Access review at the Lost Gardens of Heligan
It's great to have been working again this year with the Lost Gardens of Heligan, one of the most treasured gardens in the UK and a particular favourite of ours. Heligan is based near Mevagissey in mid Cornwall, and has been welcoming visitors from all over the world since it was restored and opened to the public twenty five years ago.
In early summer 2015 you might have come across us doing an access review - we were the folks in raincoats, laden with maps and survey forms and taking an unusual interest in drainage gulleys, heights of seats, design of steps, clarity of signs and information and the like.
The aim of the access review is to make this beautiful garden welcoming and engaging for all visitors, regardless of their age and ability. While the main job of the review is to draw attention to issues that limit the experience for people with disabilities, we recognise the importance of resolving these in ways that are sensitive to the qualities that make Heligan such a treasured place for visitors and staff.
The review uses our access chain to follow the journey of a visitor, from arrival to parking and enjoyment of the different areas of the gardens. It highlights barriers that get in the way of people enjoying their visit, and recommends actions to remove them. It also identifies where opportunities could be developed to engage people more directly through the different senses - of particular value to people who don’t have sight as their primary sense, but also a great way to enrich the experience for everyone.
Welcoming the report's findings, the Heligan team are already using it to make improvements. We're struck with how this project has been so positively welcomed and we look forward to helping move things forward.
Everyone should have the chance to enjoy this beautiful garden.
Outdoor access design factsheets - free guidance
Access Chain - a tool for reviewing access from the user's perspective
Access statements - samples for you to use
Accessible information design - why it matters and who it benefits
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