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

Shibden Park Accessibility Review: A Day with Calderdale Community Transport

Aisha Mir explores Shibden Park accessibility with Calderdale Community Transport

A trip to Shibden Park with Calderdale Community Transport turned into a valuable discussion about accessibility for wheelchair users, parents with buggies, and visitors with visual impairments.

Meeting the Park Managers

Chris Hancox and Steve Mitchel from Calderdale Community Transport provided a smooth pick-up and drop-off for Aisha and her 2-year-old son. While a slight delay due to car seat safety checks meant missing a full introduction with park manager Mark Spencer, the other park managers were incredibly welcoming.

Accessibility Concerns Raised

The group discussed accessibility challenges faced by wheelchair users, blind people, elderly visitors, and those with prams. Issues included:

  • Pot holes and uneven surfaces throughout the park
  • A dangerous bus stop and uneven road leading to the lower car park
  • Lack of accessible alternative routes around historical areas
  • Difficulty navigating the park with a pram due to steep inclines and loose surfaces like sand (used for filming purposes)

Positive Aspects and Requests for Improvement

Aisha acknowledges the park’s beauty and appreciates the improvements made, particularly the accessible path around the upper park. However, she emphasizes the need for further accessibility measures, such as:

  • An accessible path alongside the park train route for safe pedestrian movement
  • Improved signage throughout the park for better navigation, especially for first-time visitors
  • Inclusion of a changing place facility within the park toilets

A Day Filled with Connection and Hope

Despite the accessibility concerns, Aisha highlights the positive aspects of the visit:

  • Enjoying the beautiful weather
  • Reconnecting with friends after the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Indulging in a delicious mocha at the cafe

The group’s valuable discussions and suggestions for improvement leave Aisha hopeful for positive changes at Shibden Park.