Toggle menu

Improved and extended disabled access track unveiled at Northam Burrows Visitor Centre

Picture L-R AONB officers Dave Edgcombe, Joe Newberry, TDC Rangers Mike Day, Adam Andrews and AONB officer Laura Carolan

Picture L-R AONB officers Dave Edgcombe, Joe Newberry, TDC Rangers Mike Day, Adam Andrews and AONB officer Laura Carolan

An improved and extended disabled access track has been installed at Northam Burrows in Westward Ho! linking the raised car parking area and the recently rebuilt visitor centre. Funded by the North Devon Coast AONB "Access for All" programme, the work has replaced the old track, which had aged and deteriorated. The positioning of the old track also meant that the access point would often be cut off in the winter when the Sandymere lake flooded.

The new track now also has a 20 metre extension providing access for pedestrians, pushchair, and wheelchair users between the car park and the updated facilities at the centre, which were remodelled in 2021. The work to the track involved the replacement of all the retaining walls and installation of a new compacted stone walking surface. The project was completed using 349 reclaimed tropical hardwood sleepers, recycled from previous coastal building structures. The recycled timbers were incorporated for their durability and untreated finish, which will prevent any chemicals form leaching into the sensitive natural surroundings.

The track now provides a much more easily navigated path for people with disabilities or limited mobility to access all of the facilities at the site including the museum, café, disabled toilets and modified changing places cubicle. Funding from the AONB's Access for All fund is designed to remove boundaries to accessing the countryside and nature and to ensure places like Northam Burrows can be enjoyed by everyone. It will also mean that the events the rangers run from the centre throughout the year will now be more accessible as well.

Sean Kearney - Head of Communities and Place at Torridge District Council said:

"The completion of the improved track is something we envisaged when we realised a more accessible design for the centre during the rebuild in 2021. Although the existing disabled parking bay is in place close to the centre the track now provides an extension to further parking and access points. The scope of the project also compliments all of the other work the AONB has initiated and funded across the county, improving coastal pathways and other facilities, to open up the countryside and make it more accessible to people with differing levels of mobility."

Jenny Carey-Wood - AONB Manager said:  

"Access for All is a fundamental priority for the AONB Partnership to appropriate sites within the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is an additional two-year investment programme from Defra in all the AONBs and National Parks to prioritise the public's access to and enjoyment of these nationally protected landscapes. Northam Burrows Country Park plays an important role in being one of the more accessible sites in this coastal AONB where people can enjoy the coast and countryside, discover nature in rockpools, streams and sand dunes, plus soak up the outstanding views."

19 May 2023

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email