Access to and within Gardens

Public Transport, Accessibility and Slow Traffic

What is Access?

For the purposes of the EGHN project we have defined the access action as
• Access to (and from) the park or garden
• Access within the park or garden.

Access to Parks and Gardens – does it matter?

Not everyone does:
• own a car
• have one available on the day they want to visit
• feel comfortable driving in increasingly congested conditions.

Let's look at why we should provide access by other means:
The potential visitor market is likely to be widened. We may make visiting the garden much more attractive for more people to visit.

Expanding access by means other than the car may result in other benefits too:
• Economic benefits – by bringing more visitors or encouraging a broader visitor base or visitors may also spend more.
• Environmental benefits – potentially less traffic, pollution, congestion, noise.
• Social benefits – people that are currently excluded because they don’t have a car may be able to visit.
• Community benefits – perhaps less traffic can bring better relations with the local community.

So that’s getting to the park or garden. But once you’re here – how easy is it to get around?

If you have a pushchair, wheelchair or have limited mobility you may find it quite difficult to enjoy many places to their full potential.

We’re keen to explore and develop innovative ways to improve access around the park or garden without destroying the very unique features that makes the park or garden important.

Baseline Review Studies

Each anchor garden has conducted a baseline review of their access conditions. This looked at current access to the park and also within the park. It also identified a number of priorities at each anchor for improving access:
• Improving access by public transport
• Improving access by cycle
• How to enable less mobile visitors to appreciate views at the extremes of the park.
• Using Travel Plans to deliver a strategic approach to improvements.

The full Baseline Review Studies for each of the anchor gardens can be downloaded from this website – see end of this page.

An access working group has been established– with representatives from each of the partners or gardens. This has agreed the models that were developed.

The Access Models

Improving access by public transport:
In Surrey the Parks and Gardens Explorer Bus links Kingston and Surbiton with Claremont Landscape Garden, Painshill Park and the RHS Garden at Wisley. The bus then continues on to Guildford.

An existing Monday to Saturday bus service has been enhanced with the parks contributing to fund the service on a Sunday. It now operates 7 days a week with an hourly service Monday to Saturday and a two hourly service on Sundays. It connects with trains at Surbiton Station. (Where there are around 10 trains per hour to Waterloo and south west London).

South West trains have promoted the service in their publicity and on their web site. A major development planned for next year is combined train, bus and entry tickets to each of the gardens on route.

In Cheshire a slightly different approach has been taken to improve access by public transport. Tatton Park has been included on a route of a new pre-book visitor bus that takes guests on a number of themed days out around Cheshire and North Wales. On Sundays and bank holidays the service connects Tatton Park with Dunham Massey, Arley Hall and Chester.

At Hestercombe a slightly different approach has been taken with local bus services in the area being diverted to feed into Hestercombe Gardens. It is also hoped to introduce a demand responsive bus service here.

Improving access by cycle:
In Cheshire a number of projects have been developed to improve access by cycle. This includes the development of new cycle hire and also cycle storage facilities at Tatton Park. A new cycle route has been developed to connect Tatton Park with Arley Hall.

Efforts are being made to connect Schloss Dyck with other cultural attractions in the area and the state wide cycle network.

Improving access within the park or garden:
Once visitors are here it’s really important that we can show them as much of the park or garden as possible. We’ve developed a number of approaches that should improve this.

A visually impaired route in the French anchor garden – that takes those with limited vision around parts of the park using braille signing.

An easy access map and path improvements at Hestercombe Gardens – to improve access provide visitors with details such as gradients and seating.

Information terminals are being installed at Hestercombe Gardens so that visitors can appreciate views of the park without even leaving the visitor centre!

Slow Traffic Strategy:

EGHN has shown that  improved access can easily be done and that it brings many benefits.

However, more can be done and greater economic and social effects can be achieved when we succeed in slowing down people: many of us haste from one place to another even during leisure without enjoying the travel or looking at the landscape we are passing. The area passed through has many disadvantages.

A Slow Traffic Strategy aims at offering people more information and attractions "to stop, stay and see" and by doing so promoting local specialities and fostering local economy.

Download of EGHN-Reports related to Access:

EGHN_Access Review Hestercombe Gardens (pdf-file, 2,7 MB)

EGHN_Access Review Schloss Dyck (pdf-file, 3,6 MB)

EGHN_Access Review Tatton Park (pdf-file, 0,8 MB)

EGHN_Access Review Painshill Park (pdf-file, 0,7 MB)

EGHN_Access Review Parc Oriental (pdf-file, 1,5 MB)

EGHN_Slow Traffic Strategy (pdf-file, 0,7 MB)

EGHN_Access Final Report (coming soon)