Lower leas coastal Park is located at the seaside town of Folkestone in Kent, UK. The Park was opened in 2000, and it’s won several green flag awards for being a well-managed green space. I visited in August 2020, and I was very impressed. In this post I will discuss the accessibility of Lower Leas coastal Park.

The Park

A path running past a bench with trees overhanging it and carting shade on the ground.
A nice place to sit and admire the view

The Park itself is beautiful, and as it’s right on the coast, there are lovely views of the sea. It’s about 11 hectares in size and is long but relatively narrow with lots of paths running throughout it surrounded by trees and plants. Some of the routes run down towards the beach, and others follow the coastline. There are also cycle paths and walking trails.

Trees standing in an open grassy area under a clear blue sky
The wildflower meadow

Lower Leas Coastal Park is split into three zones: the wild zone, the formal zone, and the fun zone. In the wild zone, plants and trees are informally managed for recreation and to create wildlife habitats. For example, there is a wildflower meadow here which you can walk around. The formal zone has plants arranged in formal beds with paths running around them. It is designed to showcase the Park’s “horticultural excellence”. The fun zone has the south-east’s largest free play area. There’s also a 350 seat amphitheatre in this area where shows are performed in the summer.

The sea with a beach in the background and trees in the foreground

Accessibility

Most of the paths throughout the Park that I drove on were smooth, so it was quite pleasant to explore. Some of the paths were reasonably steep so they may be a bit tricky for manual chair users, but for me, in my powerchair, it was not a big problem.

A path bordered by wooden fence and surrounded by bushes and trees

The steepest part was the zigzag path which goes zigzagging up the side of the cliff. It is quite steep in places; however, the path is smooth, and there are numerous places to stop and rest on the way up in grottos dug into the cliff face. You can also get great views of the sea and beach from up there.

A winding path going up a hill surrounded by trees and bushes
The zigzag path

Personally, I thought it was great that the zigzag path is accessible because going up a cliff is not typically wheelchair friendly. But here they have found a way to make it so. At the top of the zigzag path is the promenade of Folkestone, which allows you to get to the nearby city centre.

A powerchair driving along a path towaards the tunnel the rocks
Heading into a small tunnel on the zigzag path

A car park is located at the entrance to the Park; however, we struggled to find any disabled parking. That’s not to say that there aren’t any, but we couldn’t see where they were at the time. We also thought that the parking was a tad expensive at £12 for 4 hours, but we paid anyway.

Looking over a stone wall at the beach with sea on the right side of the image
Lovely views of the beach

A broad and flat concrete promenade runs along the seafront next to the beach. A concrete ramp gives access to a curved walkway skirting the edge of the beach. This walkway allows wheelchair users to get as close to the beach as possible, and close enough to the sea that I felt some of the spray from the waves breaking on the rocks. The beach is made up of shingles, and some of these stones were scattered over the walkways, so this made it a bit tricky to drive over.

View of the beach wiith the sea in the background and a concrete promenade on the right of the picture
On the promenade next to the beach

Covid considerations

I chose to visit this park because it is all outside so it’s safer. When I visited there weren’t too many people so it wasn’t hard to keep a safe distance from each other. On the beach, there was a decent number of people but not so many that they couldn’t socially distance. They did have a cafe in the park but I decided not to go there as there seemed to be a lot of people congregating in an enclosed area and it didn’t seem safe to me. But in nice weather, Lower Leas Coastal Park is a beautiful and Covid safe place to spend the day.

Conclusion

I was very impressed by lower Leas Coastal Park both in terms of its accessibility and its beauty. The paths are mostly smooth although steep in places. But I could get pretty much everywhere throughout the park which I was happy with. I was especially happy to be able to get across the beach on the concrete walkway. So overall it’s a fantastic place to visit and I highly recommend it.

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