Open Country has 25 years of experience in successfully organising and leading countryside
activities for people with disabilities. On the back of this experience it is able
to offer high quality information, training and advice to organisations wanting to
provide better access to their countryside sites and events as well as individuals
and their families wishing to access the countryside independently.
Access For All
We have produced a range of information to encourage access for all to the countryside.
We offer ‘Countryside Directories for People with Disabilities’ covering the whole
of Yorkshire as well as County Durham, Lancashire and Teesside. We have also produced
four ‘Breakfree Packs’ for the Harrogate, Nidderdale and Wharfedale areas. These
packs contain cards with walk descriptions and maps created with wheelchair users
Open Country began in 1990 as a project managed by: The Countryside Commission, Harrogate
Borough Council, North Yorkshire Social Services, Harrogate Health Authority and
the Fieldfare Trust and funded by Powergen, Yorkshire Field Studies Trust and Mencap.
Since then Open Country has developed into a small charity with huge aims! On an
average week we run up to eleven countryside activities, as well as keeping on top
of the small mountain of admin work associated with all that we do. Over the years
we have been recognised by many awards including the Queen’s Award for Voluntary
Service in 2006 and the Duke Of York’s Community Initiative in 2008 and again in
We have a board of nine trustees who oversee everything that we do, as well as an
Advisory Group comprising service user representatives from each activity group,
volunteers, trustees, staff and other interested parties. The Advisory Group is used
as a chance for members to feedback on activities we have run in the past, as well
as helping decide which direction we should be going in.
Open Country is delighted to have two high-profile and local patrons: Lord Willis
of Knaresborough & Harrogate and Air Commodore Simon Bostock DL. Their input is invaluable
in all aspects of Open Country’s work.
We are currently exploring the idea of expanding Open Country into other areas and
are setting up a York Tandem Club and a monthly Otley Conservation work group.