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When planning access provision, you must always take account of the needs of people with disabilities.

Stiles are impassable to wheelchair and pushchair users and can be an insurmountable barrier to disabled, elderly and less agile people who could otherwise responsibly access the area even if the terrain is steep and rough. Stiles are also more likely than gates to cause a trip or a fall.

You should only install a stile where there is no alternative; a gate or gap is judged to be unsuitable. You must have the written agreement of the local access officer to the installation of any stiles before you apply for this option.

Stiles may be installed beside an unlocked field gate, if appropriate to help reduce the frequency of gate opening.

You should construct and install any stile in line with the following key design principles:

  • The height rise between the ground and the first step and between steps should be the same with each height rise being no more than 300 mm;
  • Steps must be at least 200 mm wide and 900 mm long;
  • There must be no sharp edges on steps, fence rails or uprights;
  • Hand posts must be fitted;
  • A dog gate must be fitted with a minimum gap size of 375 mm high and 300 mm wide.

Information on designs and structures can be found within the Countryside Access Design Guide -( http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/accessguide)