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

Burns, N. , Paterson, K. and Watson, N. (2009) An inclusive outdoors? Disabled people's experiences of countryside leisure services. Leisure Studies, 28(4), pp. 403-419. (doi: 10.1080/02614360903071704)

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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.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burns, Dr Nicola and Paterson, Dr Kevin and Watson, Professor Nicholas
Authors: Burns, N., Paterson, K., and Watson, N.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Leisure Studies
ISSN (Online):1466-4496

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