Improvements are needed in order to improve disabled access to the Wales Coast Path, a local authority has admitted.
It comes after members of Flintshire Disability Forum highlighted issues with electric wheelchair users being unable to pass through barriers which were installed to stop motorbike riders.
During a meeting held as part Flintshire Council’s public rights of way review, they said the barriers did not exist in other counties and had ‘soured’ their view of accessibility in the area.
Members also reported issues with individual footpaths, including where outstretching tree roots forced them to used the road instead.
As a result, they have resorted to arranging their outings at country parks in neighbouring areas, including Loggerheads in Denbighshire and Alyn Waters in Wrexham.
Flintshire Council is now looking to improve access after holding a consultation to ask residents whether they felt its public rights of way met their needs.
In a report Cllr Carolyn Thomas, the authority’s cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside, said:
“There are aspects where the local rights of way network can be said to meet present needs, in terms of what participants in the review have said they like about the Flintshire’s rights of way network.
“However, it is evident that there are ways in which Flintshire’s local rights of way are weak in terms of meeting present and future needs.
“Wheelchair users are not all able to access the Wales Coast Path, and experience some problems with the surfacing on local
“There are not enough bridleways for horse riders to enable them to ride off-road as much as they would like.”
There are two parts of the coastal path running through Flintshire, with sections from Chester to Flint and Flint to Prestatyn.
According to the Wales Coast Path website, the main accessible route for disabled people is a 7km stretch between Chester and Queensferry.
As a result of the feedback, the council said it is investigating opportunities where disabled access can be improved, as well as increasing information available to wheelchair users.
The county’s total rights of way currently measure 1,082km, including 955km of footpath and 114km of bridleway.
Flintshire Council’s cabinet will be asked to consider the draft rights of way improvement plan when it meets next Tuesday .
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter.