The British countryside comprises many joyous landscapes, from wild Welsh wetlands and great Northern Irish estates to ancient English woodlands and vast Scottish lochs. Within these landscapes, nature presents itself in an intoxicating blend of sights, sounds and smells, just waiting to be savoured.
For wheelchair, mobility aid and pushchair-users, accessing these blissful corners of the countryside isn't always easy. That's why we've put together a list of our favourite accessible trails, each specifically chosen for their well-maintained, stile-free paths and gentle terrain.
Where possible, it's always a good idea to phone ahead of your visit and check what facilities are available and the condition of trails.
Discover more accessible days outPlan your next adventure with our guide to the best days out for people with limited mobility, including wheelchair and pushchair users.
Wheelchair and pram-friendly walks
The market town of Newark, once a significant inland port, is steeped in industrial history. It was a transport hub for the wool, coal and grain trade that grew up in this area and lasted well into the 20th century. The legacy of impressive red-brick warehouses remains, some of which have been converted into pubs and restaurants.
During the spring and summer months, the Edwardian river cruiser M.V. Sonning offers trips along the River Trent. Although built in 1902 as a River Thames Passenger Steamer, the Sonning’s upper deck area is wheelchair accessible. There is also a superb stile-free river walk, suitable for all the family, that begins in the grounds of Newark Castle. Starting point: Newark Castle.
Cullen to Portknockie, Moray
This Scottish coastal walk along a disused railway line guarantees stunning views of the wide sandy bay of Cullen and the striking rock formations of Bow Fiddle Rock, just off the coast at Portknockie. The coastline here is one of the best places in Scotland for spotting basking sharks and dolphins. Starting point: The Square car park, Cullen AB56 4SY.
Penrose Estate, Cornwall
This is a spectacular stile-free walk along an enchanted woodland trail and a lakeside track to Loe Bar. The reward for your efforts is a panoramic view across the North Atlantic sea. Here the freshwater lake meets the North Atlantic Sea – divided only by a golden beach. Starting point: Penrose National Trust car park, Helston TR13 0RE.
Cwm-yr-Eglwys to Pwllgwaelod, Pembrokeshire
You know you’re going somewhere special when the road is so narrow the yellow lines on either side practically touch each other. It all adds to the magic of the descent into the cosy, cocooning north-east-facing cove of Cwm-yr-Eglwys (Valley of the Church). A flat, wheelchair and pushchair-friendly path links Cwm-yr-Eglwys with the next cove over, Pwllgwaelod. Starting point: Cwm-yr-Eglwys.
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Cors Dyfi, Powys
Sandwiched between a caravan park and Dovey Junction, the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Cors Dyfi is worth savouring. This mixed habitat of bog, swamp, scrub and wet woodland is famous for its April-arriving ospreys, but look a little closer and you will notice a host of other wildlife wonders throughout spring and summer.
A wheelchair-friendly boardwalk weaves across the boggy habitat, from its new visitor centre towards the osprey-viewing 360 Observatory. Amble slowly for your best chance of sightings. Starting point: Dyfi Visitor Centre.
Coombe Hill, Buckinghamshire
Walking out to the war memorial on the exposed summit of Coombe Hill, the highest point in the Chilterns, is always stirring. You’ve reached the first monument built to commemorate war dead rather than celebrate victory and, coupled with a bracing northerly wind or a mist hanging over the Vale of Aylesbury below, it can’t fail to bring out goosebumps.
A wheelchair-friendly path leads north from the gate on the western side of the National Trust car park (picnic area and information panels, including a map, but no toilets) as far as the monument. As well as distant views, the Prime Minister’s country home, Chequers, is spotted in the valley below. Starting point: Chilterns Countryside National Trust car park.
Latrigg circular, Cumbria
This route offers some amazing views – on a particularly clear day you can even see Scafell Pike. The path is easy access, but there are some slopes. Stop off at the summit for a picnic, before completing the 2.3-mile route back to the car park. At the start of the walk there is a fairly steep climb (1.7 gradient), which could be heavy going for a manual wheelchair.
The spectacular horseshoe bend of Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Line is elevated 30m above the valley floor. It is a remarkable feat of engineering, though these days is perhaps better known for its supporting role in the Harry Potter films. Either way, there is something magical about the early-20th-century rail bridge.
The five-mile route from Glenfinnan Visitor Centre (shop, toilets, café and accessible parking) as far as Corryhully Bothy is suitable for people with limit mobility. Initially the track is a bit rough and may require a strong pusher for manual wheelchair users. Beyond the viaduct the route is sealed and car-free.
Loxley Valley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Escape from the busy city centre to enjoy an idyllic woodland ramble along a stile-free path in Loxley Valley. Sheffield is known as ‘The Outdoor City’ with a third of the city being within the boundaries of the Peak District National Park. Birdlife is abundant on this short walk, making it a haven for nature lovers. Starting point: Rowell Lane, Sheffield S6 SSH.
Wareham Forest, Dorset
Explore the many tracks and bridleways that run through the woodland. The forest is home to sika deer and sand lizards – one of the UK’s rarest reptiles. Keep an eye out for the once-threatened Dartford warbler. You may also see woodlarks, who make their nests on the ground in the heathlands. Starting point: Sika Trail Car Park, Wareham BH20 7PE
Springhill House, Sawpit Hill Moneymore, County Londonderry
Springhill House Estate is the perfect place for a tranquil circular wander through the gardens and towering woods. In spring, the beech woodland is filled with bluebells and the smell of wild garlic. Visit in May for a spectacular display of colour when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. Starting point: 20 Springhill Road, Moneymore, County Londonderry BT45 7NQ.
Rosedale Railway walk, North Yorkshire
This walk along a former mine railway gives panoramic views of Rosedale. Built around 1870, the track was used for transporting ironstone. As the trail sweeps around the valley, the former kilns are clear landmarks of the area’s industrial heritage. The area is now a stunning example of heather moorland. Starting point: Chimney Bank car park, Rosedale Abbey, York, near YO62 7LQ.
Oxford Island, County Armagh
Oxford Island is on the south-eastern shores of Lough Neagh, County Armagh. Designated as a National Nature Reserve, the area is a haven for wildlife, including whooper and Bewick’s swans. The trail takes in Kinnego Marina, where visitors can enjoy a boat trip around the secluded bays and islands. Starting point: Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Craigavon, County Armagh BT66 6N.
This three-mile walk begins outside the beautiful gates of Knole House in Kent and takes a scenic route through the estate. It is a great route to experience in September when the deer can be heard in their annual rut. Facilities include: parking, toilets, café, restaurant and shop.
Tissington Trail, Derbyshire
This four-mile route follows part of the 13-mile Tissington Trail from Parsley Hay to Money Stones. There's lots of wildlife to spot along the way, such as the White Peak bird and various butterfly species.
Penzance to Marazion seafront, Cornwall
This 2.1-mile walk along the seawall is the perfect place to take in the beautiful views of the Cornish coast. This is a particularly good route to do in autumn, when you can see birds such as water rails and bitterns. There are plenty of restaurants along this coastal section.
Nostell Menagerie Garden Walk, Wakefield, Yorkshire
This 1.4-mile walk begins overlooking a tranquil lake, which is particularly beautiful in autumn when the changing colours of the trees are reflected in the water. Facilities include: parking, café, shop and toilets.
Please note: conditions may be poor in bad weather, so please ring ahead to check accessibility.
On this 2.3-mile walk, look out for impressive birds of prey, such as peregrine falcons, patrolling the skies. The dramatic mountainous scenery is a delight. Nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are at Staveley, four miles to the south.
Newport Wetlands Reserve, Gwent
There are four wheelchair and pushchair-friendly routes available at the Newport Wetlands Reserve. Look out for birds as they fly overhead or hide in the reeds. Visit over the winter months for your chance to witness incredible starling murmurations. Facilities include: parking, visitor centre, toilets, baby changing and café.
Please note: conditions may be poor in wet weather, so please ring ahead to check accessibility.
Orchard Trail, Mabie Forest, Dumfries and Galloway
This half-mile walk in Mabie Forest journeys beneath giant sequoia and redwood trees alongside a trickling burn. The route leads to the tranquil sensory garden in Garden Wood.
Lochan Trail, Argyll and Bute
This one-mile walk has a smooth surface and weaves through the Glencoe Lochan forest. There are several rest points along the way, perfect for a picnic or to take in the scenery.
Callander Meadows, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
This beautiful 1.2-mile walk follows the River Teith, its banks awash with an array of wildflowers in spring and summer. The large pool of water along the way also acts as a resting point for salmon, so keep an eye out! The route is well-surfaced.
Somerset Forest, Londonderry
Look out for herons and squirrels as you navigate this this two-mile route through beautiful forest. Facilities include; parking.
Please note: conditions may be poor, so please ring ahead to check accessibility.