When you think of walking in Yorkshire, you’re probably picturing wind-swept moors or the hills and valleys of the Dales. You’re probably not picturing an industrial heartland just off the M1. While we’re lucky to be surrounded by thousands of acres of incredible countryside in Yorkshire, you don’t have to go far from the towns and cities to find mini walking wonderlands ready to be explored.
To some people, the biggest barrier is knowing where these trails are and how to access them. Open Country’s Breakfree packs aim to de-mystify the outdoors and show how easy it is to access green spaces on our doorstep. The Yorkshire-based charity has just launched a new Wakefield Breakfree pack to inspire people to explore the miles of walking trails on offer. The packs feature places like Thornes Park, just a mile away from the centre of Wakefield but a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
While we’ve developed the pack with disabled people in mind, it will also appeal to families with young kids and pushchairs, anyone who might struggle with exercise, or older people whose mobility might be failing.
The individual route cards give a detailed trail description of the terrain, gates or barriers and the gradient. They also highlight features of interest such as play areas, wildlife watching opportunities and water features. Crucially, the route cards also list any cafés and WC facilities. If you’re anything like me, you’ll like your walks to feature a view, a brew and a loo!
To other people, the barriers to getting outdoors can be more physical. Open Country’s main aim is to unlock the countryside for people of all abilities. Although there is still some way to go to make the outdoors accessible, the Breakfree packs and our Countryside Directories for the North of England go some way to broadening the opportunities for disabled people.
The places featured in the new Wakefield Breakfree pack are:
Pugneys Country Park, National Trust Nostell, Anglers Country Park, Wakefield Parks, Newmillerdam Country Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Pontefract Park, Walton Colliery, Upton Country Park, RSPB Fairburn Ings, Ardsley Reservoir and Crow Nest Park.
The Wakefield Breakfree pack is free to download at www.opencountry.org.uk/breakfree. Groups and individuals with disabilities can also get hold of a free printed version of the pack by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They will also be free to pick up from many of the outdoor sites featured.