Our Inclusion and Diversity expert, Debbie North, uses a range of wheelchairs to access the countryside and wants to inspire other wheelchair users to do the same through The Outdoor Guide’s wheel-friendly walks. These walks are carefully selected and range from those suitable for families using pushchairs, wheelchairs or bicycles through to more rugged off-road adventures.

TOG Says …

“We’re so proud and honoured to have Debbie, the face of AccessTOG trailblazing the way by creating routes for wheelchair users. It is something which is incredibly important to us, and together we aim to inspire thousands of other people who are in situations such as Debbie’s to use this resource to get outdoors and explore. AccessTOG aims to make the inaccessible, accessible for everyone.”

Access TOG’s Debbie North gives her solutions to three tricky problems!

Join The Outdoor Guide and AccessTOG in wishing Happy 125th Birthday to The National Trust

AccessTOG’s Debbie North speaks about her experience of wheelchair accessibility in the Lake district …

Well that’s been one busy, busy year for AccessTOG! And I have loved it! Here’s a roundup of 2019 for AccessTOG …

An Evening of Glitz and Glamour with AccessTOG at the White Rose Awards 2019 …

Join Access TOG’s Debbie North as she is kitted out for her Scottish Highland Adventure …

Join Access TOG’s Debbie North for a Nordic Walking experience on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset …

Join Access TOG’s Debbie North on her camping trip to Corfe Castle in Dorset …

AccessTOG’s Debbie North leads a ramble to celebrate GetOutside Day around Rutland Water …

AccessTOG’s Debbie North leads a ramble for Children in Need around Windsor …

Join AccessTOG for an Accessible Walk in Durlston Country Park on Sunday 15th September, from 13:30 to 15:30 …

Join me Debbie North as I walk and talk with Chris Butterfield – Alfred Wainwright Archivist …

Help me, Debbie North, keep Ingleborough National nature Reserve a secret!

Join me, Debbie North for an walk through Smardale Nature Reserve, Cumbria

Join me, Debbie North for an look around the villages of Clapham and Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dale

Join me, Debbie North, as I explore the town of Settle in the Yorkshire Dales.

Much thought and planning has been given to making the city of Koblenz Barrier free. Special attention has been paid to path …

Join me, Debbie North, for a barrier free whistle stop tour Eifel National Park, Germany …

Find out more about ‘Walkers are Welcome’ and why we are proud to have the organisation as a TOG partner …

Suzanne combines her love of wildlife and walking to pursue a career as a landscape and wildlife photographer …

Join me, Debbie North, for a whistle stop barrier free tour of the capital city of the Hessen, Germany: Wiesbaden.

One of the largest Cistercian houses in England and, together with Studley Royal Park, has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status …

AccessTOG Ambassador Debbie North heads up the bridlepath to celebrate with Countryfile’s

The staff and children of Highbury are dedicated to achieving their Eco School Green Flag status and as part of this they are creating a garden within their school …

The Yorkshire Dales National Park has some of the darkest skies in the UK and that is why we were very excited to be asked to be part of the Dark Skies Festival …

Blencathra had always been one of those mountains we’d driven past on the A66 and looked at longingly, but had just never quite got round to climbing it.

Here are a few reasons why walking through woodlands and forests is good for you. I’ve even  throw in some facts that you may not have known and of course, there’s a few walks amongst the trees that I can recommend.

2018 has been an extraordinary year. I have been to some beautiful places and met some remarkable people. There has been so many ‘best bits’ that it has been really hard just to pick a few.

For me, a walk  along a river is medicine.  Spending time on a river bank makes me feel more relaxed  and refreshed. As well as the calming sounds of a babbling brook, a waterfall has a natural soothing melody …

We are aware that the range of  people’s disabilities are vast and there is no ‘one size fits all’ when in comes to meeting everyone needs …

If you’re looking for accessible accommodation on your next Yorkshire Dales walking trip …

Cameron has done 50 walks to raise money for the Brittle Bone Society. Read his adventure here …

If you’ve caught our adventures on Barrow in the Lake District on More 4’s The Yorkshire Dales & The Lakes then you may just have come to one of the following the conclusions ..

29 places where you can hire a wheelchair to get you around …

30 of Debbie’s favourite wheelchair accessible places to visit …

Since my spinal issues became a factor in 2007, I’ve appreciated the great outdoors far more. And with it, I’ve also savoured some brilliant moments …

As a rule of thumb we’d normally plan our wheelchair walks using bridleways, as by their nature there should not be any inaccessible gates and the paths are generally wide enough for an all-terrain wheelchair …

Read about Debbie North, AccessTOG Ambassador and her story from being able bodied to a wheel chair user and how she vows to help make the inaccessible accessible.

Here is a blog post from Outdoor Ambassador, Debbie North and her reasons she using a TGA Whill, personal electronic vehicle …

A review of the Whill all terrain wheelchair during a trip with Access The Outdoor Guide to produce film material for German Tourism to promote Barrier Free Germany …

We were asked to visit several different parts of Germany to look at the barrier free walking routes for wheelchair users …

The Dales Countryside Museum is housed in the old railway station situated in the Yorkshire Dales town of Hawes. It tells the story of the Yorkshire Dales …

Access TOG Ambassador Debbie North talks about Para Canoe Champion Jeanette Chippington. Jeanette is an outstanding athlete having competed as a swimmer …

Today’s adventure took me to the Muker Agricultural Show in the Swaledale, a beautifully part of the Yorkshire Dales

Rutland Water is a large, horseshoe-shaped reservoir set within three thousand acres …

Malham Tarn – a wheelchair accessible trek in the stunning limestone countryside thanks to the National Trust …

Our AccessTOG Mobility Guru stays at the Cock O’Barton in Cheshire to test out the mobility …

The Sandstone Trail is not wheelchair accessible, however don’t let this deter you from exploring …

Today was a first time that I have ever experienced using an all-terrain manual wheelchair …

Latest – Wheelchair Friendly Walks

Recommended Partners

Cotter Force Miles Without Stiles in the Yorkshire Dales

Accessible Park House Hotel in Norfolk 

Accessible Walk at RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk

A Wheel Friendly Walk at Rutland Water.

Debbie visits North Yorkshire and tells us about her stay in the Craven Arms, Giggleswick.

Accessible Walk at Thornham and Old Hunstanton

An Accessible walk with AccessTOG at Sutton Bank, North York Moors

Debbie takes us for an accessible walk around Malham Tarn.

Debbie our AccessTOG Mobility Guru and the Mountain Trike: Review

A Walk with AccessTOG in Ravenscar, North York Moors

When I founded accessthedales in 2011, it was simply a blog. Something for me to focus on during my long periods of illness.

In my previous ‘life’, before I became a wheelchair user, I was a keen hill walker and spent much of my time in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and completing long distance walks like the Coast to Coast, The Dales Way and Cumbria Way.

From a hospital bed I began researching all-terrain wheelchairs (ATW) as I was keen to get back out into the hills, despite having to now use a wheelchair.

At the same I raised the funds to get a Tramper for the National Trust, which is now housed at the Malham Tarn Estate and is available for hire for a small charge.

Since then, as a result of major spinal surgery, I have got stronger and am now fulfilling my passion of hill walking by using an ATW. My real passion is finding routes that are longer, higher and more challenging. A real up close and personal experience, if you like, with hills, mountains and weather.

From writing my first ever blog I can honestly say that accessthedales has grown beyond anything I ever expected.

Andy, my husband and my walking partner, has supported me all the way.

In 2015 we created our own coast to coast route, travelling from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. We followed bridleways and paths that were accessible to us.

Our first book was published in August 2016. ‘In The Spirit Of Wainwright’ (Sigma Press) is a guidebook of our journey. It hopefully encourages others to make their own adventures.

As a keynote speaker, Debbie has drawn on her experiences as a lover of the great outdoors who has seen it all snatched away by chronic spinal degeneration through to her becoming a respected voice and author in the world of accessibility.

Debbie now brings her knowledge and experiences from her ATW to the world as an inspiring motivational speaker. Her story, In The Spirit Of Wainwright, can be tailored to provide relevance and motivation for virtually every type of audience with her presentations being able to focus on a variety of topics.

Book Debbie as a keynote speaker here:


In April 2016 we created a new 6 day, 81mile long distance route through the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria. We called it “The Coast to Coast To Coast’ – from the shores of Semerwater to the shores of Ullswater, finishing on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. It was a wonderful experience. The route will be published in our second book – funnily enough called ‘The Coast To Coast To Coast’ in 2017 (Sigma Press).

I am so pleased to be working alongside Julia, and the TOG team to create and develop all types of wheelchair accessible routes – from an easy stroll along the canal side to the more challenging routes up mountains and down dales. We will be finding hotels that are wheelchair accessible and looking for places to eat that are also wheelchair friendly.

access-dales-blog-pic-500Wainwright’s Coast To Coast
I first walked Wainwright’s Coast To Coast in 1999 with my partner, Andy. We walked it again in 2003 because our camera was broken first time round and Andy had forgotten to propose to me. At the end of our second crossing, Andy proposed to me as we stood in the sea. For many reasons, I have a very special love of the Coast To Coast.

In 2007, we moved to live on a farm in Lincolnshire. That’s when the problems began. It’s not Lincolnshire’s fault. Or the farm’s. No, the fault can be solely laid at the doorstep of my spine… if spine’s have doorsteps, that is.

Early in 2008, I started having problems with my back. It turned out I had spinal degeneration. To say my life – our lives – changed in a heartbeat would be an understatement. In the following period, I lost my job due to ill-health, my hillwalking hobby and, it seemed, my life. We moved from the farm. We had to. We bought a bungalow in the Lincolnshire Wolds as we prepared for my health to simply go downhill from here. I was on enough daily medication to bring down an elephant and then some.

Life was now a constant battle against the twenty-four seven pain inflicted by bone spurs compressing the nerves in my spine. Chronic. Agonising. Debilitating.

In 2011, I founded accessthedales. I figured if I yearned to be out in the countryside, there must be other people in my situation.

Our first efforts at getting out into the ‘wilds’ was no more than a simple jaunt along the footpath to Gordale Scar in the Yorkshire Dales. After all, it was only a footpath of a couple of hundred metres or so. And I was in my beast of an electric wheelchair. It was no big deal. Except, it was a big deal – on two counts. It was a big deal in the sense that the wheelchair, robust though it is, couldn’t deal with a public right of way in the Yorkshire Dales, which is in pretty good nick. The other sense… I was out there. Yes, we had to kick the smallest of stones out of the way (those brushes they use in curling would have been mighty useful here) to make headway, but I got there in the end… Gordale Scar. Was this as far as I would ever get? Not a chance!

In 2013, by sheer fluke, Andy was watching the local news and saw a feature about a company based just a fifteen minute drive away from us. They’d just won an innovation award for their robust all-terrain wheelchair – TerrainHopper.

Well, then life got complicated by a three month stay in hospital (with no weight-bearing), an 8 hour operation to put rods in my spine, a high speed car crash (not our fault!!!) and a serious bout of pneumonia. And it was when I was lying ill with pneumonia that I sent a card to Andy proclaiming that, in April 2015, we would do the Coast To Coast. After he came round and I slapped him a few times, he agreed it was a brilliant idea. Our erstwhile pal, Jonathan Smith of Where2Walk (who had been there on our very first accessthedales outing to Gordale Scar) announced I was completely “crackers” and promptly agreed to help.

On April 12th 2015, we left a rain-lashed St Bees and arrived in Robin Hood’s Bay on April 25th. I travelled in a TerrainHopper.

Access The Outdoor Guide and Debbie North – making the inaccessible accessible.

Access The Outdoor Guide is committed to creating a countryside for all through the development of wheel-friendly treks for people with poor or no mobility in and around places such as the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District.

Access The Outdoor Guide) is proud to work alongside The Outdoor Guide with Julia Bradbury, putting together complete wheelchair-friendly packages for wonderful days out in the hills, valleys and beaches, including the perfect pit stops, the perfect accommodation and the perfect cuppa.

This means you’ll often come across Debs and Andy on a hillside or somewhere researching new routes that are accessible for people with disabilities.

If they’re not outdoors, chances are they’ll be in a cafe researching hot chocolate. With marshmallows. And squirty cream.

In April 2015, I trekked coast to coast with Andy, my husband, in a TerrainHopper, a 4×4 all-terrain wheelchair (ATW).

Here’s our top tips for such an adventure:

  • ATWs are all different.  Research.  Match your ATW to your goals/needs.
  • Know your ATW is capable of dealing with distances, difficult terrain and bear traps in the North York Moors.
  • Plan routes and emergency routes should the weather turn.
  • You have many wilderness miles to explore.  Consult an expert.  Ours is Jonathan Smith at www.where2walk.co.uk
  • Book accommodation carefully!  Often a place offered accessible rooms but nowhere to charge the TerrainHopper.  Or they could store the TerrainHopper, but not us up as we were far too common.  People heard ‘wheelchair’ but not ‘all-terrain’.
  • Know where your accommodation is.  We fell foul of this in Shap.  Our bed for the night was four miles south.  We had a brilliant back up driver.  We were saved.
  • Clothing –  Think waterproof.  Think windproof. Think warm. I wear merino wool long johns and base wear.
  • When traversing difficult terrain, don’t be badgered into things.  If it feels unsafe, don’t try it.
  • TerrainHopper is a Class 2/3 mobility product.  It’s entitled to travel where anyone on foot can.  You may be challenged.  Know your rights.   It’s supposed to be access for all so it should be access for all.
  • Get out there -live it, love it, feel it!


Sense is a national charity supporting people with complex disabilities. At Sense, they believe everyone, no matter how complex their disabilities, deserves the right to enjoy a physically active life.

The Outdoor Guide have partnered with Sense to create two sensory walks in London – giving people the space to explore nature.



Walking is a great way to stay active and Golders Hill Park and Trent Country Park offer a wealth of sensory delights along the way. They embrace touch and smell to make up the picture of the route.

When walking, whether you are disabled through a physical or sensory impairment or just age, these walks will respond to your lifestyle, giving opportunity for an enjoyable and wholesome sensory experience.

For more information visit: www.sense.org.uk

Trent Park
Julia Bradbury

“Deb has had a huge impact to creating a countryside for all. She is a valuable member of the team and inspires us all.”

A message to AccessTOG from Julia Bradbury.