Saltwell Park, Gateshead

My visit to Saltwell Park, Gateshead.

Blue Badge Parking: Yes
Concessions/Carer Prices: Free admission (all)
Wheelchair/Mobility Scooter hire: No
Accessible Toilets: Yes

I visited Saltwell Park on 12th April with family. It’s a place I loved to go when I was growing up due to the fantastic play parks and big open spaces.

While there is no specific car park for this attraction, there are roadside disabled parking spaces by the gates.

All of the park’s paths are smooth tarmac, making it easy terrain to wheel or walk on. However, the park does contain many steep ascents and descents, which could pose a problem to wheelchair users who do not have power chairs/power attachments. I personally was not strong enough to self propel on some of these, meaning someone had to drop me off at the top of the park and collect me at the bottom. I also required assistance on some of the hills in between.

The park is really well maintained, and has lots of quiet areas to sit in which would be perfect for those who struggle with sensory issues.

There is also a cafe in “Saltwell Towers” which is wheelchair accessible and contains accessible toilets.

I’d recommend visiting Saltwell Park, as the beautiful landscapes and gardens make the hills worth it!

Thank you for reading.

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Hauxley Nature Reserve, Northumberland

My visit to Hauxley Nature Reserve near Low Hauxley, Northumberland.

Blue Badge Parking: Yes
Concessions/Carer Prices: Free admission (all), donation optional
Wheelchair/Mobility Scooter hire: No
Accessible Toilets: Yes

I visited Hauxley Nature Reserve for the first time on 10th April with a friend.

On arrival, we found some accessible parking spaces nearer the entrance in the car park. It is then just a short and smooth wheel into the entrance area, where there is a small office. A very welcoming staff member greeted us and explained which paths were accessible and where the hides were. They also showed us a whiteboard where visitors can add which wildlife they have spotted in the past few days at the site.

The newly built centre and cafe are completely accessible, with an accessible toilet located next to the cafe. There are large glass viewing points inside the centre, all of which are easily approached in a wheelchair and the view is pretty impressive.

I was really surprised to find that the footpath really was accessible (often places claim to be wheelchair-friendly but then you come across huge lumps of gravel). Whilst there are a couple of slopes, it is mostly really flat and I was able to self propel for the vast majority of our wander round. If you have an attachment such as a FreeWheel, you may choose to use this so you can access some of the more grassy tracks.

Most of the hides are also accessible, though I needed some assistance with opening the door. Once inside the accessible hides there are windows at appropriate height for wheelchair users, and no bench at these lower windows so you can sit comfortably and watch the birds (picture below).

This is a place I’d really recommend if you would like a peaceful countryside escape.

Thanks for reading!