We want to make attractions in Wales accessible to everyone, whether it’s the top of a mountain or the bottom of a mine. Here are just a few ideas to be going along with.
There’s ramped wheelchair access to the Snowdon Mountain Railway’s little trains, which’ll take you all the way to Hafod Eryri, the striking cafe and visitor centre at the summit of Wales’s and England’s highest mountain. On a clear day you can see Ireland, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Hafod Eryri Visitor Centre, Snowdon
The Wheelyboat Trust was set up to give access for disabled anglers on its large fleet of wheelchair-accessible Wheelyboats. In Wales they’ve got them at 10 lakes and reservoirs, spread nice ’n’ evenly throughout the country.
Red kite spotting
It’s pretty easy to spot kites in Wales (just look up) but the many special feeding stations usually have hides with wheelchair access. Bwlch Nant yr Arian is particularly good, with waymarked trails that are built specially for people with restricted mobility.
Wales invented this ridiculously fun sport, and providers like Celtic Quest don’t see why everyone shouldn’t have a crack. They’ve tailored courses so that anyone can explore their adventure limits at their own level. They run trips for deaf, blind, hearing and visually impaired children and adults, people with a learning and/or physical disability – anyone who doesn’t mind getting wet, basically.
The horses and ponies of the Riding for the Disabled charity provide therapy and enjoyment to people with disabilities all over Wales and the UK. The Clwyd Special Riding Centre deserves special mention, welcoming more than 200 people of all ages every week.
Explore the coast
A lot of the Wales Coast Path has long, flat stretches – 12 tarmacked miles (19km) in the case of the Millennium Coastal Path in Llanelli. But they’ve opened up some of the less obvious bits, too. For instance, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has created “Easy Access” and “Adventure” walks for varying capabilities, in some of the wilder, woollier stretches. They also hire out beach wheelchairs at six locations.
Each of our seven National Museums has a robust access-all-areas policy, which even extends to the bottom of the coal mine at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon. They’re also very good at providing full sensory experiences for any kind of disability, so each museum can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways.
Big Pit, National Coal Museum, Blaenavon
Storm the castle
Castles were designed to keep people out, so they’re notoriously tricky for wheelchair users. Still, that hasn’t stopped us from making as many of them as accessible as possible. Cardiff Castle’s a good example: lifts and ramps have managed to defeat most of the Roman, Norman and Victorian obstacles.