Access for All funding

Making the High Weald a more welcoming and accessible place for all to enjoy

The High Weald National Landscape Partnership has received more than £400,000 from Defra’s Access for All programme. This funding is for capital works that make our protected landscapes more accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and from all backgrounds.

The money has enabled us to support some fantastic projects and we still have more funding to allocate.

If you have a capital project which you think would improve access to the High Weald and which needs financial support, please get in touch.

Our projects

Ashdown Changing Places toilet – improving facilities for people with disabilities and their carers

We awarded more than £90,000 towards the installation of a much-needed Changing Places toilet at the Ashdown Forest visitor centre in Wych Cross.

Changing Places are larger accessible toilets, designed for people with severe disabilities who cannot use standard facilities. These new state-of-the-art facilities come with additional equipment such as hoists, adult sized changing benches and space for carers.

This project means more people can now access and enjoy the Forest, which is one of the High Weald’s most popular public green spaces.

Gates for Stiles project – removing barriers to access in a nationally-important landscape

We worked with East Sussex and Kent County Councils to offer landowners free metal pedestrian gates to replace existing stiles. 46 gates have been installed so far with another 54 allocated and awaiting installation. The new gates have made walking in the countryside easier for people who find stiles difficult to use, such as those with limited mobility and parents and carers with children in carriers or buggies.

Thanks to the Access for All funding, even more people can experience and enjoy the beautiful, farmed landscape of the High Weald.

a gate leading into a field with hedges on each side

Buchan Country Park – improving pathways at a country park on the outskirts of Crawley

Buchan Country Park is situated on the edge of Crawley within the High Weald National Landscape. It is owned and managed by West Sussex County Council. The site covers 69 hectares and has won a Green Flag Award every year since 2010.

The extensive network of good, wide surfaced paths is a particular attraction of the park enabling easy access in all weather conditions, and much of the park allows good access for pushchairs and wheelchairs. However, visitor numbers have increased significantly in recent years, due in part to new housing development around the north of Crawley.

This increased pressure on the path network meant that the routes through the park were becoming increasingly inaccessible – particularly for those with push chairs, buggies or mobility scooters.

We awarded West Sussex Country Council more than £14,000 from the Access for All fund to upgrade the surface of 160 metres of the ‘red route’ through the park, which also connects up to the wider High Weald National Landscape via a public footpath.

About Access for All

Protected landscapes like the High Weald National Landscape make an important contribution to people’s enjoyment of the countryside, and their health and wellbeing.

In 2019, the Landscapes Review, led by Julian Glover, called on the government to ensure our national landscapes could be enjoyed by wider range of people.

In response, Defra announced the Access for All programme in January 2023.

Access for All is a £14.5 million fund aimed at making protected landscapes more accessible for people of all ages, abilities and needs. This could include new gates; walking routes; inclusive cycles, E-trikes, bikes or wheelchairs; volunteer equipment and accessible visitor facilities.