An inclusive outdoors? Disabled people's experiences of countryside leisure services

Burns, N. and Paterson, Kevin and Watson, Nick (2009) An inclusive outdoors? Disabled people's experiences of countryside leisure services. Leisure Studies, 28 (4). pp. 403-419. ISSN 0261-4637

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In recent years, disabled people's access to the outdoors has been the subject of renewed interest. This has in part been driven by legislative developments coupled with an increasing recognition that disabled people are under-represented as users of the countryside. However, very little is actually known about disabled people's views and experiences of the outdoors. Drawing on the concept of affordances and combining this with a social barrier's approach to disability, we explore disabled people's attitudes towards and experiences of woodland and countryside leisure. We argue that disabled people's reasons for being outdoors are more complex than simply seeking 'rehabilitation'; and, like their non-disabled counterparts, access to the outdoors is perceived for some as an integral aspect of wellbeing and revitalisation. Through engagement with the outdoors, disabled people are challenging normative constructions of who they are and their purpose in being in the countryside. The paper concludes by arguing that providers of outdoor leisure services need to go beyond barrier removal and understand disabled people's uses and views of the outdoors in planning the provision of services.

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Journal Article
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Leisure Studies
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17 May 2016 09:26
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 03:14