Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. Thanks to National Lottery players it has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Fund

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A fantastic new charity, Access the Dales, will be launched on 2nd April 2022 at Ravenseat Farm, home of the Yorkshire Dales Farmer and TV celebrity Amanda Owen. Amanda is delighted to be the patron of the charity, especially because of her close friendship with founder of the charity, Debbie North. 

The charity aims to improve accessibility in the Yorkshire Dales by providing all-terrain wheelchairs in various locations around the National Park. They are also creating audio trails for people with visual impairment and will be developing and promoting walks without stiles. The charity was created in memory of Andy North, who sadly passed away in June 2021. Andy and Debbie, who is a wheelchair user, were passionate about creating a countryside for all. They loved rambling in the Yorkshire Dales and if they were not at home, you would find them in the hills of the Yorkshire Dales.  Debbie continues to follow their passion and wants other disabled people to be able to enjoy the dales too. 

Following Andy’s passing, a JustGiving account was set up to raise the money to purchase the first all-terrain wheelchair. Donations came flooding in and over £16K was raised. The charity has also received donations of all-terrain vehicles and wheelchairs from TerrainHopper and TGA Mobility and have received a handcycle from the John Sinnon Trust. These mobility scooters and chairs will be in various places around the dales for people to borrow. 

As part of the celebrations for the launch of Access the Dales, there will be the first Accessible Festival in the Yorkshire Dales. Between 2nd-10th April there are events happening across the Dales.

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership will be hosting:

  • Inclusion and Diversity Day on the 3rd April at The Engine Shed, Pennine View Park, Kirkby Stephen and
  • A stile free circular walk on Wednesday 6th April around the stunningly beautiful countryside around the village of Orton.  

On Tuesday 5th April there will be the Accessible Yorkshire Dales conference which is aimed at businesses who would like to learn more about how they can make their facilities more welcoming to disabled people. 

There are separate activities for each day of the festival. Please see below for a full itinerary and to book a place! www.access-the-dales.com/events

Also if you haven’t seen it already please watch Debbies film ’Get outside in the Westmorland Dales’ to help inspire you to visit some of the more accessible places in the area.