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Sunday, 5 February 2017

What does 'accessible' mean anyway?

I've taken to doing mini-hikes on a Saturday afternoon. I'm trying to discover new places in our area that are good for getting fresh air and exercise... but of course, they have to be accessible. Fortunately, I found a couple of websites with information about different walks and places to visit. One of them is written by another wheelchair user called Jeff. Click here to have a look.
Yesterday afternoon, I decided to give Thrybergh Country Park a go. Jeff's description made it look really nice - a bit like Rother Valley, where we went a few weeks ago. Only yesterday it was 'I' not 'we'.

Looking at Jeff's photos and the green trees and dry path, I have to conclude that he visited at a more sensible time of year but maybe he's okay with wasps and nettles. I'm not. This is my time of year. Jeff describes the walk as 'suitable for all wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs' and I'm sure I saw the word 'flat' there somewhere, though I may have imagined that.

Now don't get me wrong, it was beautiful and for the most part, I enjoyed it very much, but I wouldn't have made it round without the help of a lovely man and his wife who pushed me up a muddy hill, so steep it took the combined efforts of all three of us and a nearby fence. If an electric chair had tried it, it would have definitely gone over backwards!

Also, although the bits of the path near the entrance were dry and in good condition, the rest was muddy, lumpy, bumpy and seriously hard work. It was good for exercise but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't well prepared!

So, here are some photos...

So what does 'accessible' mean? Somewhere that is accessible one day might not be on another day. This walk has part of the path closed in the winter and a diversion down an inaccessible path, hence my difficulty. In the summer though, it's probably fine. It still won't be accessible for me though. I can see evidence of parts of the path where I know in the summer I'd have nettles at face level. Just no. No thanks.