15/9/2017

Making the countryside more accessible: guest blog by Access Trailers

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Access Trailers was conceived over 18 years ago by Ian Longden who at the time was the Warden of an educational farm on the edge of Sheffield. He spent over 18 months researching trailers for transporting educational groups including wheelchair users around the 120 acre farm where he worked.

Disappointed by what he found he set about designing his own trailer and with financial help from the BBC Children in Need Project built the first Access Trailer. The Variety Club of Great Britain, well known for supplying Sunshine Mini Buses, chipped in with their first ever Sunshine Tractor for towing the new trailer.

As a result,  thousands of children, including a number with mobility issues, used the trailer to access the wider farm. This resulted in not only first hand experience of the crops and stock but their interrelationship as part of the wider farm economy. 

A number of years later Ian was awarded a Churchill Travel Scholarship to study countryside access for disabled groups and after visiting the United States, New Zealand and Australia, it confirmed in his mind the contribution a well designed trailer could make to improving countryside access. Furthermore he realised that with the right inclusive design a passenger trailer offered mobility to all groups. both young and old. 

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Eighteen years later Access Trailers have the largest range of passenger carrying trailers in the UK. A major part of its success has been its relationship with Graham Edwards Trailers based at Full Sutton near York.

Graham Edwards built high quality livestock and goods trailers and their proven chassis are the base for all Access Trailer models which they fabricate and assemble. 

Specialising in passenger carrying trailers means that unlike many other suppliers it's not simply a question of fitting seats to an existing platform but designing and building a chassis with integral anchor points for seat frames, accessible steps and handrails, as well as fitting a professional wheelchair restraint system.

It's also about offering trailers that are functional where the passenger carrying top can be removed if not required to leave a useful base trailer for general use. 

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Access Trailers have also extended into the ATV market with the Access Buggy range of smaller trailers. These units are equipped with low ground pressure tyres and towed by an ATV and can be used to access more remote or sensitive areas of countryside. 

Since inception, Access Trailers have been used to help 100,000's of people to access the countryside from Farm and Estate tours to Field Sports. 

For more information visit our website.

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