Durham Accessible Countryside
Disabled Access, Wheelchair walks, Easy Access, Access for All, Mobility, Walks on Wheels, Miles without Stiles - whatever the term the following is all about accessibility to the countryside and green spaces of Durham.
Walks Greenspaces and Countryside
Bowes Museum - "The gardens were originally designed by John and Joséphine Bowes and the formal parterre garden complements this unique building. Today you can explore acres of parkland, enjoy a picnic or go for a peaceful stroll around the grounds, where there are specimen trees from all over the world. There is also a new childrens' play area for families to enjoy which includes a climbing frame, balancing log and bars, a slide, large bucket swing, stepping stones and a bridge beam. The woodland walk has been enhanced with new wheelchair and buggie accessible paths" "The Museum is set in beautiful grounds. In some areas there are gravel pathways and steps which may present an access issue. The Museum has tried to make alternative access where possible. There are park benches at regular intervals throughout most of the grounds." - from the Bowes Museum website
Causey Arch Picnic Area - "The world’s oldest surviving single arch railway bridge stands high above a wooded gorge. The arch spans over 100ft, stands 80ft tall and beneath it runs Causey Burn. If you stand under the archway it sounds as though the water is running above your head! Ralph Wood, a local master mason, built the arch in 1725-26 to link Tanfield collieries with the main waggonway on the River Tyne." "Causey Arch has a linear Easy Access route from the car park to the Arch. It is a minimum of 1.6 metres wide, is tarmacked and has seats at regular intervals. There is one steep gradient from the car park but after that it is virtually flat. There are long paths on both sides of the wooded gorge allowing you to wander around this site. An Easy Access route enables visitors who are less mobile to enjoy wonderful views over the Arch and the gorge below." - from the Visit County Durham website
- Download the trail leaflet fro the Visit County Durham website
Derwent Reservoir Walk - "Distance: 2 miles from Visitor Centre to Pow Hill Country Park. (3.5 miles to Millshield picnic site) Grade of walk: Easy" "Discover the wildlife and history of Derwent Reservoir along the multi user trail (3.5 miles from Pow Hill Country Park to Millshield picnic site) while taking in the breathtaking views of the reservoir. The walk is easy, comfortable walking and is suitable for cyclists, walkers, wheelchairs and pushchairs." - from the This is Durham website
- Download the trail leaflet fro the This is Durham website
Durham University Botanic Garden - "Visit the Botanic Garden and become lost in the natural beauty of our site. Explore the many different natural areas, with new plant-life and hidden artworks around every corner" "The Visitor Centre, Prince Bishops Garden and Glasshouses are easily accessible by wheel chairs. The paths to the rest of the garden are generally good, but due to the nature of the garden are quite steep in parts and some are not suitable for wheelchairs or motorised scooters. Benches and tables are available all around the garden for visitors to rest. The greenhouse and most of the garden is accessible, slopes and steps are clearly marked on our map." - from the Durham University website
- Download the garden leaflet from the Durham University website
Hamsterley Forest - "Hamsterley Forest is a delightful 2000 hectare woodland oasis situated in the Durham Dales. Visitors to Hamsterley have no shortage of options when it comes to forest adventure or a tranquil getaway from the hustles of modern living. From wildlife watching and dark sky gazing to adventure play and high octane mountain biking, there is something here for everyone. A network of waymarked walking, horse riding and mountain bike trails help you explore the forest. Facilities include cafe, toilets, children's play and bike hire" "There is level access from the main entrance to: Information Point, Main toilet block, Hamsterley Forest Cafe, Classroom, Viking Play Trail, Visitor Centre picnic area" "Gruffalo Spotters trail - 1.5 miles All surfaced paths, mostly level but with one moderate incline. This trail is aimed at families with children aged 3-9, but can be enjoyed by all." - from the Forestry England website
Hardwick Park - "Hardwick Park has a Green Flag award." "With free admission (other than car parking charges), you can stroll through the historic parkland admiring the natural beauty of the lake, woodland and wildlife. And no visit is complete without calling into our visitor centre to learn about the history and restoration of the park, taking a look in our gift shop and calling in to our Tower Cafe." "There are a number of accessible parking bays at the park. The visitor centre is fully accessible for people with disabilities and the circuit walk is accessible to visitors of all abilities. The surfaced route is a minimum of two metres wide, generally flat and has no steps. There are two slopes but easier alternatives will be marked. Other paths around the park are generally flat but may be muddy at times."
Malton Picnic Area Walking Route - "This is a picnic site which is UK Woodland Assurance Scheme certified. Habitats include woodland, riverside and wildflower meadow." "The wooded riverside path follows the River Browney for a short distance and is an ideal place to spot birds such as kingfisher, dipper, tree creeper and great spotted woodpecker" "A 0.5 mile (800 metre) circular route which is suitable for walkers, visitors with disabilities and those with pushchairs. It is at least 2.3 metres wide, has a well compacted, sealed surface and is generally flat. The riverside path has picnic tables and seats at regular intervals." "You can join the Lanchester Valley Railway Path, a linear route that runs between Broompark, near Durham and Consett. The Railway Path is 3 metres wide, fairly level and well surfaced." - from the Visit County Durham website
Railway Paths in County Durham - "The railway paths - former railway lines - are attractive countryside routes that can be used by walkers and runners, wheelchair users, horse-riders and cyclists."
Red Kite Trail - Sections are suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters please see the details on the downloadable leaflet - "A circular walking route through the scenic lower Derwent Valley in Gateshead and County Durham with opportunities to see magnificent red kites and a host of other wildlife" from the Friends of Red Kites website
- Download the trail leaflet fro the Friends of Red Kites website
Riverside Park - Chester-le-Street - Green Flag Award - "Walk along the River Wear, stop for a picnic at one of the seats along the way, or head for the wildlife area with the pond and grassland meadow." "Walk around our beautiful gardens, near the park centre. Each area reflects a different star or planet. The gardens are open at all times" "There are a number of accessible parking bays at the park. The park centre is fully accessible for people with disabilities, and the paths around the park are accessible to visitors of all abilities." - from the Durham County Council website
Tees Railway Path - "This 6 mile linear route is relatively flat along its entire length. There are several slopes where bridges once stood but only those which are particularly steep have been marked on the map so you are advised to also look at the route profile. The path width varies between 0.6m and 3.7m and is mainly a mixture of grass and bare earth with some short sections of hard unsealed surface. There are a number of gates along the route to prevent livestock from escaping, and the ground may be churned up and large stones exposed at these points." - from the This is Durham website
- Download the trail leaflet fro the Durham County Council website
Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens - "you’ll encounter playful surprises among our woodland trails and wide-open spaces. Keep eyes peeled for inspirational art, cool wildlife carvings, vibrant floral gardens, fun family-friendly activities and live theatre, music and dance events." "Thirty acres of beautiful park, gardens and woodland – just four miles from historic Durham City." "It is important to us that our House and Gardens can be enjoyed by everyone. We have Accessible Parking spaces next to the entrance with 24 hours access. Level access provides a wheelchair friendly entrance to all our buildings including our chapels, tearoom, theatre and exhibition spaces. Our Ornamental Gardens have pathways that are suitable for wheelchairs and other walking aides." - from the Ushaw website