Sensory Rich Trails - coverSensory-rich trails - a design framework

A downloadable guide to designing, creating and implementing Sensory Trails.

Download the guide (pdf 6.2mb)

Sensory Trust contributed the Sensory Mapping technique and the Access Chain concept to a guide for the design of sensory-rich trails in Victoria, Australia. Whilst this guide was commissioned for Australia the principles can be applied to any outdoor setting.

This framework guides the user through;

  • assessment tools
  • design considerations
  • universal and inclusive design
  • access interventions
  • infrastructure issues

This framework aims to encourage and guide the development of inclusive trails that meet the needs of people in the community.


Funded by the Department for Victorian Communities' Access for All Abilities Initiative Fund, Nillumbik Shire Council developed the ‘Sensory Trails’ Design Framework. The project uses action research techniques to identify trail features that stimulate the five main senses. These findings have been correlated with results from a literature search of disability, recreation, interpretation, heritage and arts texts.

Volunteers field-tested trail audit tools and design parameters in both rural and urban areas to ensure the needs of the targeted market segments can be met. The Framework guides both the process of developing a ‘sensory’ trail and its design. Thoughtfully applied, this framework should ensure trails are winners for locals and tourists alike, with the issues of genuine inclusive design and quality of experience for specific market segments addressed.