This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair
This was my first visit to the Wellhill Forestry walk at Culbin which I discovered by chance when I saw that the venue requested an EG review. I know how difficult it is to make rural locations accessible so I really appreciate all that has been done by Scottish Forestry to make it as accessible as it is. It’s a beautiful, peaceful network of forestry paths through Culbin Forest, the track is also fairly wide so there’s plenty of room to social distance most of the way with a few steeper slopes and a few narrow winding turns occasionally. I completed the first half of the loop leading to the viewpoint 99 and then went back the same way so I can’t comment on the rest of the path’s accessibility although the venue itself seemed to think that I would be able to access the whole loop and judging by the first half, I'm sure that would be right; I just didn't have enough time to take the chance that day. It was also amazing to be able to access the viewpoint even although it was not possible for wheelchairs and powerchairs to get right to the top, it was still a great view out over the trees and I loved being up so high.
Transport & Parking
There is no direct public transport available to the site; you can get the train or a bus to Forres, however, this is four miles away. If travelling by car, there are three disabled parking spaces available close to both the disabled toilet and the picnic area; the road surface itself was fairly smooth for a forestry car-park.
The path leading up to the viewpoint is quite steep and winding so I had to wheel quite slowly but I managed in my powerchair; it would be more challenging for people in manual wheelchairs or who have visual impairment or who have difficulty walking long distances. Having said that, I was pleased to see how many benches there were at regular intervals to pause for a rest if needed. We met someone who had walking difficulties and she said that although the walk took her longer, she was still able to enjoy it and appreciated the benches. I also LOVED the fact that the view from the viewpoint was visually unobscured by bars etc. at wheelchair eye-line and had obviously been thought about; I had a great view and I was really impressed! There were coloured and numbered signposts to keep you on the right path and free maps available at the reception car-park along with an information board portraying a diagram with details about the two circuits, the longer one that I followed and the shorter half-hour one. There was also a nice picnic area which featured benches with a space for wheelchairs.
There was a disabled toilet available on site which was clean, basic and spacious with grab-rails and a red cord; my only criticisms are that the red cord was tied up and the door was very heavy, so very difficult for someone on their own to open from the outside Outside the toilet there was also hand sanitiser and information informing that there was camera surveillance and asking people not to abuse the facilities.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I always felt able to socially distance if we met anyone on the path and the toilet had hand sanitiser and was clean so I felt Covid safe. This is a lovely peaceful, mysterious walk to explore, ideal if you just want some space away from it all and I definitely want to return as there is just so much more to see, for example, the site of a village which has been completely covered by sand following a terrible storm in the 17th Century. I’m always on the look-out for accessible walks so this is a great surprise, so I would definitely recommend it!