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She Rides And Reviews : Hollingbury Woods Easy Access Trail

Hello readers! Welcome to another edition of She Rides And Reviews! Today I will be taking you through my adventure in the Hollingbury Woods Easy Access Trail! Let us see how EASY this access trail really is shall we?

First of all, I need to apologise for the terrible photos this week. The trail was so problematic that it was impossible for me to go back around it, after I shot my video to take some proper photos with my camera. So, all the shots in todays blog are stills from the footage shot on my phone. Be prepared for low resolution, blurry and wobbly! All of which adds to my ire about this trail as I really hate putting out such bad quality images.

One of the reasons for choosing this place was because it was accessible by public transport. After some feedback from my wonderful readers, I realised that this was a big issue as a lot of people don’t have cars. Seems silly that I hadn’t thought of that earlier seeing as I’m fairly new to the car world myself and have had to use public transport since the age of 6! My Apologies, just goes to show how quickly we get used to our privilege! I took that critique on board and I’m now collecting up places that are accessible on public transport too and will endeavour to make that part of my M.O whenever possible from now on. Right, I think I’ve finished apologising for things for now.

Here is a map link to the closest bus stop:

Here is a map link to the Golf Drive car park:

Here are some useful links for accessibility info on , for mobility scooter/powerchair and wheelchair users.

Ok so here we go… First of all, the car park is not great. The surface is very pitted and rough and there is no smooth access for wheeled users from their cars. There is a small step just before you get to the path.

Once on the path you are greeted by a huge mound of wood chippings spread all over it. The mess has been here for at least 2 months as I attempted this journey in May and my scooter got a puncture at this point, perhaps from the awful surface (cannot guarantee this but hmm).

Once you’ve made it passed all those obstacles you are presented with a narrow concrete path that allows you to move into the woods. Again, lots of debris and little things that could puncture your tyres.

As I was scooting along trying to get my bearings from what the map was showing me and what was actually in front of me, I crossed a couple of paths that sloped up from the one I was on. I presumed these were not the correct paths as they had no solid surface, were quite steep and full of even more tyre hating debris. Let’s remember that the name of this trail is EASY access, so I was looking for an actual EASY trail…silly me! Rooky mistake!

I carried on up the path hoping that I might possibly be treated with a sign or signal, that would alert me to the presence of the fabled EASY access trail. When I found yet another muddy steep path off the current one I was on, it occurred to me that the EASY access trail was perhaps not easy at all.

I decided to forge ahead and see what lay in front of me. Mostly fuelled by my own frustration and rage, with my partner kindly suggesting that perhaps we cut this visit short so that we don’t end up stranded far from the car with a broken scooter. But obstinance was upon me and I was determined to find the EASY Access trail.

That was when we popped out onto the main road. Now the penny had really dropped, this was not going to be an EASY breezy day out.

Stubbornness in full control , I headed off on the pavement complaining the entire way about how this was not exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to go for a walk today!

We tried to re-enter the woods at several different spots and were denied at every turn.

This really is the moment I should have just gone home, but I still had some fight left in me. As the pavement ended and turned into a grass verge, I prayed that there wouldn’t be any axel breaking holes.

A path emerges!! Hurray!! According to the map there would be two or three possible routes to take from this path. Surely, we will hit the jackpot with those odds!

A small path to the right that was basically flattened grass too narrow for anything on wheels other than a bicycle. The path to the left was also too bumpy and narrow to be safely taken on a scooter.

As we got to the end of this path, to the “steep slope” area on the map, my enthusiasm for carrying on this wild goose chase was waning. The slope, although this awful picture does not do it justice, was not safe to attempt. As all my regular readers will know I always like to try and attempt these types of obstacles If I think they are doable, but this one was not only steep but had large holes and loose stones.

As a last stitch effort to get something positive from this experience to write about, I attempted one of the paths coming from that tarmacked road. As it was clear now that that was part of the EASY Access trail.

The path was doable, but it was so littered with sharp stones and sticks and tree routes that it was really stressful driving through it.

Also, the angle of the path is such that you are constantly trying not to tip down a very steep hill. I felt unstable and worried so much that I couldn’t enjoy any part of the forest.

Some areas were extremely pitted, with very sharp stones just waiting to slash my tyres.

On exiting that less than delightful path you are confronted with another very steep slope. I believe that if there had been any moisture left in the soil underfoot, I would have had trouble making that descent.

Finally, back on the original narrow path heading back to the car, I spotted a sign! and the other part of the EASY Access trail.

Madness took me again and I decided to try that path too. I scaled the steep and bumpy slope.

The path was much the same as the first one, bumpy, badly maintained, full of stones and just really stressful.

This is the spot where I finally listen to my partner and called it a day.

I have to say that I am extremely disappointed by this route, especially as it’s within scooting distance from my house! It is just not acceptable to give a place an accessible label and then leave it to become unusable but still advertise it on a council website as a safe space for disabled people like me.

A special thank you to the Friends of Hollingbury woods for asking me to do this review and all the work you do to help keep the park nice for all to use. I hope this review will be useful in helping you alert Brighton and Hove City council on issues that need addressing urgently.

As always here is the video of my entire trip.

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