Our research reveals disabled people and unpaid carers significant barriers to green spaces

Your Park Bristol & Bath has carried out the first research in Bristol and Bath into the experience of disabled people and unpaid carers in the cities’ parks.

Read the full report here.

With funding from Quartet Community Foundation, we commissioned the qualitative research earlier this year, undertaking a series of in-depth interviews with a range of participants.

The research revealed stark findings

Participants experience a disproportionate number of barriers that make it significantly harder for them to access parks and green spaces than other groups. The key findings revealed some recurring issues:

  • Getting in and around parks: navigating pavements without enough drop curbs. Gates to navigate. Pathways that are slippery, uneven, muddy or narrow. Steps rather than slopes. A lack of seating.
  • Park facilities: Play equipment not designed for visually impaired, wheelchair users and not suitable for adults with learning difficulties. Lack of cafes, toilets, and accessible toilets.
  • Safety and social issues: Poor hygiene practices of dog owners. Litter. Dogs running free. Criticism from other park users.
  • Mental load: intensive and laborious planning due to a lack of information available about the facilities available, accessibility and current state of parks.

One in three people living locally has a disability of some kind or cares for someone who couldn’t manage without their support.

Parks 4 All

We want to ensure this group can access safe, inclusive, and welcoming parks. We are determined to use the findings to deliver significant improvements in our local parks and we are calling on local organisations, individuals and community groups to work in partnership with us on a series of actions over the next three years:

  1. To create the first community-led park access assessments. These will look at the accessibility of parks as a whole and create an action plan that can be taken forward by the community. A toolkit will be designed that can be used for any green space in the UK.
  2. To run a programme of activities designed in partnership with disabled people and unpaid carers – such as sensory tours, supported play sessions, accessible nature volunteering and accessible sports.
  3. To support Bristol and Bath’s 120 parks groups to help them improve their parks and make activities more inclusive.

Find out more about Parks4All now.

Tell us

Help us continue to build our understanding of the issues. If you are a disabled person or carer, we want to hear about your experiences using Bristol and Bath's parks.

Take the survey


You can help us improve park accessibility by supporting our work. Donate today to help us open parks for disabled people and unpaid carers.