Scale the Peaks in a wheelchair

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 20 May 2009

19 May 2009

Scale the Peaks in a wheelchair

John Harris in Lathkill Dale
Scaling the Peak District in a wheelchair - surely there are too many hills and stiles? Do not believe it - stunning views and country trails are perfectly accessible to disabled people.

A new DVD is available in Peak District National Park visitor centres that will inspire disabled and non-disabled people alike. “Access Passport” is presented by former paralympian John Harris, 63, who makes a gold-medal presenter as he explores the possibilities in his wheelchair.

South Wales-based John was paralysed in a fairground accident at 18 and took part in five Paralympic Games, winning gold in the discus.

Having never visited the Peak District before making the DVD, he said it was “a fantastic experience. It gave me a sense of space and achievement that you just couldn’t get anywhere else.”

It opens up like a travel passport, with John giving his reports at each venue, including Surprise View, Curbar Edge, the Goyt Valley and Lathkill Dale.

He gives a realistic view of what most wheelchair-users could achieve, and he does so with infectious enthusiasm.

John uses an adapted cycle along quiet trails at Parsley Hay, he rolls up to a cavern in Castleton and he joins young disabled people abseiling at Millers Dale.

Here’s a flavour of his reaction: “If someone said a fortnight ago, John, you’ll be in the Peak District National Park abseiling 90ft off a bridge over a river, I’d’ve thought, you’re crazy - but it was one of the most unbelievable experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

“It gives people with a disability the opportunity to take part in activities they never would have had, and I was treated no different from anyone else. It was an unbelievable moment to see that river below. I want to do it again, even higher!”

“Access Passport” was produced by Axess Film ( , the UK’s only charitable film company) for the Peak District National Park Authority.

The “Access Passport” DVD is available at £2.99 from National Park Visitor Centres in Bakewell, Castleton, Edale and Derwent Valley, phone 01629 816558 or email

Or you can see it free online at

You’re Welcome! - free guidebook

Wheelchair-users and families with children in pushchairs will benefit from the “You’re Welcome” guidebook, which comes free with the “Access Passport” DVD.

The 48-page “You’re Welcome” guide offers a range of easy-going trails, viewpoints and things to see across the national park.

Not just aimed at disabled people, it is ideal for anybody just beginning to explore the countryside, it includes information on wheelchair/pushchair access, toilets, playgrounds, car parks and public transport.

“You’re Welcome” is free from national park visitor centres at Bakewell, Castleton, Edale and Upper Derwent (tel: 01629 816558 or email Some pages are online at:

This is an archived press release

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