18 Incredible Accessible Walking Trails To Enjoy Year-Round
We believe everyone’s happier outside. And according to research by Natural England, you do too. The People and Nature Survey found 82% of adults in England said that being in nature made them very happy and 92% agreed spending time outdoors was good for their mental health.
Which is why ensuring we all have access to our wild places is so important, and why we’re proud to partner with organisations like the National Trust who can help us get there. In this blog we’re sharing 18 incredible walking trails from National Trust sites that are accessible for the whole family, whatever the weather.
Where will you explore first?
Top Accessible Walking Routes From The National Trust
Osterley Park and House is a beautifully preserved Georgian country estate just a short distance from central London. On the wider estate multi-use pathways through woods and open land have been designed to support cycling, running, walking, wheelchair users, families with buggies and all other visitors.
Kingston Lacy is an astonishing Italianate Palace in the heart of rural Dorset. Walkers, runners, adapted wheelchair users and cyclists of all ages and abilities can make use of the 4.7km flat route, which includes views of the house. The trail is also ideal for families who can choose between a shorter route to the woodland play area with its new play equipment and a longer loop for more confident adventurers.
Above the bustling seaside town of Sidmouth is Salcombe Hill, with views over the town and out across the Jurassic cliffs. The Salcombe Hill accessible walk offers a fantastic introduction to the South West Coast Path for visitors with reduced mobility. Take in views of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site cliffs from one of the clifftop benches and orient yourself using the toposcope.
Blickling’s breathtaking Jacobean mansion and ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a magnificent garden and historic park in the beautiful Bure meadows. A four-mile multi-use trail around the perimeter of the park is accessible for people with buggies and young children, as well as those using wheelchairs and mobility aids, and will take you through woodland and across farmland.
Dunstable Downs is the highest point in Bedfordshire and there are spectacular views over the Vale of Aylesbury. And from its elevated position, it’s possible to see five counties on a clear day. The multi-user route which runs from the Chilterns Gateway Centre along the top of the ridge into Dunstable is a surfaced path and suitable for all users including walkers, cyclists, pushchairs and wheelchair users.
An Italianate Palace in the heart of Suffolk with over 1800 acres of beautiful parkland, woodland, gardens and an all-weather trail to enjoy, Ickworth is the perfect place to get back to nature. The Albana, Geraldine’s and Erskine’s walks are all short accessible routes, suitable for those using wheelchairs and mobility aids, as well as for buggies and young children. For a longer walk, the multi-use trail takes you out into the parkland on a 9km circular route.
Wicken Fen, one of Europe's most important wetlands, supports an abundance of wildlife. There are more than 9,000 species, including a spectacular array of plants, birds and dragonflies. Fenland winter sunsets are renowned, and the views across the Fen as dusk falls are magical, with light catching the tops of the reeds, and a low mist rising. The Boardwalk on Sedge Fen, and the Woodland Walk, are all-weather, accessible routes.
Wimpole Estate has 600 acres of parkland to explore. Discover the landscape park, the rare-breed cattle and walk through grand avenues enjoying the far-reaching views. Wimpole's multi-use trail provides an off-road circular route around the estate, providing even more opportunities to explore the parkland. The trail is 5.5 miles, or 8.5 kilometres long. Intended for walkers, runners, cyclists and adapted wheelchair users, it's great for families looking for an easy, safe route that can get them active and enjoying time outside together.
As well as a grand Baroque un-stately home with its peeling wallpaper and seemingly abandoned rooms, Calke Abbey has secret walled gardens and parkland, much of which is a National Nature Reserve. The Tramway Trail is an accessible figure-of-eight route which follows the old horse-drawn tramway that linked Ticknall to Ashby, and it’s suitable for cyclists, walkers, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Stretching across 3,000 acres of ancient woodland and park, Dudmaston is a working estate with a family home at its heart. Trails crisscross Comer Woods, including the Explorer Trail a multi-use circular trail which begins and ends at the carpark. And it’s designed for everyone, including walkers, runners, cyclists and adapted wheelchair users. Stop off halfway along the trail at the Scout Camp. It’s a great place to pause for some outdoor games. A little further along the route, there's a great spot for den building.
Nostell is a masterpiece of 18th-century architecture and is filled with exceptional paintings and antiques. In the 300-acre estate and gardens you can enjoy lakeside walks, parkland, and meadows. Many of the paths around the lawns, pleasure grounds and lakes are suitable for mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Gifted to the National Trust by Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, Socialist MP and ‘illogical Englishman’, the 13,500-acre estate has something for everyone. The house is surrounded by an informal landscape of lawns, lakes, woodland, parkland and farmland, just waiting to be explored. Visit the West Wood and you’ll find 2,400m of hard surfaced paths as well as ponds, four children’s play areas and a wildlife hide.
Tarn Hows is part of a designed landscape created by James Garth Marshall of Monk Coniston in 1865. He built the dam at the outflow of one of three small tarns and planted hundreds of trees to create a landscape to enhance the view. Admire views of lakes and mountains on an easy circular trail that can be enjoyed by all the family. The Tarn Hows circular trail follows an established, level-surfaced path suitable for mobility aids and buggies.
An elegant Georgian villa, designed by architect John Nash in 1790, complete with a walled garden, farmyard lake and wild parkland. Remarkably unaltered for over 200 years. The gardens and pleasure grounds are mainly level and are accessible for wheelchair users.
Stackpole is both a listed designed landscape and an internationally important nature reserve. Footpaths stretch down from the former grand estate Stackpole Court, across dramatic cliffs to some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, including Broad Haven South, Barafundle Bay and Stackpole Quay. Beach wheelchair and tramper available to borrow for use around the estate when booked in advance.
Flanked by the wild Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. The accessible clifftop trail boasts incredible views of the Giant's Causeway and is suitable for visitors with mobility concerns, as well as prams and young children. You might even spot dolphins and porpoises swimming in the bay.
See the gothic and classical collide at Castle Ward, an eccentric 18th-century mansion resting on a rolling hillside and looking out over the tranquil waters of Strangford Lough in County Down. With 21 miles of trails criss-crossing the Castle Ward estate, there are plenty of ways to see more of the landscape around the mansion. Whether you’re walking, using a wheelchair, cycling or horse riding, explore the multi-use trails at Castle Ward to discover more of the estate.
An elegant Georgian villa, designed by architect John Nash in 1790, complete with a walled garden, farmyard lake and wild parkland. Remarkably unaltered for over 200 years. The gardens and pleasure grounds are One of the most unique and unusual gardens cared for by the National Trust, enjoying the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula. One of the few late compartmentalised Arts and Crafts-like gardens, it’s a deeply personal garden, the creation of Edith, Lady Londonderry in the early 20th century building on a pre-existing historic 18th and 19th century landscape. The lake walk is an easy, family-friendly route that's also accessible to mobility aids. It takes you on level access gravel and lawn pathways around the lake at the heart of Mount Stewart's garden.
There we have it – 18 incredible accessible walking routes to ensure everyone can enjoy our great outdoors. All you need to kick start your next adventure is the right kit. For advice on the right footwear and clothing for you and your family, visit us in-store and talk to our experts.
Adventure doesn’t wait for the weather, and the rain shouldn’t stop you from getting outside to do what you love. Embracing the rain and heading out on a walk brings a number of unique joys – but the right kit is absolutely essential. Dressing for the weather and having the right things with you will make sure your walk is enjoyable and safe, too, so here’s our kit list for a rainy-day walk (a waterproof jacket goes without saying!):