Take a breather

PDF Print

< Back to Battleby demonstration path

Places to enjoy a view, eat a picnic, or simply rest for a few moments are an important part of path design. They make using the path more enjoyable, and they also help to achieve the aim of least restrictive access for people with less stamina or strength, or difficulties with their balance.

resting place battleby

The Countryside for All standards, developed through the BT Countryside for All Project by the Fieldfare Trust, recommend different intervals between resting places for different countryside situations. In urban or formal settings like parks, the guidelines recommend installing seats every 100 metres along a path. Practical considerations may mean that will not be possible on every path. However, you can still do a lot to improve access by making what the Equality Act 2010 calls 'reasonable adjustments'. This might mean providing seats at the recommended distance close to the main access points along the path, with more widely spaced resting places in between.

It is important to think about the best locations for seats, not just how often they appear along the route. Look for places that offer good views or something interesting to look at. Some extra construction or landscaping work may be needed to create resting places at these spots, but it will make a big difference to the experience people get as they use the path.

Slopes or flights of steps are other places where users will be glad of a rest. Aim to provide resting places at the top and bottom, and along the length of a long climb.

It is much better to build resting places and install any furniture as the path itself is constructed. If they are installed afterwards the path surface may well get damaged by transporting materials along the route.

A resting place can also be a natural passing place. Particularly on busy paths shared by different users - such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders - it is important to allow space for people to pass each other. The Countryside for All standards recommend installing passing places every 50 metres along a path in urban settings. On a narrow path that can be difficult to achieve, but combining a passing place with a resting place can be a reasonable adjustment.

You can download detailed drawings and specification details for icon Resting Place - Standard Detail Drawing & Specification Details and icon Resting Perch - Standard Detail Drawing & Specification Details. You can also find more guidelines and specifications for benches in the Countryside Access Design Guide published by Scottish Natural Heritage, available as an online version or as a PDF file.

© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh