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Walkers on the Derwent Reservoir Easy Access path
Walkers on the Derwent Reservoir Easy Access path

Push for easy access

The AONB Partnership needs help to check potential easy access routes

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is looking for community support to test particular routes in the spectacular landscape of the North Pennines.

Web guide

The AONB Partnership is hoping to develop a web based guide to 12 of the best accessible routes in the area.

Differing abilities

Using existing rights of way and some new trails, the aim of the project is to help make the area better used by individuals, groups and families with a range of walking abilities. These will include people in wheelchairs and families with buggies who want a day out in the countryside.

Twelve routes around the North Pennines have been identified as potentially suitable. These vary from 1.5 to 4 miles in length and are well spread across the AONB including paths at Derwent Reservoir, Talkin Tarn, Kirkby Stephen, Allenbanks and Bowlees. The trails pass through woodlands, alongside reservoirs and tarns, and across moorland capturing all the landscapes of the North Pennines.

Checking for suitability

The routes now need a detailed check for suitability and the Partnership, with the Friends of the North Pennines is on the look out for disability groups, mother and toddler groups, and people who have special mobility requirements, to get involved. Several groups have already signed up to help.

Confidence

After all the checking is completed, suitable routes and attractions will be promoted online and in publications to encourage a greater diversity of people to experience the countryside of the North Pennines with confidence.

Rebecca Baker, Conservation and Land Management Trainee, who is leading on the project for the North Pennines AONB Partnership said: “This is a great opportunity for people to help us identify the barriers to visiting the North Pennines. This work will ultimately encourage local people and visitors to enjoy and appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the North Pennines through using new and existing paths and trails”

Important work

Shane Harris, Tourism & Communications Manager for the Partnership, added: “This is really important work and will lead to better and more accessible information for less mobile people to get out and about and enjoy what the North Pennines has to offer. Limited mobility can be permanent or temporary, severe or slight – it might be a family with a pushchair or someone recovering from knee surgery or a heart attack – whatever the circumstances or cause the ability to easily access the stunning landscapes and fresh air of the AONB is something that everyone should be able to do.”

Volunteer!

If you would like to be involved in helping to develop these potential routes in the North Pennines AONB, please contact Rebecca Baker on 01388 528801 (rbaker@northpenninesaonb.org.uk)

Released: 13 November 2012

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