Working with Hardcastle Crags

Our first meeting by Les Allan – member of the Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum

I was picked up by Community Transport for Calderdale and taken to Hardcastle Crags for our initial meeting with Chris Bryerley.

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.

My visit to Shibden Park on 10th June 2021

By Aisha Mir

Me and my son who is 2 years old were picked up and dropped off home by Community Transport Calderdale by Chris Hancox and Steve Mitchel, who were absolutely amazing. As we got to the park, we met up with the manager Mark Spencer, who I didn’t get to meet properly because he had to rush off somewhere and I was half an hour late due to having a problem getting my son’s car seat in and we had to make sure it was safe for him to travel before we could all set off.

On arrival to the park we were met by the other park managers, who were absolutely great and took us around the park and listened to what we had to say – well we all listened to each other and they were really nice.​

We all spoke about what needs to be changed to make the park more accessible for wheelchair users, the blind, old people, and people with buggy’s etc. We spoke about how dangerous the bus stop is and the road leading down to the bottom car park –

“It is all so painful with all the pot holes and uneven surfaces”.

They have done a great job with a path going around the park at the top. I do understand that a lot of places cannot be changed due to it being historical but that does not mean an alternative route can’t be made close by that is accessible.

“Don’t get me wrong this park is an amazing park and they have worked really hard on it, which is really appreciated but there are still so many places we cannot access especially being in a wheelchair and having a toddler in a pram too – it is not easy”.

For example, we went around the outside of the museum and on the way back down my wheelchair with the pram started to skid on its side due to the steep incline and sand that has been put on top for the filming of Gentlemen Jack. We were told that the sand will be removed. Then straight after that, the train came a long and I had nowhere to go to give way on the road so I had to take my baby on an uneven grass with a steep incline which was really scary because we could have toppled over down the banking! So really if you have a train going around the park an accessible path can be put down on the side so the pedestrians can walk or roll around the park safely.

There is a lack of signs all around the park which is a big problem and very confusing for tourists to find their way around, especially those who have never been to this park before.

It would also be great if the toilets had a changing place inside it for the people who need it, which is very important so they can also relax in the park and enjoy the beauty it has to offer.

A lot more was discussed so hopefully fingers crossed they will actually act on what we said. Over all it was a great day out and the weather was really nice too. It was great meeting everyone in our group again after a long time because of this Covid 19 lock down.

We then all went to the café, I had a mocha which was really nice after such a long time and my baby had an ice cream, which he only had a few licks of and didn’t want it anymore which was shocking because he loves ice-cream, so yes, the mummy had to eat it which I didn’t mind it was too nice to waste ha ha!

We all had a lovely chat with the group which was also really nice. Then it was time to go back home with Community Transport Calderdale, which was a great drive back and we chatted all the way back.