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By all reasonable means: least restrictive access guidanceĀ 

By All Reasonable Means guide contains advice and standards to help owners and managers improve access to countryside and public greenspace.

This best practice guide is designed to improve accessibility of countryside and public greenspace.

By All Reasonable Means publication

The guide was first was written by the Sensory Trust for Natural England in 2005. The guide contains advice and standards to help countryside and urban greenspace managers and owners improve accessibility of their sites, routes and facilities for visitors. Although the legislation has since changed, the principles and recommendations are still just as valid and the guide continues to be widely used to spearhead good practice.

The guide looks at accessibility in its broadest sense, including people with physical, sensory or intellectual impairments. It includes how to make routes, sites and facilities more accessible and how to improve the quality of visitor experience. It advise on how to assess the accessibility of existing sites and how to plan access improvements.

The guide is underpinned by the principle of involving disabled people in all stages of the process, from planning access improvements to evaluating their effectiveness. It also advocates the bedding in of an inclusive approach so it becomes a natural part of way an organisation does things.

How are we keeping this guidance updated?

We produced a new version for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in 2017 and for Natural England in 2020. The guides move the agenda on from the Disability Discrimination Act to the wider remit covered by the Equality Act 2010.

The guides talk about improving access in relation to all of the nine protected characteristics. This reflects the commitment of NRW and Natural England to making the environment inclusive and ensuring that staff are up to date with current legislation and best practice.

Following the publication of the Outdoor Accessibility Guidance, 2023 sees us working on a new version of By All Reasonable Means to ensure that the two guides are more closely aligned. This will be a combined England and Wales publication.

Using the principle of Least Restrictive Access

By All Reasonable Means balances access with the conservation of natural heritage. It acknowledges the reality of limited resources, and provides a realistic, practical and effective approach to encourage more action by managers and owners. The aim is for more access in more places for more people.

It is based on Least Restrictive Access, an approach that aims for the highest standards possible for a particular piece of work. In the absence of statutory standards for outdoor access improvements, the guide shows how owners and managers can identify standards and techniques appropriate to their site.

It also incorporates the Access Chain, a tool developed by the Sensory Trust to outline the different parts of the visitor experience, from decision to visit to the experience on site and the journey home, and the connections between them.

Image credit: Natural Resources Wales

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