Breath of fresh air for wheelchair users

A new booklet was launched last week which includes countryside routes for wheelchair users.

Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) new ‘Easy Access to the Countryside’ publication contains 31 short and easy options on paths of mainly a mile or less, which are designed to be easily accessible.

Photographs and map symbols show the facilities available and what wildlife might been seen at the different sites which include variously, river, loch, coast, woodland and parkland habitats.

SBC planning and environment spokesman, Councillor Ron Smith, said: “There is something in the booklet for everyone, not just for people with limited mobility, but also walks that can be enjoyed by families with children of all ages.”

NHS Borders and SBC’s public health director Dr Eric Baijal said: “I am delighted to support the launch of the booklet. Walking is a fantastic way to add physical activity into your lifestyle and brings many health benefits, as well as the wellbeing factor of being out in the Borders’ countryside and fresh air.”

Many of the sites included were checked for suitability by people from the Focus Ability Centre, Borders Disability Forum and the Katharine Elliot Centre.

The project has been run by SBC’s ranger service, supported by NHS Borders and Paths for All. The two bodies also support the region’s Walk It and the Paths to Health projects.