Accessibility

Accessibility

This page outlines a number of access considerations and how these relate to the iWalk Cornwall app and the walks within it.

Physical fitness

The walks are all graded by steepness and length ranging from 2 miles (an hour-or-so's stroll) up to 10 with the majority in the 4-6 mile (half-a-day) range. In the app, the steepness is colour-coded for quick reference and there is a shorter/easier section in the walks shop which is a good place to start. See our health and wellbeing page for more info. The gradients section has a more detailed description of the nature of the gradients involved.

Permanent things we've spotted that might make access more challenging (e.g. particularly high stiles or large boulders) are being collected in the considerations section but please note this section should not be treated as comprehensive: is being compiled incrementally over a number of years and is provided in the spirit that some information is better than no information at all. In particular, no inferences should be made from the absence of something being mentioned on a particular walk. We're gradually adding more to this over time both based on our own walk checking and from community feedback. Any feedback about poor repair of footpaths should be directed to Cornwall Council so they can fix it.

Auditory impairment

The app signifies when there is a direction to follow using a system notification so setting the phone to vibrate rather than emit an audio alert should work nicely provided it’s kept in a pocket where you can feel the vibrations when not holding it. Nearly all smart watches support system notifications and some of these have excellent vibration feedback.

Colour-blindness

Within the app, the map screen makes the most use of colour (directions are just black-and-white). We’ve tested the map using simulations of some of the most common chromatic conditions and the elements all appear discernible. If you have any feedback or suggestions for improvements, please let us know.

Sight impairments

If you are a partner/friend supporting someone walking with a sight impairment there are some tips here. The considerations section of the walks may be useful for ruling some routes out with obstacles (and even the dogs section for more detail on stiles) but bear in mind this isn't exhaustive or a substitute for doing a preliminary recce of a candidate route i.e. it's more likely to be useful for identifying walks which AREN'T suitable rather than those that definitely ARE.

Access on wheels

So far, we haven’t found many of the walks to be suitable for access on wheels although we keep a look-out for any that might be suitable as we add new ones. The routes that are the most promising are listed here.

The reason that there are not many is mainly due to two factors: The footpath network in Cornwall consists of thousand-year-old paths through farmland with livestock, moors and rugged coast (the Celtic word Kernow itself more-or-less means "bleddy rocky" and the Romans deemed Cornwall too much of a terrain nightmare to settle). Because our walks are circular, the probabilities of all path segments forming a circular route being wheels-accessible multiply together into a smaller and smaller chance as you go, and getting only three-quarters of the way around a circular route is no good as it won't get you home.

For some non-circular routes designed specifically for access on wheels, see the Cornwall Rolling Ramblers. They also have advice about which of their routes suit which types of mobility vehicle. Also see Countryside Mobility who have Tramper mobility scooters available for hire.

Concentration span, memory impairment and dementia

The location-tracking, direction reminder and off-route warning functionality in the app provide an additional safety net for the short-term memory and concentration lapses which are part of being human. We also know of at least one health professional who recommends the app to empower early-stage dementia sufferers to get out for a walk by themselves. See our health and wellbeing page for more general info about mental health.

Lack of confidence with mapreading, sense of direction etc.

We’ve tried to make the navigation in the app understandable to normal people and not just geography teachers or an elite group of outdoor enthusiasts. The app works out where you are and which way you are facing to display you as a little yellow arrow on the map screen so you can see yourself moving along the route (purple line) as you walk. The summary screen gives a countdown of distance as you are walking to the next direction and there is a bleep when it’s time to read the next instruction. The directions are based on the landmarks that you can see in front of you. We try to keep the amount of jargon to a minimum and there's a jargon buster for terms we do use.

Discomfort with large animals (cows, horses etc)

Virtually everyone finds large animals intimidating (ourselves included). This is a completely normal survival instinct that helped our ancestors avoid being accidentally sat on by a mammoth. If you’re finding this a barrier to going for walks, we’ve collected a list of walks where livestock are least likely. There is also some advice in our countryside tips page on how to influence the behaviour of cattle through your own behaviour. With practice, the level of discomfort can often be reduced and confidence improved.

Walking with a dog

There is a separate page outlining the information in the walks for dog owners and some general tips.

Doing walks without a car

  • In the walks shop section of the app there's a "walks nearest me" showing the distance (as the crow flies) to each of the nearest walks.
  • To get to the start of the walk, the "get driving directions" button in the app integrates with whichever road navigation apps are installed on your phone.
    • On Android, Google Maps is installed by default which includes options for public transport, cycling and walking to reach the start of the route.
    • On iOS, Apple Maps offers walking and public transport and Google Maps is also available free from the App Store.
    • Uber integration is also available for on-demand rides and carpooling.