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Colin says: Access Denied by Gravel Paths ...

The lack of traction on gravel paths make them difficult enough to negotiate in the first place - but add an incline and wooden "steps" and you have to be pretty foolhardy to even attempt to use them.

Gravel and/or Bark paths in public places are wonderful. they are cheap to install, pleasing to look at, comparitively environmentally friendly, and safe to walk on, even in freezing conditions.

It is such a shame that it takes more than three times the power to propel a wheeled vehicle through gravel as it does on tarmac.

It is such a shame that it takes more than FIVE times the power to propel a wheeled vehicle through damp bark as it does on tarmac.

It is such a shame that in order to prevent the surface from sliding downhill battened "steps" become necessary.

It is such a shame that prohibitive mainanance costs mean that, in a very short, time virtually all gravel and bark paths have deteriorated to the point where they become dirty muddy tracks which are unpleasant enough to negotiate on foot, and totally unusable by invalid carriages.

It is such a shame, that even on the gentlest incline, the poor traction offered on gravel and bark results in, at best - wheel-spin and "rutting" which permanently damages the path, and (at worst) - damaged paths and flattened scooter batteries miles away from home which might even endanger the life or wellbeing of the invalid concerned.

I don't think there is any cheap way of making such paths acccessible to all but the most powerful petrol engined invalid carriages which would probably destroy them anyway. Gravel and bark paths - without regular maintanance - are simply not condusive to use by low-powered small-wheeled vehicles or people who are unsteady on their feet.

The only practical alternative would appear to be to eventually re-lay existing gravel or bark paths with a more permanent surface which will not erode to such an extent. But on the plus side... we would ALL get a far more usable path - and half the work (namely laying a suitable hard core foundation)is to some extent already done.

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and admit that although they do look nice when they're new - they are in fact not all they're cracked up to be.
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