Open Country

Helping People with Disabilities to Access the Countryside

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25 Years of Experience


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 in mind.


Thriving Charity


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 2014.















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.


Ambitious Plans


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.

About Us

Duke of York’s Community Initiative 2014

Queen's Award Ceremony for Unsung Hero's 2006

Queen’s Award Ceremony for Unsung Heroes 2006