available at the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is at ground level surrounded by flat paths, making it accessible to wheelchair users. A slight slope inclines from the Visitor Centre to the car park and the car park itself is flat.
- Carsington Water, Big Lane, Ashbourne, DE6 1ST
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Carsington Water is accessible by bus, the nearest stop is conveniently located at the front of the main entrance to the Visitor Centre. The bus provides connections also to the market towns of Ashbourne, Wirksworth and 19th Century spa town Matlock.
Located between Wirksworth and Kniveton in Derbyshire, Carsington Water is the UK’s ninth largest reservoir. Home to a variety of wonderful routes and trails, the Visitor Centre is fully accessible to wheelchair users and has the ability to cater for other access requirements. There are 23 Blue Badge parking spaces available that are accessible, less than 50m from the main entrance where there is a permanent ramp and level access. Automatic number plate recognition is used at this site, which means completing Blue Badge registration on the day of your visit at reception. Alternatively, you can call 03306 7880 701 or email [email protected].
There are also 2 lifts, which means access to all floors, and disabled toilets in the Courtyard and Visitor Centre. Many of the surrounding shops have level access and there are permanent ramps with access to picnic areas outside for wheelchair users. Tramper hire is also available, and wheelchairs can be provided free of charge. For more information regarding accessibility specifics, see here.
- Elvaston Castle Country Park, Borrowash Road, Derby, DE72 3EP
Elvaston Castle, The Parterre Garden, Derbyshire.
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Located near Derby and Nottingham, the estate entrance and car park is just off Borrowash Road – between Borrowash village and Thulston. There are brown tourist signs from either direction that will guide you, and there is only one entrance open to the public. Sat navs have been known to direct vehicles incorrectly, so it might be an idea to familiarise yourself with the journey with the park’s location leaflet. There are no bus services that currently stop outside the main entrance, however number 73 (Arriva) and the Skylink Derby (TrentBarton) both stop in Thulston at Elvaston Castle Gates.
At the focal point of the estate lies the 17th Century Elvaston Castle, surrounded by 321 acres of open parkland, woodland and several formal gardens. Evanston Castle was redesigned in the 19th Century by James Wyatt to the gothic revival masterpiece seen today. Unfortunately, the castle is not open to the public, however the gardens are locally renowned with fine topiaries and rockwork structures – originally designed and introduced in the 19th Century by William Barron.
There is a lot to do at Elvaston Castle Country Park, including an annual woodland festival- as well as walking, cycling, bird watching, picnicking and the like! There is free blue badge holder car parking and trampers are available for hire at the information centre and shop. Here, you will also find the disabled toilets and baby changing areas. The park is low-lying, which is worth bearing in mind after periods of rain, making it muddy underfoot. Please take extra care at these times.
Accessible walks in the heart of the Peak District
While you might think that the Peak District itself would be an unwelcoming place for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility, the truth is that there are plenty of walking routes which are free of stiles, steps and steep gradients. Do be aware that most of these routes do not have toilets, whether accessible or otherwise.
The Peak District’s ‘Miles without Stiles’ guide is available to purchase, but beautiful wheelchair-friendly walks in the Peak District itself include:
- Coombs Dale, S32 4TB (1.6km of fully accessible pathways)
- Damflask Dam, S6 6SQ (3.4km of fully accessible pathways)
- Derwent Dam, S33 0AQ (600m of fully accessible pathways, plus 3km of additional pathways suitable for assisted wheelchairs but not suitable for unassisted wheelchairs)
- Goyt, SK17 6GJ (1km of fully accessible pathways)
- Ladybower, S33 0BY (400m accessible pathways to view the dam, plus 1km fully accessible pathway along the dam. An additional 1.5km of pathways are suitable for assisted wheelchairs)
- Manifold Way, DE6 2AG (2.8km of fully accessible pathways)
- Monsal Trail, DE45 1NW (11.5km of fully accessible pathways on the route to Chee Dale – nearest accessible facilities are Hassop Station and Miller’s Dale Station)
- Parsley Hay, SK17 0DG (4km of fully accessible pathways)
- Tideswell Dale, SK17 8SN (3.2km of fully accessible pathways)
For more information on these destinations, visit https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/miles-without-stiles where you can select each location from the sidebar menu.