Slow Ways for kids! Yes, they exist!


The summer holidays are here, with all their joys and challenges. Here are our top tips for finding child-friendly Slow Ways

Hello, summer holidays! For any adults with small children, we feel you. It’s a heady mix of fear and cheer. Nothing is longer and more daunting than a day without activities, especially in these early days when we are all still in the swing of routines and timetables.

Perhaps Slow Ways can help you out? The 1Y waylist is your friend!

The national walking network is still at a fairly early stage. Often we are inviting people to be one of the first to walk routes, without guarantee of success. Although children love exploring, a long route with an unknown level of accessibility is probably not the thing you need to take the pressure off.

But did you know that we also ask people to survey routes? Nearly a fifth of Slow Ways have a surveyed route option: that’s 1222 in all. And of the routes already surveyed, 114 have so far been given a Y grading. 70 of these are 1Y.

Read: Hannah’s recommended mother-and-children route, Bardol one

What is 1Y?

A 1 path surface grade means that the path has been considered to consist of “entirely smooth and compacted surfaces

A Y access grade means that the path is also “stile, step, barrier and obstacle free. Should be accessible to all wheelchairs and scooters

And what does that mean for you? They are probably perfect for buggies, scooters, bikes, bike trailers, and maybe even rollerskates, skateboards or stabilisers! Happy days! With wheeled assistance your children stand a chance of actually managing a linear journey!

Just off Bardol one from Barmouth to Dolgellau. Not yet surveyed so it’s not on this list, but it’s perfect for kids!

Top tips for finding your kid-friendly route

  • Do view what the other grades of routes mean here so you can decide if your family would like to try them. It might well be that you or they crave a grade 2 of loose gravel or muddy patches in order to feel alive! Or perhaps you’d prefer to push it to grade 3 potholes, boulders or shallow ruts, and see how you fare.
  • Check out the reviews of these routes. They will also help you find out whether a route may be suitable for your children’s age group e.g. whether there are road crossings, what type of walk etc. They may also mention cafes or other types of distraction en route. We recommend starting out with routes that have been reviewed so you won’t have to back-track if you encounter an obstacle.
  • Check the distance and consider breaking the route down into chunks to try on different days.

For more of a challenge…

Families with older or bolder kids might like to walk more challenging routes that have already been surveyed or verified. There’s a huge amount of research around children needing uneven surfaces and things to climb; some will definitely be able to handle stiles and uneven ground, maybe even up to grade 4 and access up to X. You just might have to sacrifice the linear-satisfaction element, but maybe you are sufficiently zen to cope with that!

Leave a review, or even a survey of your own!

And most importantly, please do review the route, and consider even surveying from a family perspective. The surveys are beginning to show how incredibly powerful and useful it is to have this body of information growing, and we need your help! If you’d like to add a child’s drawing of the route to your review we would be totally delighted!

And if you know of other kid-friendly routes, please let us know

The comments are open! Since only one in five routes have been surveyed so far there are likely another 500 or so Slow Ways that will work well for youngsters on wheels. If you know of one, please mention it below.

Happy holidays! And good luck!

All of the Y-grade routes so far. Click on the pic to see the live waylist

Mother and children travel a Slow Way together in Hannah’s piece on Bardol one, Mending the C Section Scars.

Make sure to sign up to review walks, and keep in touch with the Slow Ways community on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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Hannah Engelkamp
Hannah is a writer and editor whose great love is slow, resourceful, human-powered home travel. She once walked around Wales with a handsome and opinionated donkey called Chico, and now has two children who also make going for a good walk really hard. She is the Culture, Imagination and Story Lead for Slow Ways. // Mae Hannah yn awdur ac yn olygydd a'i chariad mawr yw teithio araf, dyfeisgar, ar ei liwt ei hun, heb injan. Cherddodd 1000 o filltiroedd o amgylch Cymru, asyn golygus a phengaled o’r enw Chico, ac erbyn hyn mae ganddi ddau o blant sydd hefyd yn ei gwneud hi'n anodd iawn mynd am dro. Hi yw Arweinydd Diwylliant, Dychymyg a Stori ar gyfer Slow Ways.