Volunteer-run Rodley Nature Reserve has been recognised for its efforts to welcome people with a disability.
The Reserve, on Moss Bridge Road, has been presented with the exclusive Good Access Award from Yorkshire-based charity Open Country.
The award celebrates the efforts of the volunteers in opening up the wetland area to wheelchair users and people with a disability.
The team has spent the past few months building a new path leading to one of the bird hides and adapting it to be completely wheelchair accessible. The Reserve also offers blue badge parking, wheelchair-friendly picnic tables, disabled toilets and even the use of mobility scooter to access the open space.
Peter Murphy, Secretary of Rodley Nature Reserve Trust said:
“We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. It has always been our aim to make all areas of the Reserve accessible to wheelchair users and our other less able visitors.
“All our birdwatching hides now have special facilities for wheelchairs and major improvements to some of our paths have been made in recent years. We are grateful to the Co-op Community Fund for their support for the paths project this year.”
David Shaftoe, Chief Officer of Open Country, said:
“We see a lot of positive developments in accessibility across the county, but Rodley Nature Reserve stood out for going the extra mile to ensure its open space can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what their ability.
“The volunteers have made significant improvements to the access arrangements, taking advice on good practice and ensuring the paths are well maintained.”
Rodley Nature Reserve was developed when Yorkshire Water decommissioned the Rodley Water Treatment Works in 1993. Its wetland is now a haven for a variety of bird, mammal, plant and insect species with the Rodley Nature Reserve Trust following a careful plan of habitat management.