Archive for May, 2011


*The 2008 Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Customer Satisfaction Survey found that 8% of respondents described themselves as permanently sick or disabled.  From 1 October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply, which is based on the principle that people with disabilities should not, for a reason related to their disability,  be treated less favourably than other.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park are working hard to complete the audit of the rights of way network within the Yorkshire Dales, based on the guidelines produced by the Countryside Agency.

I hope that my project ‘accessthedales’ will be able to support this good work.

Andy and I are looking forward to spending three days in Wensleydale next week. We are taking a friend with us who knows very little about the Dales.

We are staying in a self catering cottage in Bainbridge, and we are planning on preparing two or three wheelchair friendly routes. I am really very excited, as since staring this project, we haven’t actually been out walking yet!

I am looking forward to a visit to Aysgarth Falls, which is featured in the ‘Access for All’ booklet.

This time I am taking my motorised wheelchair…. I must get into the habit of calling it a motorised chair… it sounds so much better than an ‘electric chair’!

It's an uphill struggle!

I have the ‘Access for all -Wensleydale’ booklet, provided by the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which has some very interesting information (especially the location of toilets!)

Does anyone have an orienteering map of this area? As an ex- orienteer myself, I know these maps have far more detail on them than our OS map and I was wondering if they would be useful for identifying gates and stiles.

If you own a pub, cafe, B&B  or any other public service in the Bainbridge/Hawes area and would be happy for me to visit and  write a short review of your disability facilities, I would be more than happy to do so.  Please contact me at, or leave a comment on this blog site.

*Information provided Yorkshire Dales National Parks Authority document ‘Special Qualities, Special Experiences’

Watch out - Debs is on the loose again!

What a lovely day!

…. and I don’t mean weather wise!

I have received two wonderful emails today, which have both given me a boost of energy for my project to ‘Access the Dales’

The first is from Mervin Straughan  who has kindly written a post about my project, which has gone live on the

Beautiful North Yorkshire website 

I wish to thank Mervin for his support.

The second email was from  Debby Kuhlmann of Ingleborough Cottages  telling me about the event that has been organised 27th -30th May 2011 at Ingleton.

The event Overground Underground sounds very exciting. 

I wish Debby and the team all the best for the forthcoming event.

So it is a lovely day! Thank you you guys for making it so.

Report from Sensing the Dales Day

Many thanks to Meghann, Access Development Officer,  for Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, for providing this report from the ‘Sensing the Dales’ Event which was held last September.

On Saturday 4 September 2010 the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Natural England and Bolton Abbey Estate joined forces to provide a day of activities accessible to deaf and blind people and their families.

Activities included stream dipping, making a bee home, guided walks, rag-rug making, MP3 trails, worm hunts, practical conservation tasks, green woodworking and trying out all terrain motor scooters, provided by Lancashire Council. The activities were made accessible for deaf and blind people through the provision of suitable equipment, visual aids and interpreters.

Fun at Bolton Abbey

Sense the Dales was held as a pilot to explore new ways of encouraging more people with disabilities to visit the National Park and to take part in its annual events programme. During the day the views and suggestions from participants were collected and some of these will be used to increase accessibility of events for the next year.

The day was run by a small team of staff from Natural England, Park Management and External Affairs and Dales Volunteers. Everyone had a lovely day, over 100 people took part and we have collected lots of simple, inexpensive ideas to increase accessibility of National Park events and other activities over the next year.

‘I was surprised at the willingness of National Park staff (and volunteers!) to experiment and learn’

‘The organisation was fantastic. The excellent communication re interpreters,

lip-speakers etc, made everything perfect’

‘I was able to get to places I have not been able to for years due to my disability’

Thank you to the Dales Volunteers who made the day such a success.

Catherine Kemp and Rachel Briggs

Many thanks to the  Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Natural England for organising this event.

Looking forward to this year’s event…. further details will be published as soon as information is available

Sensing the Dales

Just read a good article on an activity day which took place last year in the Bolton Abbey Estate.

The day was called ‘Sense the Dales’ – organised by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Natural England.

It was a day organised for visitors with sensory impairment, their families and carers.

The day involved guided walks, practical conservation tasks and nature hunts.

It sounds as though it was a good day – but it required lots of volunteers too!

As I understand a similar day is being planned for this year, and the likelihood is that it will take place in Malham. As soon as details are released I will post them here on the blog.

Bolton Abbey Estate is ideal for wheelchair users as you are about to have a good ‘stroll’ along the river and through the woods.

The following link provides a map of a walk from Bolton Abbey to Cavendish Pavilion

All the stiles along the riverside and woodland paths from Bolton Abbey to Barden Bridge have been removed and replaced with gates making them suitable for pushchairs.

Not all these paths are accessible in a wheelchair.

Electric wheelchairs are available for visitors to use giving access to the Priory Church and Ruins, riverside, Strid Wood, the Strid and the Cumberland Trail.

If  you are new the exploring the Yorkshire Dales, in a wheelchair, then Bolton Abbey is a good starting point

The Priory Ruins - easily accessible in a wheel chair

There is a great tea room too!