Access for all at the Chesterfield Canal Festival

Issue date: 17th July 2013

The Chesterfield Canal styles itself as "A Waterway for All", so Chesterfield Canal Trust made this year’s Festival as wheelchair friendly as possible. The result was a good turnout of people whose access to waterways facilities can often be limited.

The whole site at Staveley Town Basin is accessible. Two of Chesterfield Canal Trust’s tripboats have lifts, which were in frequent use; the Trust borrowed some wheelchairs to lend out; Derbyshire Countryside Service had a mobility scooter for hire and a free connecting bus service to Barrow Hill Roundhouse included a minibus with a tail lift.

The Wheelyboat Trust brought their Mark lll wheelchair accessible boat and gave free trips along the canal. This was hugely popular because of the ease with which wheelchairs could roll straight on and off.

Additionally, the Trust ran all three of its tripboats, two of which were brought by road from the eastern end of the canal – Staveley Town Basin is on the isolated western stretch; the Trust is campaigning for the remaining eight-mile gap to be closed. There was a trip every fifteen minutes over the two days and all were full.