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Peak District National Park scoops accessibility award for Miles without Stiles

A Peak District National Park initiative to help people with limited mobility to enjoy the countryside has been honoured by Accessible Derbyshire.

Miles without Stiles – which creates and promotes easy to use routes - was named Large Project of the Year in the Accessible Derbyshire Awards, held at Chatsworth.

The project – partly funded by sponsorship from Yorkshire Water – highlights accessible routes which can be enjoyed by everyone, including those with limited mobility, wheelchair users, families with children in pushchairs, visually impaired people and disabled rambler groups.

Miles without Stiles routes are well surfaced and free from stiles, steps, narrow gates and steep gradients which are barriers for people with mobility issues.

Peak District National Park access officer Sue Smith says: “We’re delighted to receive this award, in recognition of the work that has gone - and is still going into - Miles without Stiles. Our routes showcase the best of the Peak District. We want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful landscapes and to explore with ease and confidence.

“Miles without Stiles is a collective initiative among UK National Parks and will help National Parks to be accessible for everyone to enjoy.”

Accessible Derbyshire’s Gillian Scotford said: “For people of all ages, one of the greatest things in life is the simple act of going out on a walk and breathing fresh air. It boosts wellbeing and health. Miles without Stiles makes the Peak District even more accessible, allowing more people to get out and about into our beautiful National Park.

“Sue Smith and the Peak District National Park team, with support from Yorkshire Water, have worked really hard, selecting and publicising routes and making accessibility  improvements. And this is just the beginning.”

Yorkshire Water catchment and recreation manager, Geoff Lomas, added: “We are pleased to be involved with the Miles without Stiles initiative and to receive this recognition for the work we have achieved together. Making our beautiful countryside as accessible as possible for everyone to enjoy is extremely important to us and we will continue to work in partnership and invest in this important area of countryside access.”

A number of Miles without Stiles routes can already be seen on the Peak District National Park website - with more to come as Peak District National Park staff work with Accessible Derbyshire, the Local Access Forum, disabled groups, landowners and Highway Authorities to explore ways to improve access.

This is the second award the Peak District National Park has received from Accessible Derbyshire. In 2016 we were named Organisation of the Year in recognition of our work to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the National Park.

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