Naturelover goes extra mile in awareness-raising quest

WHEN Roy Taylor had to start using a wheelchair two years ago, he found much of his beloved countryside closed off to him.

Roy Taylor - about to embark on an awareness-raising quest covering 68 miles between May 15 to 18.

Locked gates, styles and steps were stopping the nature-lover visiting some of his favourite haunts, despite his new all-terrain wheelchair.

The area reserve manager with the RSPB, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013, became determined to try and break down barriers and he has already raised £25,000 for improvements to northern reserves after taking his wheelchair coast to coast last year.

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Later this month he sets out on his latest challenge - 68 miles and four days on the North-South spur of the Trans-Pennine Trail to raise £50,000 for a state-of-the-art hide at the RSPB Old Moor nature reserve in Barnsley.

Mr Taylor, 45, from Denby Dale, who will be taking his eight-month-old son Roy Junior along, said: “It’s to raise awareness of unnecessary barriers to access. In many cases they were put in a long time ago and forgotten about. A lot could be removed or replaced at low cost with something that’s accessible for all.”

After his latest venture he will be raising whatever obstacles he encounters with the authorities so they can be removed or adapted.

“Life is tough anyway in a wheelchair and the outside world makes it a lot tougher at times,” he said. To donate visit