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AVAILABLE ON DAB

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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

Accessible Castleton – giving visitors extra help to enjoy popular Peak District village



Visitors have extra help to explore and enjoy one of the Peak District’s most popular villages, thanks to a new accessibility initiative.

 

The Peak District National Park Authority has worked with AccessibleUK and local businesses to create Accessible Castleton.

 

Funding through Defra’s Access for All programme has enabled the authority and partners to compile information, a visitor guide for Castleton Visitor Centre, a sensory story and itineraries and an accessible map. This is part of wider accessibility improvements throughout the National Park, including new routes and more equipment at cycle hire centres.

 

It has also allowed accessibility training, in conjunction with Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, and production of an interactive website.

 

Castleton visitor centre is at the heart of the village and the ideal starting point – offering a warm welcome for people of all ages and abilities, particularly those living with disability, wheelchair users, families with young children or elderly relatives.

 

The centre has level access and has been carefully designed to take into account visitors’ needs. There are accessible toilets both outside the centre and inside Blueberry Café, which shares the building.

 

Other accessibility features include a hearing loop at the visitor centre information desk, high contrast markings for glass doors and windows, low lighting in some areas and large print on the café’s menus. Some staff have also received disability awareness training.

 

Visitors with limited mobility can explore the village by hiring a Tramper – an all-terrain mobility vehicle – or by borrowing an all-purpose wheelchair from the visitor centre.

National Park access officer Sue Smith says: “Not everywhere is accessible for everyone but, with the right information, everyone can find their own place in one of the most popular villages in the Peak District.

 

“The support from Defra’s Access for All programme gave us what we needed to expand accessibility to Castleton and build on our Miles without Stiles accessible routes. Providing this extra support is what can open up people’s worlds.”

 

Gillian Scotford of AccessibleUK adds: “We cannot thank Defra and the Peak District National Park enough for supporting this project and leading the way in helping improve Accessible Tourism.

 

“Having two severely disabled children, along with loved ones with various access needs, I know first-hand how vital this level of information is.

 

“We love our UK National Parks but, every single day, visitors struggle to know where they can visit. Our aim is to create accessible towns and villages, and this would not have been possible without this support. It’s a market worth £14.6 Billion, with 16 million disabled people (VisitEngland, 2023), so it makes perfect business sense to describe your accessibility.”

 

The National Park’s visitor experience development manager, Sue Beswick, says: “Castleton Visitor Centre is fully accessible as the central hub of the village and the first place many will visit. Our visitor experience assistants and volunteers provide a warm welcome and the information and guidance visitors need to ensure they can fully enjoy their visit to Castleton, the Hope Valley and the wider National Park"





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