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

We have commissioned the first research into the experience of local disabled people and unpaid carers in the cities’ parks.

The report has revealed stark findings.

Read the report

Charlee Bennett, CEO of Your Park Bristol & Bath, said: “We know that being out in parks and green spaces is transformational for our wellbeing, but sadly, going to the park can be particularly challenging for the one in three people in Bristol and Bath who are disabled or unpaid carers.

“We wanted to understand better the barriers for disabled people and unpaid carers, both adults and children. It’s sad to say that the results weren’t unexpected, but when you see extent of the hurdles that must be overcome just to go to the park, it is shocking. Our research participants told us how they have to meticulously plan visits, anticipating every potential problem. Parent carers carrying tents so they can change their child in private, searching for play areas that have suitable equipment, or wheelchair users mapping the complex journey to the park entrance.

“Sadly, many of these visits ended badly – we heard about wheelchair users getting stuck in gates, sand getting into important medical equipment, disabled people being shamed out of play areas and closed toilets cutting visits short.

“Even where improvements have been made, the feeling was it’s often the bare minimum and access requirements are seen as a check box exercise. We clearly heard that for things to change, parks need to be looked at as a whole. There’s no point installing an accessible toilet if there is no disabled parking, or the pathways aren’t suitable.

“This is the first piece of research carried out in Bristol and Bath into park access for these interconnected groups and we are determined to act on what is uncovered. Disabled people and carers need to be able to spend time in parks as nature rich, free to use, community assets that are so good for our health. We want to galvanise collective action and deliver real change that will make a significant impact on their experiences.”

Parks 4 All

Parks 4 All commits to ensuring every disabled person and carer in Bristol and Bath enjoys access to 1) safe, 2) inclusive, 3) welcoming and 4) enjoyable parks, and in-turn their free, transformative health and wellbeing benefits.

We're calling on local organisations, individuals and community groups to work in partnership on a series of actions over the next three years.

Find out more

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.