It’s easier going for wheelchair users and buggies and people with mobility problems now thanks to the recent instalment of more accessible gates at either end of the path that runs parallel to the Buttercross Community Orchard in Dunster.
The gates were installed by the Exmoor National Park field services team at the request of the Buttercross Community Orchard Committee.
Geoff Witherford, Treasurer of the Committee, said: “After the National Park Authority replaced the gate at the Buttercross entrance to the pathway, the committee realised that there was also a need to install an all-abilities access gate at the lower end of the path, so that young families and the elderly would be able to access the orchard more easily. This has kindly been supplied and installed by Exmoor National Park Authority, and we and the community are very grateful.”
Andrew Player from The Crown Estate, which owns the land, and funded the planting of the orchard last year, agreed saying that the previous gates had restricted access to some users, particularly parents with buggies walking young children to and from Dunster First School.
Andy said: “The orchard has proved a great community success, providing a popular place for people to sit and enjoy the surroundings, and this work has improved access to the site considerably, without opening it up to quads/motorbikes.
“The feedback that we have had about the access, and the project in general has been extremely positive, and this is shown by the fact that all 57 trees have now been sponsored, as well as kind donations of benches from Minehead Lions, Dunster Parish Council and Minehead Sawmills. We are grateful to the National Park Authority for working with us on this project.”
Commenting on the work, National Park ranger Adam Vasey said: “One aspect of the National Park’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan is upgrading gates to make Public Rights of Way more accessible for everyone. We were very glad to help out and it goes to show what a big difference a small change to a gate can make!”