Trans Pennine Trail access controls
Some sections of the TPT have problems with illegal use by motor vehicle (especially motorbikes) so the local authorities who have created the Trail have installed controls at access points along the route.
These are designed to prevent and deter illegal use of the Trail while allowing the access for the widest range of legitimate Trail users. However, they do cause inconvenience for or even prevent some Trail users from being able to access the route. We are aware of the problems that these barriers cause for legitimate users and we are keen to remove these wherever possible, but, illegal use by motorbikes is a big problem on parts of the Trail. Consequently, the local authorities that have developed and maintain the Trail do not propose removing these access controls in the foreseeable future.
There are wide variety of access controls in place across the TPT and you will find some easier than others to get through. While these access controls are marked on the TPT maps, it is not possible to give details of the type of barrier at each location on the maps. We are currently working on compiling a simple list of the type and location of each access control on the route. We are also continuing to work with our local partners to make the TPT as physically accessible as possible by improving or removing access controls wherever possible and providing good path surfaces. However, our long term aim is to be able to access audit the whole of the TPT route and make this information available to Trail users. Below we have provided details of the main types of access controls on the route.
Despite these controls there are many sections across the TPT that are regularly used by people in wheelchair and mobility scooter. Should you have a problem with particular access control on the Trail please contact either the relevant local authority responsible for the section of the Trail or the Trail Office, and we will see what can be done to improve accessibility.
Common Access Controls on the TPT
A-Frames – these are one of the most common controls on the Trail, designed to restrict motorbike as they can’t get their handlebars through.
There is no length restriction on these and the design is wide enough for most pushchairs, manual wheelchairs, many mobility scooter, bikes with panniers and bike trailers. Cyclists may need to wiggle their handlebars to get through and they are difficult for tandems with a fixed second set of handlebars. A problem with these is that occasionally they get bent so narrow the gap available.
K-Frames – these are a more modern version of the A-Frame, but allowing more mobility scooters to pass through.
Again there is no length restriction on these and the design is wide enough for most pushchairs, manual wheelchairs, more mobility scooter than the can pass through an A frame, bikes with panniers and bike trailers. Cyclists may need to wiggle their handlebars to get through and they are difficult for tandems with a fixed second set of handlebars. A problem with these is that occasionally they get bent so narrow the gap available.
Stevenson Hoop Barriers – These are an older design with a hoop that allows manual wheelchairs, pushchairs bikes and some mobility scooters to pass under the hoop, usually combined with a low cycle chicane that allow cyclists through. These do not allow large mobility scooters to pass through, and can be difficult for many wheelchair users as they need to duck down to pass under. There are only a few of these remaining as many have now been replaced by A-frames or K-frames.
Chicanes – There are many different chicanes on the route which vary in size and the corresponding difficulty for users to pass through. Many are wide chicanes that allow all users through but will require you to slow down. However, there are also other narrower chicanes that will be a problem for some users.
Kissing Gates – There are kissing gates of varying types and sizes on the TPT. Some are specifically designed for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, such as Centrewire Kissing gates and others require a RADAR key to open the gates fully to allow wheelchairs users through. Other gates are of a smaller design that will be more difficult. These may also be difficult for cyclist (particularly tandems) and you may need to lift bicycles over them.
Gates – there are many standard gates on the Trail that present little problem for user.
Horse Stiles – on the horse riding route these are usually provided alongside other access controls, with two or sometimes three sleepers which horses can easily step over. The sleepers are spaced so that motorbikes have to lift both wheels at the same time.
You will also occasionally see a ‘step over gate’ – a variation of the horse stile that is simply a field gate with a low section for horses to step over.
Stiles – on the walkers’ only sections of the route there will be some traditional stiles where the route crosses field boundaries.
As well as access controls there are a few other features that will be a problem for people with mobility difficulties.
Steps – there are a couple flights of steps (marked on TPT maps) most have wheeling ramps for cyclists.
Steep ramps – where possible gradients have been created to meet accessible guidelines, but on occasions there are steeper slopes where physical constraints prevent an easier gradient and which may be an issue for some Trail users.
Pat and Bryan’s story has helped our Partners right across the Trans Pennine Trail network to see how changes can make the route more accessible. Take a look at what they've helped to accomplish.