New guidance to make the outdoors more accessible to everyone

Paths for all photo - people outdoors (picture credit - Paths for All)
Sophie Law

New guidance has been published that is designed to help make our outdoor places and spaces, routes and facilities more accessible, and outdoor experiences more inclusive, so they can be enjoyed by everyone. 

New Outdoor Accessibility Guidance was published this month and has been developed by Paths for All together with the Sensory Trust. 

The new Outdoor Accessibility Guidance has a UK-wide scope and was launched to users and stakeholders at a special webinar held by the Outdoor Recreation Network on 18th April 2023 and dates and expands ‘Countryside for All’, which has been widely respected as a benchmark reference for improving access to the countryside across the UK since it was published in 1997.

The guidance is written for anyone managing land for public access and recreation, including land managers, community trusts, community groups and volunteers, access and recreation teams and owners.

It will also assist anyone involved in designing outdoor spaces, planning outdoor activities and creating communication materials.

Presenting the new guidance Kevin Lafferty, CEO of Paths for All said,

"Our aim is to make the outdoors accessible to everyone. We should all, no matter our age, ethnicity or ability, have inclusive, welcoming access to outdoor places to be active and experience nature around us. 

We know equal access is not always in place, that every community is different and that there are multiple cultural, social, and physical barriers which prevent people from accessing the outdoors for walking, cycling and wheeling.

Our great outdoors, from local parks to coastal paths, should be accessible to give everyone the opportunity to be active in nature, and experience the benefits to our physical, social and mental health. Creating greater access to these benefits is exactly why this new guidance is so important. I hope it will be a well-used resource for anyone designing paths, places and promoting the outdoors for everyone."

You can read more about the Outdoor Accessibility Guidance here and download the PDF here.