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With the opening of more stretches of the new England Coast Path National Trail in Cumbria and beyond, and recent news of a potential upgrade of the Wainwright Coast to Coast route to a National Trail, it is vital that we make these as accessible as possible. As guest speaker at an event celebrating a stretch where some - but not all – of the route is accessible to all, Debbie’s contribution was a very welcome kick up the backside not only to Natural England Cumbria but to our many partners in attendance, to keep improving what we do and appreciate how important access is to everybody. Debbie’s presentation was a roaring success. We went through all the emotions as she took us on a hilarious and poignant journey with her, both personal and geographical. Particularly relevant and timely were a recounting of her Coast to Coast journeys, not least as the England Coast Path event was held in St Bees where the C2C starts, and the time spent illustrating some of the main access challenges which mobility scooter users face. Attendees and Natural England colleagues have commented on how enjoyable the day was and how much they got from the guest speakers, and it has raised all of our awarenesses on what we can (and I sincerely hope will) do better in future. Thank you, Debbie!

Ange Harker 

Lead Adviser

North West Coastal Access Delivery

Cumbria Area team

Natural England

Debbie North is one of those speakers, who not only does not disappoint, she gives more than you expect. Her story is inspiring anyway, but when she presents it with her inimitable sense of humour and direct style it is truly a joy and a delight to listen to her. She is an animated speaker who brings a story of determination to life with photos and anecdotes. The picture Debbie paints is one of resilience with the ability to overcome any obstacle that would stop her returning to her joy of walking with her husband.

The important work that Debbie has done for obtaining greater wheelchair access to the country side is an achievement in itself, but her story of coming back from a debilitating illness and making a new life for herself is even more profound and a delight to hear.

Michael Astrop, Speaker Finder, Todmorden U3A February 2021.

“We’re so proud and honoured to have Debbie, the face of AccessTOG trailblazing the way by creating routes for wheelchair users. It is something which is incredibly important to us, and together we aim to inspire thousands of other people who are in situations such as Debbie’s to use this resource to get outdoors and explore. AccessTOG aims to make the inaccessible, accessible for everyone.”

The Outdoor Guide

Just dropping you a line to say thank you so much for allowing me to attend the conference last week .


It was a brilliant few days, as well as the informative presentations, I really valued having many interesting chats with the other delegates. I am hoping to connect up with Neil, Gordon and Shail after Easter to carry on our conversations and how their insights might shape my research.


I hope you have a restful Easter and thank goodness spring is sprung!


Best wishes Kate


Kate Morley

PhD Researcher
European Centre for Environment and Human Health

University of Exeter

Feb 2023

Dear Debbie,

What a great conference.

I have had some excellent feedback and I think we can definitely say it was a success.

Many thanks to all who contributed and took part to make this a really positive, thought provoking, enjoyable and successful conference.

I must also particularly thank the YHA for their fantastic support throughout!

Best wishes 



Tim Russell

Recreation & Access Projects Officer

Dartmoor National Park Authority

March 2023

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