By Lucy Wood – Disability Advocate and Blogger www.fourwheeledwonderwoman.com
There is no denying that Mother Nature is a great healer, if my mind is racing then I find going for a walk always eases my restless mind. a roll around in the fresh air always makes it better.
As a manual wheelchair user, I love to know about the accessible walks and areas near me, somewhere where I can access peace and tranquillity safe in the knowledge that for the most part, I can do this independently is key.
When looking for an accessible walk, I need to know 3 things, is there an accessible toilet? how many flat paths are there? and Can we park the car in case it rains and I need to get home quickly?
I have listed three of my favourite Accessible walks in Staffordshire to give you some inspiration during this Summer.
Beacon Park, Lichfield
Situated in the Cathedral City of Lichfield, Beacon Park is set in more than 70 acres of beautiful gardens and open space within easy reach of the city centre. I find it perfect for a leisurely walk with smooth wide paths with a children’s play area, crazy golf, tennis, basketball, bowls and more It is perfect for a family outing.
Beacon Park is also steeped in history and heritage, and information boards around the site give you a glimpse into the area’s rich historical past.
Refreshments and ice cream are available in the bistro and the cafe, during peak season as well as toilets and baby changing facilities next to the children’s play area in addition to disabled toilet facilities with a disability hoist.
There are three car parks with disabled parking bays that lead directly to the park which is free for visitors with a Blue Badge.
Lichfield, WS13 6QZ
National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas
The National Memorial Arboretum is the British site of national remembrance in Alrewas, near Lichfield. Its objective is to honour the fallen, recognise service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in the British Armed Forces and civilian community.
In 2017, after undergoing a large-scale regeneration project, the Arboretum’s new award-winning Remembrance Centre was officially opened by the Duke of Cambridge on 23 March. Featuring three new exhibition galleries, larger restaurant and shop, separate coffee shop and a courtyard with garden, it provides visitors with facilities fitting that of a visitor attraction.
From a personal view, while the access around the different memorials is good, the paths can be messy during winter months, meaning that the route is accessible with help from a friend or family member. During school holidays, the Arboretum holds Children’s trails that have the tendency to go off designated paths altogether and pushing can become difficult for both me and my carer tasked with getting me back to the easier paths.
Parking at the Arboretum is £3.00 for all visitors there is a disabled toilet, but it does not feature a hoist or adult changing bed.
National Memorial Arboretum
Staffordshire, DE13 7AR
The Wosley Centre, Rugeley
The Wolseley Centre is one of the county’s hidden gems and it’s completely free to visit, what’s more, it is my favourite place to visit on a sunny summer day.
The Centre has recently undergone a redevelopment adding a Coffee Shop to the beautiful surroundings, which has an accessible toilet.
There is a large car park. where a donation for car parking is encouraged and goes towards the Trust’s work protecting wildlife around the county. The car park is closed at 5 pm on weekdays and at weekends.
A network of accessible footpaths weaves around the grounds – ideal for pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Feed the ducks or take a picnic beside our three lakes or search for colourful dragonflies and the bright blue flash of kingfishers as you stroll alongside the river.
Boardwalk decking means enjoy views over tranquil pools and across the River Trent, while natural sculptures and willow creations around the grounds in the leafy undergrowth, and there are plenty of benches if you want to sit and enjoy the tranquillity. A sensory garden, packed with plants that stimulate your sense of smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound, will no doubt give you ideas for attracting wildlife to your plot in the wildlife garden.
The Wosley Centre A51,
Stafford ST17 0WT
So, there you have it my top three picks of the accessible walks in the Midlands. whether you are in the mood for a historic city walk, a moment of quiet contemplation, or to feel at peace in nature, I hope I have given you lots of inspiration for your next adventure
For more recommendations, check out our feature ‘Wheelchair-friendly Family Favourites’ here.