Case Study

Access for All at the Forest of Bowland


In the Forest of Bowland, we want to enable access to the countryside for everyone; access for people with wheelchairs, pushchairs, limited mobility, or simply for those whose legs aren't as young as they used to be.

For the last 20 years we have been developing infrastructure and networks to make the inaccessible accessible, and to break down the barriers that prevent people living with disabilities from enjoying the great outdoors - either independently or with their friends and family.

Courtesy of the Forest of Bowland National Landscape

What was done

For several years the Forest of Bowland team has developed several Access for All trails that have been Tramper, wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

This has included adapting paths and access infrastructure, such as replacing stiles with gates and altering surfaces. These self-guided trails are waymarked and are accessible on our website via a free walking app.

We have two hub locations where Trampers can be hired - at Gisburn Forest and Sabden - one managed by a business and one by volunteers; both raising funds for the charity Champion Bowland.

More recently, two further all-terrain vehicles, TerrainHoppers, have been purchased through applications to the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme. These are based at 2 farms, Wood End and New Laund, both of which provide educational access opportunities for schools and groups.

Recently we have partnered with Access the Dales to highlight these different hub opportunities and to promote both the self-guided and guided trails we now have across Bowland.

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Owned by Forest of Bowland National Landscape

“We’ve been working to improve access to the countryside for people with mobility impairments for around 20 years and events like the ATW demo day demonstrate the expanding range of mobility solutions for different types of terrain and mobility needs. It’s no longer a case of ‘one size fits all’ and events like this allow members of the public and access officers to find out more about the options available and find a mobility solution that fits their individual needs and the terrain they want to explore.”

Forest of Bowland Access Officer


Work continues in 2024 as we look at introducing a much-needed Changing Places facility in the area, as well as working with more farms to widen the opportunities - including introducing a wider variety of all-terrain wheelchairs.

Through our Festival Bowland events programme, over the last ten years, we have delivered around 35 guided Tramper days for the public, working with Wyre Countryside service.

Recently we have delivered a public event to showcase the variety of all-terrain wheelchairs, to provide opportunities for people to experience all that is on offer, and to find out about the opportunities available across Bowland.

Organised in association with Access the Dales, the event attracted representatives from several All Terrain Wheelchair manufacturers, plus members of the public and delegates from a number of public and voluntary sector organisations who put the vehicles through their paces on the rugged trails running through Gisburn Forest, which is managed by Forestry England.

Courtesy of the Forest of Bowland National Landscape

"It’s about getting as many people outdoors as possible and events like this provide a wonderful opportunity for people with differing needs to find a vehicle that will meet their specific needs whatever the terrain they want to tackle.”

Access the Dales partner

Key learnings

Partnership working has been key to delivering this project.

Bringing together the expertise of team members, along with PRoW team, farmers, businesses and other organisations such as Access the Dales.

It is a learning experience for everyone and by working collaboratively we can achieve the aim of breaking barriers to accessing the countryside and making a real difference to people's lives.

FiPL funding and Defra access funding have been key to us being able to provide funding for the additional ATW vehicles which are now available for people to use, as well as for the upgrades to routes we have been able to make.

"I can’t stress enough how much it’s meant to me to have the opportunity to try out the range of equipment available building my confidence in using them allowing me to reimagine a future where I could join my family and to widen my world means a great deal to me".

Member of the public.