Working with Hardcastle Crags
Our first meeting by Les Allan – member of the Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum
One of the main problems about Hardcastle Crags is getting there, apart from walking routes there is only one way in and out. It is a narrow road and unsuitable for large vehicles. There is a bus service to Hardcastle Crags but it only runs for part of the year and buses are few and far between. Some form of public/private transport needs to be brought in, this could be in the form of mini buses such as those used by community transport. These should be available not only for disabled people but for anyone who cannot get there otherwise.
The meeting was held outside Gibson Mill which proved to be a rather noisy area with dogs barking, delivery vans and people stopping for refreshments. This caused me some discomfort and I am aware that much of what was being discussed was lost on me. There did not seem to be a choice of sitting in the sun or shade, I do not feel I was the only person who felt uncomfortable sitting in full sunlight.
Various issues were discussed including access to the mill itself and access to the river. It seems to me that half of the reason for visiting Hardcastle Crags is to experience the river and it would be disappointing if this was not possible. There are lots of ways to improve access without spending large sums of money, such as, levelling tracks, smoothing out surfaces, and providing access from the main path to the riverside for people with mobility issues.
I am looking forward to working further with Hardcastle Craggs and making some improvements together with the National Trust.