With natural attractions like valleys and rivers as well as picturesque villages, it is unsurprising that the Peak District is a hugely popular location for a holiday in the UK.
Justine Jenkins, who is the author of the travel blog, Wanderer Of The World, has spoken about visiting the Peak District: “Even if you’re short on time, there’s still plenty of hours in the day to make the most of everything the Peak District is most renowned for.
“It’s a truly stunning part of the country with wild terrain, uninterrupted views across the landscape and opulent estates one could only imagine living in.”
Despite its natural features, the Peak District is an accessible location as its many attractions and walks are perfect for those who may rely on a stairlift at home. Read on to find out some of the most accessible Peak District attractions and the routes that visitors with a mobility issue can enjoy.
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth House is a grand stately home near Bakewell. The impressive building sits on the bank of the River Derwent, overlooking the Derwent and Wye valleys. Chatsworth House has been adapted to accommodate wheelchair users, including a lift to explore the upper floors.
“We are delighted to be one of the few stately homes who can provide visitors with mobility issues access to all areas of the visitor route, as we have a lift to all floors of the house,” said Paul Hayes, visitor services manager at Chatsworth. “There is good wheelchair access to most of the garden, farmyard, shops and restaurants, and a free shuttle buggy also runs between the house, stables and farmyard on request. Manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available for visitors to borrow free of charge each day, and we also have a team of volunteers on hand each day to help with accessibility requirements too.
“Every day brings something different at Chatsworth, whether you’re here to admire the splendour of the house, explore the garden, meet the animals in the farmyard, enjoy afternoon tea and shopping in the stables or at the award-winning Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop in Pilsey, we always look forward to welcoming you. Each year we host a number of special events, including the Horse Trials, Country Fair and Christmas markets, and from November, the house will be transformed for Christmas. We also stage a number of special exhibitions, such as the Sotheby’s Beyond Limits sculpture exhibition in the garden every autumn.”
As Paul mentions above, the Chatsworth House gardens are accessible to visitors with mobility issues and manual and electric wheelchair users. Visitors can also hire a manual wheelchair, but booking this before your visit is best. The closest lane of the house car park is reserved for blue badge holders and is free to use. There are also adapted toilets near the house entrance, the Carriage House restaurant, and the farmyard. If you have a visual impairment, you are eligible for a complimentary audio tour of the house when buying admission tickets, and the sensory garden has been developed to stimulate all the senses, including sound, touch and smell.
Built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright, Cromford Mills is the world’s first water-powered cotton spinning mill, and during a visit, you can learn all about the first complete factory system.
The attraction is located at the heart of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, and during an escorted tour, you will learn about how this mill changed the world that we live in today.
Love Travelling Blog, a site which aims to inspire people to travel, says Cromford Mills is well worth a visit: “Cromford Mill is a fascinating place to visit, and it was hard to believe that we had spent three and a half hours there as it was so absorbing, the time just flew by.”
Cromford Mills is an accessible attraction as there is level access, carers are allowed in free of charge, and there are accessible toilets and wheelchair-friendly cafes and shops for visitors.
The Cromford Canal, next to the mill, is also wheelchair-friendly, offering a lovely accessible walk in the Peak District region. The canal is a haven for wildlife, and with its level towpath between Cromford Wharf and Ambergate, a distance of just over 5 miles, it offers a perfect stretch for walkers of all ages and abilities. There are wheelchair-accessible toilets along the way at Cromford Canal Wharf and High Peak Junction, and you can even hire a scooter.
Perched on the top of Masson Hill, The Heights of Abraham is undoubtedly one of the most exciting attractions in the Peak District. High above the picturesque town of Matlock and the surrounding countryside, the Heights of Abraham cable car takes visitors up to the hilltop, where many exciting features await. Walks, caverns and fascinating exhibitions offer an insight into the history and geology of the Peak District.
The cable cars have been adapted to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters. However, you should check with The Heights of Abraham team if you are travelling with larger mobility equipment. The Long View, Fossil Factory and Window on the Peak exhibitions are all accessible, as well as the Through the Lens film show of the Great Masson Cavern, Vista Bar and restaurant, Terrace Café and gift shops.
The Peak Wildlife Park allows you to see some of the world’s most endangered mammals, and this unique Peak District attraction is perfect for families and animal lovers. You can interact with animals such as lemurs, penguins, Giant Sulcata Tortoises, Giant Rabbits and wallabies.
Karen, the author of The 3 am Diary lifestyle blog, says the park is great fun and accessible: “Peak Wildlife Park is such a unique place to visit with so much to do up close to the animals.
“There are several main areas where you can walk with the animals, which are all wheelchair friendly and accessible. There are gates in between each area and clear information about all the areas you are entering. You can also see zebras, tortoises and more!”
The Peak Wildlife Park is accessible to wheelchair users and people with a mobility problem as there are wheelchair-friendly paths, toilets, and car parking. Visitors can also rent wheelchairs from the park itself. You can find out more about the access here.
A museum collection of trams runs through this remarkable village in Matlock. Crich Tramway Village is one of the most unique attractions in the UK, offering visitors the chance to ride on vintage trams. Over 60 trams built between 1900 and 1930 run through the village, which has a pub, café and old sweet shop.
The team at Crich Tramway Village told us why this attraction is a must-see on your visit to the Peak District and Derbyshire: “Visitors can ride the operational trams as many times as they wish and will experience fabulous views over the Derwent Valley during the tip. There is a woodland walk and sculpture trail, and dogs on a lead are welcome.”
To ensure that everyone can enjoy the attraction, Crich Tramway Village offers a special service for disabled visitors. The Access Tram (Berlin 3006) has an appropriate platform to enjoy a tram ride with your wheelchair. The team kindly told us more about the access at Crich Tramway Village:
“People with limited mobility can access the exhibitions, which are either at ground level or have a lift to access them. There is a Red Lion Pub, which has ground-floor access, and Rita’s Tearoom, which has a ramp for access.
“The Access Tram runs twice a day at 11.30am and 2.30pm if requested on arrival at admissions. This has been specially adapted with a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs (up to 4 per trip). Wheelchairs can be hired for a refundable deposit of £10 per day. There is a smooth way from admissions to the tram terminus allowing for wheelchairs and pushchairs to access the site more easily.”
For more information, take a look at the website’s accessibility section.
In the heart of Buxton, the Pavilion Gardens is the hub of the town, housing the Tourist Information Centre, restaurants and 23 acres of pretty gardens.
The centre is accessible throughout, either with level access or lifts for wheelchair users and offers several accessible toilets. Numerous tarmac paths will lead you through the picturesque gardens and a tranquil lake.
The Matlock Farm Park is a great family-friendly attraction in the Peak District as you will get to meet and feed animals which range from pigs, goats, sheep, deer, ducks, meerkats, chickens, llamas, alpacas and wallabies.
There are daily talks, animal encounters, sheep and ferret races, an indoor play area and a Garden Room Café famed for serving delicious homemade meals and snacks.
The Matlock Farm Park is an accessible attraction in the Peak District as it boasts disabled parking facilities and an accessible toilet; guide dogs are also welcome and there is level access throughout the park as well.
Carsington Water is one of the largest reservoirs in England, and it is one of the most popular and accessible walks in the Peak District.
Open all year round, visitors get some great views over the water, and if you have a mobility issue, there are plenty of level paths and accessible viewing points that you can use to admire the wildlife. The bird-watching hides are accessible to all, and so is the visitor centre, and here you can learn about the history of the reservoir and the different wildlife living in the area.
The accessible paths mean visitors with mobility impairment can visit the courtyard shops and restaurants, so you can dine on tasty food and pick up a souvenir. There is free parking for blue badge holders, and mobility scooters and electric bikes are also available to hire from the Carsington Water visitor centre.
Home to The Howden Reservoir, one of the most beautiful sights in the Peak District, Upper Derwent Valley is a must-see on your visit. Dense forests line the water’s edge, and in the winter, a dusting of snow covers the mountains. Head to the visitor centre, which is accessible to wheelchair users and has accessible toilet facilities. Here you can buy refreshments and learn more about the reservoirs’ history.
The Upper Derwent Valley Trail, an 18-mile circuit around the Ladybower Reservoir, is accessible to people with limited mobility. To hire disability-adapted cycles and mobility scooters, visit the cycle-hire centre at Fairholmes.
High Peak and Tissington Trails are picturesque former railway lines transformed into recreational routes for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
The trails are flat, offering easy walking conditions for all abilities, including wheelchair users. The High Peak Trail is the stretch that runs from Buxton to High Peak Junction, Cromford, which is roughly 17 miles. The Trissington Trail is slightly shorter at 13 miles and stretches from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne.
Along these routes, there are accessible bikes that can be hired by those of you who have a mobility issue. These bikes range from trikes, wheelchair bikes and tramper mobility scooters to hand-cranked bikes.
The beautiful valley of Dovedale is one of the most popular sights in the Peak District. Its limestone ravines and tranquil river can be found south of the national park. However, for those who usually rely on the help of a stairlift and may be travelling with mobility aids, there is a tarmac path along the west bank to reach the stepping stones, the valley’s most iconic viewpoint. Although it’s not a long walk, it’s worth bringing a picnic here on a sunny day.
Another breathtaking viewpoint is Surprise View, which can be found near the villages of Hathersage and Nether Padley. This is a beautiful place to stop and take in the countryside views. A level tarmacked car park sits at the edge of the moorland and is free to blue badge holders. The path to the viewpoint overlooking Hope Valley is wheelchair accessible.
Look out over Monsal Dale and the impressive Headstone Viaduct at the viewpoint of Monsal Head, close to the village of Little Longstone. The viewpoint offers a short-stay car park, free to blue badge holders. There is a small 150mm step onto the verge where there are plenty of seats to enjoy the view.
If you’d like to explore the area on a walk, you can join the Monsal Trail. It begins at Bakewell, passing through the countryside for approximately four miles to Monsal Viaduct. You can join the trail at various locations.
Don’t let limited mobility stop you from exploring the UK. The accessible walks in the Peak District and Derbyshire have so much to offer, even if you usually travel with a wheelchair or mobility scooter. So, what are you waiting for?
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This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.