In the Forest of Bowland AONB we want to enable access to the countryside for everyone; access for people with wheelchairs, pushchairs, limited mobility, or simply for those whose legs aren't as young as they used to be.
All the family can experience the unspoiled beauty of the area along trails with fantastic views, wildlife-rich hedgerows and through tranquil woodlands and parklands.
We have partnered with Access the Dales to explore making the inaccessible accessible and to break down the barriers that prevent people living with disabilities enjoying the great outdoors either independently or with their friends and family.
We have a number of hub locations in the AONB where all-terrain wheelchairs are free to hire and can be used along designated trails – including Dunsop Bridge, Whitewell, Gisburn Forest Hub and Sabden.
Follow this link to see the different route options, which includes a self-guided trail at Dunsop Bridge. The access for all trails have been graded using the Disabled Ramblers 1 to 5 categories. These vary in distance and terrain, providing a range of experiences to suit those seeking a simple ride to those looking for something more challenging.
Hiring All-Terrain Wheelchairs
When you use an all-terrain wheelchair for the first time you will be given an induction on how to use the vehicle.
You can also familiarise yourself with the Tramper before going out by watching our short Induction Film and you can watch the TerrainHopper in use on the manufacturer's YouTube channel here).
Our aim is to reduce the barriers that some people face when looking to access the outdoors, therefore we don’t have a fixed hire price for our all-terrain wheelchairs - we simply ask for a donation to help us continue to provide this service across the Forest of Bowland AONB and in the Dales. Further information will be provided when booking.
|HUB NAME||LOCATION||TYPE OF EXPERIENCE||TYPE OF ALL-TERRAIN WHEELCHAIR||HOW TO BOOK||FACILITIES|
|Gisburn Forest Hub Cafe||Gisburn Forest||Self Guided Birch Hills Trail||Tramper||
Gisburn Forest Cafe - book in advance by
ringing: 01200 446387 or by emailing email@example.com
|Parking (pay and display), café, accessible toilet on the car park|
|Sabden Community||Sabden||Self Guided Churn Clough Reservoir Trail||Tramper||Sabden volunteers||Parking and accessible toilet in the village (radar key)|
|Wood End Farm||Dunsop Bridge||Guided trail - linked with alpaca experience||Terrain Hopper||Access the Dales Hub (coming soon)||Parking, accessible toilet|
|New Laund Farm||Whitewell||Guided trail||Terrain Hopper||Access the Dales Hub (coming soon)||Parking, accessible toilet|
Trampers available through other providers:
Bowland Wild Boar Park Tramper
A Tramper available to access the various trails at the Wild Boar Park. Entry fees apply. Telephone 01995 61075. It is advisable to book beforehand.
For further information visit: www.wildboarpark.co.uk/disabled-access/
Wyre Estuary Country Park
Outside of the AONB, but Trampers are available to hire at Wyre Estuary Country Park. For further information visit: https://www.wyre.gov.uk/walking-wyre/tramper-trails/1
What is a Tramper? the Tramper is a specially designed, all-terrain electric buggy, which can be used off road and even on rough ground, mud and grass. It enables people who have difficulty walking, who are less able, or who may be disabled, to experience the countryside and to accompany friends and family when out walking. Gradients of up to 1 in 4 (25%) are comfortable for Tramper use. Follow this link for further details.
What is a TerrainHopper? a TerrainHopper is an all-terrain wheelchair that can conquer deep mud, sand, snow, rocks, steep hills, undergrowth and many obstacles. With a ground clearance of 250 mm and 35% incline climbing ability the inaccessible becomes accessible. Follow this link for further details.
How much does it cost to hire an all-terrain wheelchair? Although we don’t have a fixed charge for hiring a vehicle, we would appreciate a donation towards our Champion Bowland Fund or Access the Dales, and this will go towards the electricity to charge the vehicles, along with the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicles and their place of storage.
Do I have to be 'registered' as disabled or have a Blue Badge? You do not have to be 'registered' as disabled or have a Blue Badge to enjoy the use of the vehicles. You may be recovering from illness or surgery and have experienced a loss in stamina or mobility, or you may have difficulty walking on rough tracks: you are all welcome to use the Tramper.
What happens if I get lost or break down? All of the sites listed on this website have been thoroughly checked and tested to make sure they are safe and easy for you to use with either a Tramper or TerrainHopper. The paths on most sites are way-marked with blue signs, so it should be easy for you to follow.
Please note that all users must be accompanied by one other person and one of you must be in possession of a working mobile phone.
Please ensure you download and print your route before arriving and keep it with you on the trail so it is always to hand.
When you hire the vehicle our volunteers will give you a phone number to call should you have any problems.
Where can I use the equipment? The vehicles can only be used on the trails indicated. You are not permitted to use the vehicles on any other route and it cannot be taken away for use elsewhere.
You do need to book a vehicle in advance by making a reservation, preferably at least 7 days prior to your planned visit.
Will I get training on how to use the vehicle? You will be given a brief training session upon arrival at your chosen site, so we can make sure you have the skills and confidence to safely operate the vehicle. We can also watch the introductory videos listed above.
I have limited strength or control in one arm - can I use the Tramper or TerrainHopper? You should have sufficient upper body strength, upper limb mobility and hand dexterity to grip both handlebar grips securely and operate the twist grip. The vehicles use handlebars for steering and a twist grip to start and stop - speed is controlled using a combination of a dial and a switch.
To assist there is a switch on the vehicles that allows you to choose which twist grip to use - left or right. Please watch the video shown.
The key factor is therefore whether you can safely steer and control the vehicle.
We encourage anyone who would like to see whether the vehicles suitable for them to go to one of our hub locations and try one. If you find you can control it safely in the induction at the hire base then you can head off to explore using the recommended routes. The member of staff or volunteer hiring the vehicle has the authority to make the final decision as to whether it will be safe for you to proceed.
If a hire site has more than one route then they may be able to advise you as to which routes will be easiest for you or parts of the route that could be more difficult.
What restrictions apply to use of the equipment? The safety of our users and other visitors visiting our sites is very important to us. Because of this, there are some restrictions on how and where the equipment can be used.
- You must complete some basic training before hiring a vehicle for the first time to demonstrate you can operate the vehicle safely.
- You need to provide valid photo ID - driving licence, Blue Badge, Bus Pass, passport; and proof of address - bank statement, utility bill, credit card bill.
- The hire periods and induction session times will vary at each site according to volunteer/staff availability and opening hours.
- Site staff will advise which routes are suitable for the vehicle - weather conditions may restrict access to certain routes.
- Vehicles are limited to a maximum of 4mph for safety reasons.
- There are Terms and Conditions of vehicle use - users must sign a disclaimer each time they want to hire a vehicle to confirm that they still meet them each time equipment is hired.
- You are required to carry a mobile phone and any other safety items issued by site staff.
- You must be accompanied by another person when using a vehicle so they can assist you if required.
- The minimum age to operate a Tramper is 14 years, however, our volunteers will check that the person is able and confident in operating the Tramper independently prior to use.
- Users must be under 25 stone in weight (160kg)
Can I use my own vehicle on the dedicated trails? You are welcome to use your own tramper on the trails, though it is worth contacting the site in advance so you can obtain any keys required for opening gates, etc. Where keys are required, a RADAR lock has been used (which is a commonly available key for disabled users) so you may well already have your own key.
If you have any feedback following your Tramper experience, please let us know here, we would love to hear your thoughts.