10 brilliant things to do at the UK’s National Parks
Getting out in nature can help to improve your mood, help you to de-stress, and help to improve your physical health.
Unfortunately, nature isn’t always as accessible as we’d like. If someone you love is living with a physical disability then rough terrain, steps, and steep slopes can put you off taking them to a National Park.
But did you know that each of the national parks across the UK have a variety of accessible activities and routes available? From “Miles without Stiles” routes through to accessible boating activities and wheelchair-friendly accommodation, there’s plenty to be enjoyed by everyone.
Here are 10 great activities you and your loved ones can try:
1: The Nancy Oldfield Trust, Norfolk Broads
One of the best ways to see the Norfolk Broads is by boat as the park has over 125 miles of navigable waterways. The Nancy Oldfield Trust do a half-day motorboat cruise where you can take in the sights and see the local wildlife. All their boats have wheelchair lifts
2: Avon Tyrell, New Forest
If you have a child who is differently abled, an accessible adventure weekend at Avon Tyrell might be just what you’re looking for. It’ll allow your child to experience outdoor activities in a supportive environment with fully trained staff on hand.
3: Mawddach Trail, Snowdonia
The Mawddach Trail follows an old disused railway line. It’s a gentle route with gates wide enough for wheelchairs and mobility scooters to pass through with ease. There is an audio guide available for the route produced by the North Wales Society for the Blind.
4: Brecon Mountain Railway, Brecon Beacons
If your loved one is fascinated by trains then a trip aboard the steam train at the Brecon Mountain Railway is a must. One of the carriages on the train has been designed to carry wheelchairs, so they can take in the beautiful views on the journey.
5: Forge Valley, North York Moors
Enjoy a leisurely walk alongside the River Derwent, through the lovely Forge Valley woods. The route is on a fairly level wooden boardwalk and has a variety of passing points along the way that also double as viewing platforms.
6: Parsley Hay, Peak District
Hire an accessible bike from Parsley Hay and head off on a cycling adventure. Not too far from Buxton, the cycle centre has a range of accessible bikes for hire to suit most needs including tricycles, tandem trikes, hand-crank cycles, and wheelchair cycles.
7: Wimbleball Lake, Exmoor
For an accessible sailing voyage, speak to Wimbleball Sailability to enjoy Wimbleball Lake at its best. Their power boat has been designed to fit wheelchairs and they also have sailing boats available that are suitable if you or your loved one has limited strength, dexterity or balance.
8: Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Does your loved one use a mobility scooter to get around? Head to Malham Tarn where you can hire an all-terrain Tramper and follow their special Tramper route and see some spectacular scenery. Your loved one can also bring their own mobility scooter to follow the route if they’d like.
9: Highland Wildlife Park, Cairngorms
Highland Wildlife Park is a great place to go see the animals and it’s now open to visitors in Scotland. While the location of the park means that some parts are steep and rugged, the majority of the park is accessible so there’s still plenty of animals to see and enjoy.
10: Kielder Water, Northumberland
There are a variety of activities available at Kielder Water. For day spent exploring the water, there are accessible kayaks, canoes and boats available for use. If you want to make a holiday of it, they have wheelchair-accessible lodges available too.
The UK’s National Parks are amazing places to visit – the above is just a taste of what some of the parks have to offer. Why not take your loved ones on an adventure and visit your nearest one?
If you’re looking for some daily living aids to help make trips out a little easier, see our piece on products to help your loved one while they’re out and about.
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- April 2nd 2019