Sensory Trust information sheetGradientsIt is especially important in thenatural environment to considerthe variety of gradients offered bythe routes around sites; they areoften challenging and sometimescannot be reduced easily by cuttinginto the landscape. When assessinggradients consider the experiencethat is on offer to everyone. Askyourself what additional support,such as hand rails and resting pointsalong challenging sections, couldenable a route to be used by a wideraudience? experiences if steep gradients prevent or Some people visit the outdoors for limit access, for example interpretation ata stimulating experience that involves the bottom of steep paths for those unablechallenging gradients and these can be to climb to the top.offered at sites. Most importantly, a visitor Provide information on gradients toshould be able to find out the types of visitors through off-site and on-sitegradients on routes so they can make an information. This is particularly importantinformed choice of route. Provide good in pre-visit information for people who needquality, up-to-date information, both pre- to plan their trip in more detail, such asvisit and on-site. The more information disabled people who will need to know whatavailable the better a visitor’s experience choices are available to them.will be as they are able to choose and enjoy Consider whether there is an alternativethe level of visit they require. route which could be offered to the same A site will need to provide alternative location that avoids the steeper sections of pathway, and provide information on these alternative routes through off- and on-site information. Provide information on gradients, cambers and steps, through tactile guides and on-site indicators on routes, for visitors with visual impairments. Ensure that gradient information that is provided on and off-site is non- judgmental; give enough information to allow visitors to decide for themselves whether they are able to tackle the
In brief 1 Provide gradient and camber descriptions in both on- and off- site information 2 Offer an alternative route to site highlights if possible 3 Give enough information to allow visitors to choose routes 4 Provide additional support ongradients. Avoid judgmental information, gradients such as hand rails andfor example signs that state a path is resting points“suitable for wheelchairs”. Wheelchair 5 Provide alternative experiencesusers and people with powered mobility or interpretation for visitorsvehicles make their own choices as to unable to climb the gradients.which gradients are accessible to them.Providing them with information on thetype of gradient supports their decisionmaking. It is vital to offer choice and notmake decisions for visitors. With the correctinformation (regularly checked for changes,upgrades and so on) individuals can decideon the type of experience they would likeand not be put in a difficult or disappointing The Sensory Trust promotes andsituation. supports the creation and management Information should also include the of outdoor spaces that can be used andlength of a route in both an approximate enjoyed by everyone, regardless of agetime (average walking speed) and or ability.distance in kilometres and metres. This is Visit www.sensorytrust.org.ukimportant as some people will not be able to or contact:comprehend distances but can understand alength of time. Sensory Trust, Watering Lane Nursery, Pentewan, St.Austell, Cornwall PL26 Also consider options for alternative 6BEroutes without steps, and indicate thesethrough signage and/or portable maps. Tel: +44 (0)1726 222900 Temporary ramps can provide a solution Fax: +44 (0)1726 222901where there are limited options for Email: firstname.lastname@example.org access through other means, butmake sure these are good quality, can be The Sensory Trust is a registered charityfirmly secured and are in keeping with the (No. 1020670) and a company limited by guarantee (No. 02811046)site character. Registered Office: Watering Lane People expect steps to be maintained ingood condition, with handrails for supportand non-slip surfaces. People with visual impairments expectthe edging to be in a contrasting colour sothat they are able to judge the height anddrop of the steps.