We recently paid a visit to Shibden Park, which is located just off the A58, a couple of miles from the centre of Halifax. The lower end of the park includes a cafe and we planned a visit to include a coffee and a walk around the beautiful boating lake.
Here’s a video that shows all the important aspects of the venue, including the car park, path surfaces, toilets and how a wheelchair user gets on exploring them. Below the video, we have a written description of the walk and a map.
We started our visit in the large pay-and-display car park, which is level and has a number of disability parking spaces.
From the disability parking bays there’s a smooth tarmac surface up to the entrance of the park. This takes you straight past the very tempting Mereside Cafe (more of which later), then down a gentle tarmac slope into the park itself
We were looking for a short walk/wheel suitable for powered or pushed wheelchairs and opted for an anti-clockwise circuit of the boating lake. To help us, were joined by Donna, who uses a powered sit-on wheelchair.
Much of Shibden Park is on a steep hillside, but the pathways around the boating lake are flat, with a couple of minor slopes at the far end, near the boathouse.
We began our walk on smooth tarmac, with the lake on our left and the grass slopes leading up to Shibden Hall on our right. The paths on this side of the lake are very wide and smooth and Donna was able to make easy progress.
On the lake, we spotted a variety of wildfowl, including mallards, coots and moorhens, with a wary heron patrolling the shoreline on the far side of the lake.
As you approach the far end of the lake, the path moves away from the shore, rises gently and passes ornamental flowerbeds, before returning to the shoreline at a boathouse.
At the far end of the lake, just beyond the boathouse, the surface changes to a very fine gravel/earth mix, that is still very smooth. Donna had no problem negotiating it on her powered chair.
When we reached the return path, on the far side of the lake, we found it to be surfaced this way for its entire length. It’s also relatively narrow, though there’s plenty of room for two chairs to pass in opposite directions (see picture).
Much of the return side of the lake is in the shade of trees, which is pleasant on a hot, sunny day. It also gives you good views of the miniature railway, which runs on some weekends and bank holidays.
Soon, you will find the path leading you back to the Mereside Cafe. Gentle slopes and more excellent surfaces give easy access to the cafe, which is all on one level and has an accessible toilet. We had to use our RADAR key to gain access, but the helpful cafe staff are always on hand if you don’t have one. Like everything in the cafe, the toilet was immaculately clean.
We finished our visit with hot drinks and slices of cake, all of which were excellent, before heading back to the car park, again via very gentle slopes and excellent surfaces.