Let one of Devon’s traditional storytellers accompany you on an easy two mile walk through beautiful and varied landscape
In the audio-guide to the Totnes – Dartington Access for All path, recently brought up to date, Clive Fairweather guides you from Borough Park in Totnes, along the River Dart, and by the side of Queens Meadow and Bidwell Brook to the shops and cafes at the Cider Press Centre. Along the way, he weaves tales of the area’s history, landscape and folklore and points out some of the wildlife you may see – maybe an otter, an egret, or a flock of Canada geese flying in formation.
Gradients on the path are gentle and there are 10 benches where you can rest along the route. Part of National Cycle Network Route 2, this section is designed to meet the needs of the whole community, including wheelchair users and people with visual impairments. The audio-guide has something for everyone, and includes navigational help, particularly for people with visual impairments. It was recorded by the RNIB transcription service in Ivybridge.
If you live locally, you may have noticed that over the last few years the path has been much improved. The chicanes, gates and cattle grid have gone. The drainage and surface of the path are now much better. There are new information boards at the Cider Press and in Borough Park and waymarking is frequent and much clearer. New stretches of edging rail are particularly useful for visually impaired walkers. This has all been carried out by Devon County Council, who are responsible for the maintenance of the path, helped by a small group of local volunteers. New benches have generously been sponsored by local residents and organisations.
There is also a new and improved website at www.dartington.org/tdpath
This includes a map of the route, the audio-guide, information on how to get there including for people with disabilities, and places of interest close by that you might like to visit.
The path’s history
The Access for All path was built by organisations working in partnership. The idea was born in 1992 at a meeting in Staverton between South Hams Access Group, a group of people with disabilities campaigning for better access to town and country, and a member of Sustrans, the national cycling charity who were developing and are now custodian of the National Cycle Network. For most of the route, the land is owned by the Dartington Trust. Initial construction was by a volunteer working for Sustrans. The project would not have got going without considerable support from the Coast and Countryside Service at South Hams District Council. Many people have given us advice, in recent years particularly from Devon in Sight and the RNIB. A special thank-you is due to Devon’s contractors, Landscape Construction + Design, who are highly skilled and have helped every step of the way.
Would you like to play a part?
We are now looking for volunteers to be custodians of the path, carrying out a small number of straightforward maintenance tasks (such as clearing autumn leaves from the tactile paving at each bench or very minor fence repairs), keeping in contact with the various partners responsible for different aspects of the path’s upkeep, and reporting repairs that are needed and other issues that arise.
The existing team have been volunteers on the path for many years and we now need to look to the future! We hope to introduce you over time to our contact at each of the organisations who are involved. This is an important job to keep the path accessible for all and in good condition throughout the year.
If this might interest you, please contact Dick Watson firstname.lastname@example.org Perhaps the first step would be to walk the path together and discuss how you would like to be involved.