Disabled Ramblers Celebrate Peak District Access

9th Sep 2016

Disabled Ramblers

Disabled Ramblers Celebrate Peak District Access

Outdoor enthusiasts from across England and Wales have been taking advantage of work to help make the Peak District National Park more accessible.

A group of 27 people from the Disabled Ramblers, 14 on mobility scooters, tackled the Long Causeway near Stanage. Members travelled from Snowdonia, Middlesbrough and Hampshire and were joined by local people including Mike Johnson, of the Peak District Local Access Forum.

Long Causeway was the subject of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in 2014, preventing use by motor vehicles.

John Cuthbertson from the Disabled Ramblers said: “These rambles are something special for people who are often stuck indoors in front of a TV screen. We covered about six miles and there was a good mix of rough track and smoother surfaces, with a nice gentle descent to Dennis Knoll and some wonderful views.

“A lot of work goes into organising something like this and we had great support from the National Park. I would particularly like to thank the rangers, Gordon Danks and Andy Valentine, for accompanying us and braving the heat the day before to clear the weeds and create a parking area. We are also grateful to the the landowner for allowing us to park on his land.

“The improvements to the surface of Long Causeway have helped make it possible for groups like ours to get out and enjoy the landscape.’’

Gay Hoban, who took part in the ramble, said: “Getting back in the countryside after a long absence was both uplifting and invigorating. My able-bodied friend also enjoyed the day. The route to Stanage helped us tune in with yesteryear, joining in with the many people who must have done that journey down the centuries.”

Fellow rambler Marion Heaton added: “I really appreciated the easy access to the elevation and the stunning views. It was good to have the rangers present to give us additional information about the area, which I had never been able to access before as a disabled rambler.”

Long Causeway is an ancient packhorse route which runs from Redmires Reservoir on the outskirts of Sheffield to Stanage Pole, an important landmark which was replaced earlier this year. It then descends below Stanage Edge to Dennis Knoll and passes through some of the Dark Peak’s most dramatic open countryside, with far-reaching views uninterrupted by buildings, settlements or roads.

Sue Smith, access and rights of way officer at the Peak District National Park, said: “This event was particularly important because when we consulted on the TRO it became clear that many people valued the natural beauty and tranquillity of this area but felt that they could no longer access the route because of its condition and the risk of conflict.  

“A number of disabled vehicle users also expressed concern about the loss that they would experience if they could no longer access the route. The recent repairs by Derbyshire County Council have opened this area up to more people and this ramble was one way for people to visit who might otherwise have not been able to enjoy the splendour of the surroundings.’’

The Disabled Ramblers help people with access needs get back out into the countryside.  About 30 rambles are run each year across England and Wales – mostly from March to October. Find out more or email rambles@disabledramblers.co.uk.

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