Blakeney on the North Norfolk coast is home to one of Britain’s more unusual natural wildlife reserves – the salt marsh. These vast muddy flat expanses are regularly flooded by the sea- and are home to a large variety of sea birds, ducks and migratory geese and perfect places for many unusual plants and flowers.
To really appreciate these large areas caught between the land and see you need to be able walk for miles between Norfolk coast towns and villages. For some years my wife, Margaret and I have been able to do precisely that -walking four or five miles often in a refreshing stiff breeze and ending up in a local hostelry eating fresh crab sandwiches before returning back to Blakeney.
Since she had a stroke this is no longer possible and I thought the marshes would be largely out of bounds.
However having just returned from Blakeney I discovered that Natural England who are responsible for England’s network of long distance footpaths and the local North Norfolk Area of Outstanding Beauty have started making the place far better accessible for the disabled.
They have started to convert part of the Norfolk coast path going from Blakeney to Cley and from Blakeney to Morston Quay to make it wheelchair and mobility scooter accessible – allowing disabled people to get out into the marshes which previously only able bodied people could make the trip.
Unfortunately the new surface does not go all the way to Cley- and the beginning of the Morston Quay route has been blocked off by builders renovating local cottages necessitating a diversion- hence only two cheers- but it is a good start.
There are also two good links on the web that disabled people will find helpful. The Norfolk Coast Partnership has an activity map here.
And there is a partially complete guide to wheelchair access to the path here on the national trail website.
Given the present dire situation for disabled people with many losing benefits as a result of the government’s austerity programme – this is one good piece of welcome news for any disabled person contemplating a staycation this summer -once the temperatures have dropped from their present high level.