A new scheme helping people with disabilities and impairments to access the beauties of the Kent countryside is being launched on Kent Day -Thursday 26 May 2022.
Wild With Wheels offers funded, safe, and supported guided and interactive walks for adults and children along the Kent Heritage Coast and within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Walks can be tailored to participants' wants and needs. They may feature creative activities such as leaf rubbing and storytelling, finding out more about the wildlife encountered, and learning more about the area's history.
Different levels of walks mean there is something available for a wide range of disabilities and impairments, older people, disadvantaged groups, and schools.
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins will host a reception today to mark the Heritage Coast between Dover and Folkestone being named as the 4th best travel destination in the world. Prestigious travel guide firm Lonely Planet's accolade means the area is also the only place in the UK to feature.
Wild with Wheels will be flagged up at the reception, noting its free inclusive walks which offer new community engagement.
Katy Hill, 62, of Canterbury, used crutches since being injured in a terrorist incident in 1986. She now uses a mobility scooter and joined two pilot walks: by Upper Farthingloe Barn and at the Leas Coastal Park.
'I have been looking for something like this for a very long time. There are so many benefits - companionship, using all my senses ... it makes me feel normal. A magpie landed next to me in a flowering bush full of bees at the Coastal Park just now - I'm in paradise.'
The project is funded through Farming in Protected Landscapes with Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the UK government's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs - DEFRA.
Director Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit Nick Johannsen FLI said:
"We have seen a massive and sustained uplift in people wishing to access and enjoy our beautiful landscapes. My team, working with partners, have made huge investments in enhancing access to these beautiful places, developed new business opportunities, and have provided new approaches and new facilities to enable access for all.
"I am delighted that we are now working with Gini from Wild with Wheels to take this important work forward."
Wild With Wheels project founder Gini Mitchell said:
"We are so very grateful that our pioneering project can offer inclusive accessible nature experiences to adults and children with disabilities and impairments.
"Thank you so much for the support to bring this project to fruition."
Walks can be booked now on the website www.wildwithwheels.com
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