The simple joy of the beautiful outdoors is a delight that should be appreciated by, and accessible to, all. That said, it can sometimes be difficult to discover great places to go as a wheelchair user heading out into nature, because of a lack of suitable access information.
Nicknamed “God’s Own Country” The historic County of York is the largest in the United Kingdom and is home to large stretches of unspoiled countryside such as the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Peak District national parks. Halfway between London and Edinburgh, Yorkshire is home to the city of York, where contemporary independent shops are surrounded by ancient walls. The Roman city of York is home to 30 museums and a thriving cultural scene and Yorkshire itself has a rich pastoral and industrial history.
Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire
- Moorlands Nature Reserve, Moor Lane, York, YO32 2RE
Moorlands Nature Reserve, York, North Yorkshire.
|Disabled Access ✓|
Moorlands Nature reserve is accessible by bus from the A19 stop in Skelton. By car, the nature reserve lies roughly 5.5 miles north of York on the A19. Parking is permitted on the verge near the entrance gate, where there is room for about 8-10 cars on either side of the reserve entrance in a narrow layby beside Moor Lane. There are no disabled parking spaces.
Part of the ancient Forest of Galtres, this small Edwardian woodland garden was part of Moorlands House and estate, purchased in 1909 by Mr Edward Grosvenor Tew. Mr Tew planted many of the unusual rhododendrons and azaleas in the reserve before it was eventually bought in 1955 to become Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s second nature reserve.
The rhododendrons and azaleas provide a succession of flowers from March to the end of June, accompanied by snowdrops, bluebell, primrose and wood sorrel. The blossoming flora and fauna attract many species of birds and mammals. There are a number of bat boxes, a treehouse, several ponds and wooden sculptures with a nature trail.
A single footpath from the reserve entrance goes into the reserve and splits to form a 1km round circuit. A pedestrian kissing gate at the entrance is accessible to wheelchairs and some small mobility scooters. There are no barriers or steps that might form obstacles. There are numerous benches on the reserve, and the park is largely compacted and flat earth. The nearest facilities are at Haxby Shopping Centre which is located 2 miles away, where pubs, cafes and shops can also be found.
- River Ouse, Lendal Bridge, York, YO1 7DP ( Lendal Bridge to Water End Walk)
River Ouse, York, Yorkshire.
|Assistance Dogs Welcome✓||Disabled Parking ✓||DIsabled Access ✓|
The car park at Marygate is located near the Museum Gardens and St Mary’s Abbey in York. There are disabled spaces available and the car park itself is close to many attractions in the city.
This is one of the best wheelchair walks, adjacent to the River Ouse. There is a safe, wide and flat pathway that begins at Lendal Bridge and finishes at Water End, near the Youth Hostel. The ground is predominantly flat, however sometimes the river floods – which can make the ground slippery and muddy.
For wheelchair users, the best way to access the route is via The Museum Gardens or Marygate. Along the way, you will find picnic benches, seated benches, picturesque river banks and a wonderful array of boats to observe on the river. During the summer months, there are also often ice cream vans dotted along the walking route for a refreshing snack. The route does go on for miles further, but note that beyond Water End the way is not wheelchair accessible, with cattle grids, brooks, hills, and cycle routes.
3. Malham Tarn, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24
Boardwalk at Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve, Settle, North Yorkshire
|Assistance Dogs Welcome✓||DIsabled Access ✓|
Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk begins at Watersink car park which is accessible via the A65 and Settle which is 4 miles north-west of Malham. There are also several buses that stop close by and the nearest train station is Settle (7 miles). For more information about getting here, see here on the National Trust website.
Parking is available at Watersink car park, however it is small and there are no blue badge spaces available. The surface of the car park is uneven, made up of gravel, therefore it is advisable to find a good spot to transition to the path from the car park. The grassy route from the car park requires some effort, and rugged wheels are recommended to negotiate this. Pushed wheelchairs and off road scooters are able to cope with the terrain.
This stunning walk stretches across fields and unmade tracks with a short stretch of road walking. Malham Tarn is a dramatic, open area of limestone and grassland that features rock outcrops and high peaks. The Tarn itself is a beautiful expanse of open water and is of international importance for the variety of flowers and other wildlife found there. The best route to take is the Pennine Way, which runs through the area from Malham village, past Malham Cove and the Tarn. For a full breakdown of the route, click here.
The scenery changes from sheltered valley fields to woodlands and to the wild and desolate moorlands, reminiscent of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights landscapes. A boardwalk goes through the wetter parts of the reserve and the best time to experience the walk is in late spring and early summer where the wildlife is at its finest, with bogbean, globeflower and marsh valerian.
The nearest facilities are located in Malham Tarn village which is 2 miles away, including tea rooms, pubs and toilets.
Planning a wheelchair-friendly walk can be frustrating, however, we hope we have given you a variety of viable options throughout the Midlands. Whether you’re looking for nature reserves, places of historical interest or just pleasant walks from A to B – this list covers all bases. Of course, dependent on your disability and the wheelchair you use, some walks might be more favourable than others. We recommend looking up your walk before you go and planning around any unforeseen circumstances, as well as coronavirus precautions and closures.