Changing places in the UK’s largest forest

Britain’s largest forest park is now achieving optimum accessibility through its new flagship visitor centre.

Forestry Commission Scotland has just opened the new, eco-friendly centre at Kirroughtree, the gateway to the Galloway Forest Park. It is the first venue in the area to offer a Changing Places accessible, assisted toilet, supplied by Clos-o-Mat, and installed to address outcomes from the Commission’s equality analysis, which highlighted the need for more toilet accommodation, including that for disabled people.

Sarah Wilson, Assistant Project Manager for Forestry Commission Scotland explains:

“Galloway Forest Park is growing in popularity as a destination: visitor numbers now top 1million a year, increasing at 4% per annum. Provision of a Changing Places toilet makes the whole of Galloway Forest Park and surrounding area accessible to a range of the population we have been unable to cater for. We want to meet, and exceed, customer expectations with all aspects of the visitor experience.”

Larger than conventional, wheelchair-accessible toilets, the Changing Places toilet also has additional equipment (eg a hoist, adult-sized height adjustable changing bench) to accommodate the needs of anyone who needs the help of at least one carer to toilet. It is open throughout Kirroughtree Visitor Centre opening hours and needs no special access requirements.

The Changing Places toilet is just one element of an enhanced visitor experience at the Centre. New showers, changing facilities, catering, better differentiation between mountain bike and walking trails, and a children’s play park have also been implemented.

Over 500 Changing Places toilets are now open across the UK, the majority of which have been supplied by Clos-o-Mat. The company is unique in being able to offer, in-house, design advice, supply, install, commissioning and ongoing service/maintenance, backed up by in-house project management of a Changing Places toilet or hygiene room. Clos-o-Mat has used its expertise in the field to produce a white paper on Changing Places toilet provision in the healthcare sector, available for download on its website