The top 10 most accessible UK walking trails

Whether it’s after work, at the weekend, post-Sunday roast or the classic Boxing Day stroll – Brits just love going for a wander.

But with uneven terrain, narrow paths and steep climbs, some of the most beautiful UK walks and trails are inaccessible. 

Don’t worry, though. We have an exclusive list of the top most accessible walking trails in the UK, which outdoor fitness and travel company AllTrails have carefully curated.

The complete list features 25 walks that ‘can be partially or fully navigated by those with limited mobility or using wheelchairs,’ according to AllTrails.

We’ve rounded up 10 of our favourites below:

Bamber Bridge

This 6.8km loop trail goes from Bamber Bridge to the River Ribble near Preston, Lancashire. It’s considered an easy route – however, it’s on the longer side, taking an average of one hour and 23 minutes to complete.

It’s also ideal for horseback riding, road biking and bird spotting.

The walk is open all-year round – and while there are some mild hills, the smooth tarmac terrain allows visitors using wheelchairs, mobility equipment, or pushchairs to travel safely.

Carr Mill Dam 

Found near St. Helens in Merseyside, this 2.9km circular route takes an average of 52 minutes to complete.

It’s a perfect walk all-year round, where you will pass bluebell woods and views of the lake. It’s also a great spot for bird watching.

Friar’s Crag 

A stunning route in the heart of the Lake District, this 2.7km track is found near Keswick, Cumbria.

It involves a stroll along the shore of Derwent Water with views of the lake and the Catbells mountains beyond.

AllTrails directions to find the track are as follows: ‘From Keswick town, walk down towards the Theatre by the lake, which will be on your left as you pass it. Then continue straight on, on an unsurfaced track to the bench end of Friars Crag. Return the way you came.’

Hollingworth Lake

Located near Littleborough in Greater Manchester, this trail is a 3.7km loop, averaging around 50 minutes to complete. 

The route surrounds the lake and is a great spot for bird watching (particularly for spotting waterfowl on the water), hiking and running. It’s also dog-friendly.

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

This route, nestled in the heart of Hampshire’s New Forest, is a popular one amongst AllTrail users – who have given it a combined rating of 4.3 out of 5. 

Located in Lyndhurst, this 2.9km route is ideal for walking between March through to September – and takes an average of 46 minutes to complete.

There is also a large open area for families to have a picnic while they enjoy the deers at the sanctuary and the New Forest ponies walking by.

River Don and Sprotbrough

This 5.5km trail is located near Brodsworth in South Yorkshire and the trek takes one hour and 46 minute. But AllTrails stress that it’s generally considered an easy option. 

The route – which is thought to be one of the most scenic trails in the area – provides beautiful views of forests, the river and a waterfall and is a popular spot among locals with locks, weirs, and wooded pathways, as well as plenty of animals.

And just across from the Sprotbrough Bride, the Boat Inn can be found, making this the perfect ‘pub walk’.

Strathclyde Loch Circular

Found in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, this circular trail is 6.0km and takes around one hour and 15 minutes to finish.

It offers open views and short wooded areas. Plus, the terrain is mostly tarmacked, making this route perfect for accessibility needs. 

Alternative paths can also be taken along this route for those who desire a longer stroll.

Newmillerdam Country Park Circular

In Wakefield, West Yorkshire, this 2.9km trail takes 38 minutes to walk. The route can be found in the popular nature reserve in Newmillerdam Country Park. The lake and surrounds are home to a number of wild creatures, and it is also a good spot for bird watchers.

There’s also a pay and display car park and toilets (at a charge).

Watergate Park Circular

This 2.3km circular option near Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, takes 30 minutes to complete.

It’s a family-friendly walk with views over the lake of Watergate Forest Park.  Although, in wetter conditions, the paths can be muddy – which may restrict access.

Dovestone Reservoir Circular

This beautiful route can be found near Dobcross in Greater Manchester – and it’s said to be an easier one at 4.3km, taking up to one hour and eight minutes to finish.

Located near the edge of the Peak District National Park, Dove Stone Reservoir is a popular site and the perfect spot for a family day out.

The reservoir has a sailing club, a permanent orienteering course and good access to areas of open access moorland. It also offers an excellent site for people to go fishing. 

There are areas to have picnics along the way – particularly at Ashway Gap, where you can admire the peregrine falcons, with the RSPB Date with Nature team between Thursday to Sunday.

Shelby de Caster, AllTrails UK data integrity lead, told Metro.co.uk: ‘The great outdoors should be accessible to people of all ability levels. Getting out into nature is essential for both physical and mental health and is a great way to enjoy all that the country has to offer, from stunning scenery to urban exploration.

‘We have thousands of miles of trails in every corner of the UK, with each trail clearly marked in the app whether it’s wheelchair accessible. These routes are all verified and hand-curated by our team and based on a variety of accessibility standards.’

And, in order for a trail to be accessible, AllTrails has come up with the following criteria:

  • A firm and smooth surface (paved, boardwalk, or packed dirt/gravel without tread obstacles).
  • A maximum height of 5 cm for tread obstacles.
  • A minimum trail width of 1m with turnouts for passing every 300m or minimum 1.5m wide without turnouts.
  • Up to a 12% max running grade/slope and no more than 30% of the trail exceeding an 8.3% grade (5% is considered the equivalent of a standard ramp).
  • A max cross (side-to-side) grade of 2%.
  • A maximum gap between bridge slats of ½ inch (1.25 cm).
  • At least a 1.5 m trail width whenever a 180-degree turn is necessary (unless the trail is at least 1m wide – then it can be 1.2 m).
  • A minimum height of 7.6cm on trail edge protection barriers.
  • Handrails with gripping surfaces between 86 – 96.5 cm.
  • At least one viewing area for points of interest with a viewing height between 81 -129.5 cm and manoeuvrable space for wheelchairs to turn around.
  • Only mapping route sections that are shared with motor vehicles when there is no safe and accessible sidewalk or pedestrian trail available, with designated and marked bike lanes for protection, preferably.

How to Find an Accessible Trail on AllTrails:

  • Go to AllTrails.com
  • Enter City, Park, or Trail Name
  • More Filters > Suitability > Wheelchair friendly and any other desired filters
  • Choose a trail from the map or list
  • Read the trail description and look at the photos
  • Follow the Directions tab

Further details on accessibility needs, trial details and terrain types can be found on the website under each walk mentioned above.

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