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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Accessible walks - Doncaster Lakeside

I discovered this walk from a website called Jeff's Wheelchair Walks, which lists a number of generally accessible places to get some fresh air and exercise. The first time I attempted the walk around the lake in Doncaster, I underestimated the distance somewhat and nearly wiped out my poor mum-in-law. If you're looking for a quick 15 minute stroll, this isn't it.

Usually, I park near the Vue Cinema and Brewer's Fayre at Lakeside (North) but you have to be a bit sneaky about using their toilets and sneaky isn't that easy with a wheelchair and freewheel. I kind of stand out like a sore thumb. So today, I parked at the shopping outlet. There's loads of accessible parking and there are toilets on site (radar key).

Here's my route, which I did in an anticlockwise direction:

Map showing my route around the lake, beginning and ending at the retail outlet.


From the car park, I headed back towards the Premier Inn and left to the lake. Where you join the walk, there is a map and a board telling you about the different birds that can be seen.

Large sign telling you about the different birds that can be seen here.

Large, colourful map of the walk, showing points of interest.

What I like about this walk is that the paths are all paved and flat. There is minimal camber and it's a pretty good surface. There's always plenty of people around, so I feel quite safe to walk there alone but there is still a peaceful feeling as you follow the route. For me, it's a good length walk. Today I remembered to set my Google Fit app running from leaving the car and it measured 5.3 km, which took me almost exactly an hour. I would have done that much quicker if I'd just kept going but I stopped a few times to take photos.

Here are some of my favourite photos from today:

The fountain in the middle of the lake, in focus so you can see the individual drops of water.

Fountain in the middle of the lake, out of focus so the water looks soft and blurry.

A swan dipping for food with 2 Canada geese and a smaller bird swimming past.

Black and white picture of the fountain and a wooden bridge.

Picture of a swan looking into the lake for food.

Picture of the same swan with its head under water and its tail up, catching food.

Picture of a twig on a tree with new buds emerging.

Looking across to the shore from the island, there are hundreds of birds hoping to be fed.

So is there anything I don't like about this walk? Well, only one thing. The bridge that links the two islands is seriously steep. When Neil was with me last time I went, we managed a team effort to get me up the slope but I wouldn't dare attempt it alone. I think I'd tip over backwards!

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