Although wheelchair users often come across obstacles and limitations in everyday life, parts of wilder Kent & Sussex are still accessible. Listed here are examples recced by my test pilot, Lynn, and myself.
Some are a little bumpy but all manageable with care, a good strong ‘pusher’, spirit of adventure and a sense of humour for any sticky moments!
Please note: some of the paths might not be suitable for the more senior or disabled wheelchair user, and common sense should be used.
Sea wall at Reculver
Situated on the north Kent coast, Reculver boasts a ruined 12th century church (the twin towers) which stand amongst the skeletal remains of a Saxon fort and monastery.
The Sea Wall is easily found by proceeding east past the towers and the wall is front of you. This travels for 3.7 miles to the outskirts of Birchington where you will finish in a public car park. There is a pub here and toilets and allow a full day if you plan to do the return journey. There are no toilets on route.
The going is level with great views of the Greater Thames Estuary and its forest of wind turbines, and inland over farmland. There is a disabled toilet at the car park in Reculver and a small shop for those necessary supplies.
Map below and OS Explorer Map 150 – Canterbury & The Isle of Thanet
Eastbourne sea front & pier
A well known retirement resort found on the south coast, Eastbourne has a glorious 3.5 mile walkway.
Starting at the water treatment plant on Prince William Parade (you can road park here for free), simply make your way to the sea and the walkway cannot be missed. This is also open to cyclists and roller bladers, who sometimes, can be a little selfish. This easy to follow path takes you past the pier (wheelchair accessible) and on to a café under cliffs. If you don’t feel like the return journey, there is a small motorised ‘train’ which takes wheelchairs.
Map below and OS Explorer Map 123 – Eastbourne & Beachy Head
Petworth House, Petworth
Situated on the A272 in Sussex and owned by the National Trust, this circular walk around the lake is a joy for views over parkland and deer spotting.
The grass route is obvious but there are smaller ‘hillier’ paths you can take if your ‘pusher’ is up for it.
Please note: only do the paths in summer and after a dry spell otherwise you might need someone to tow you out!
The pretty village of Petworth is a delight to explore and not too difficult to navigate. A great spot for a coffee.
This disused railway line runs for 9.5 miles from Groombridge to East Grinstead, both in Sussex.
Lying in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the views on a sunny day make this a lovely trip out. It’s a popular track used by cyclists, walkers and riders and you may even catch a glimpse of some elusive wildlife.
You don’t have to do the full route as there is parking at villages along the way, which also have pubs and cafés to stop at.
Map below and OS Explorer Map 135 – Ashdown Forest
Click here for a PDF of the Forest Way route