BBC Countryfile presenter John Craven tries out a ‘mountain trike’ off-road wheelchair while filming with Huddersfield based group Community Experience
A man who was disabled after falling from a tree has hailed the success of his new outdoor experiences group for wheelchair users.
Craig Grimes was paralysed after his accident in 1997, aged 20.
Now his recently-launched social enterprise, Experience Community, is set to feature on popular BBC show Countryfile.
The group, which hosts weekly walks around Kirklees for wheelchair users, including using off-road mountain trikes, filmed with the TV crew and presenter John Craven up at Dove Stone reservoir near Saddleworth.
They will feature on the show this Sunday.
Craig from Milnsbridge, said: “It was a great experience to work with John Craven and the filming crew from BBC Countryfile.
“John was eager to try a mountain trike and find out first hand about where the group go and the kind of terrain they tackle.
“The entire group had a fantastic day and they were really pleased to be able to show what they are able to achieve.”
Craig, an outdoor enthusiast before his accident, established the not-for-profit firm after struggling to find information and support for disabled people who want to access the countryside.
Thanks to some funding from Kirklees Community Partnerships, Craig has launched weekly walks in Kirklees for disabled people who want to explore what the local area has to offer.
He has also set up weekly mountain trike rambles so that disabled people can now tackle rougher terrain throughout Yorkshire and the Peak District National Park.
Experience Community group meet at Oakwell Hall, Birstall. Richard Brooks on one of the tracks around the Hall.
He said: “When I had my accident I was doing a degree in geography and I planned to study national park management.
“Back then there was no way a wheelchair user could access the countryside.
“The mountain trikes came out about three years ago and they’ve been a real game changer for accessing the countryside.
“When I saw this funding had become available I decided I wanted to focus on local tourism and getting people out and about in their areas.
“It’s something I love doing.
“We got the first funding last April and from there we’ve built it up with all these activities. Within a year ending up on Countryfile is a blast for us.”
Further funding from a variety of sources, including the Yorkshire Dales Sustainable Development Fund, has allowed Experience Community to purchase several mountain trikes that are available to rent.
Disabled people can learn how to use the equipment through drop-in sessions every Tuesday from 11am – 3pm at Oakwell Hall Country Park at Birstall.
The group also has a licence to work on woodlands around Standedge Tunnel, improving the paths and access for wheelchairs and prams.
Find Experience Community on Facebook or at www.experiencecommunity.co.uk