It may be because most open spaces are controlled by local County and District Councils, but our local open spaces, such as country parks, seem to offer a lot more for people that have a disability.
Accessibility Innovations for Wheelchair Users When Visiting the Beach
I recently heard about wheelchairs that have been designed to go on sandy beaches. To be honest, I had not thought about this barrier previously, in regards to how a wheelchair user would enjoy a day out at the beach.
I remember family and friends struggling to go across sandy beaches with a child in a buggy, so this emphasises the importance of innovations, in allowing everyone to enjoy our open spaces.
Accessible Paths and Walks for Disabled People
Modified wheelchairs can also be hired for park walks and walks through woodland and forests, which can travel over different terrains.
Lots of the parks and walks now have accessible paths, some for short strolls and others that go on for miles.
Two sizeable and accessible walks are the Offa’s Dyke, which separates Wales from England and is 177 miles in distance, and the coastal walk, Llwybr Arfordir Cymru, which is a 870 mile walk around the Welsh coast.
Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs at the Beach
With all this accessible access being given to our open spaces, you would have thought that I would have no problem going on a beach with my guide dog. However, I still get questioned on the way down to the beach, with staff saying, “the beach is closed to dogs” – then, I have to explain that assistance dogs are allowed.
One year, my brother and nephew came to visit me and we went to the beach for the day. They were walking a little way behind me, but a member of staff stopped my brother and said that I was not allowed on the beach with my guide dog. My brother is not shy to say what he thinks, however, this is not what annoyed me – it was the fact that they approached my brother and not me.
In today’s age, you would have thought everyone knows that a guide dog is allowed in most places. An exception may be at a safari park, where the dog may upset the other animals and may cause them to attack the car – this argument makes sense.
Do You Think Your Local Open Spaces are Accessible?
Do you think your local park, or if you are lucky enough to live near a beach, is accessible for wheelchair users or other disabilities?
If not, could you see where easy changes could be made, so that everyone can enjoy what you can?