Britain’s battlefields are one of the less visible aspects of our country’s history. There is usually little to see in terms of the actual battle that took place there – perhaps just some earthworks, a monument, or the remains of a defensive ditch.
But the magic of visiting a battlefield doesn’t always lie in what you can see. More often it is about the sense of history, and the memory of the dramatic, terrible events that took place there. These sites have their very own atmosphere – they are often remote, dramatic places that are unlike any other kind of historic site.
The teams who look after them do a wonderful job of creating interpretation boards to help you to make sense of what happened on the empty fields in front of you. And the great news is that many of the country’s most famous battlefields are also accessible.
So, here is Quingo Scooters’ guide to the best accessible battlefields to visit in the UK.
1. Culloden, Inverness
Where better to start our battlefield adventure than at the scene of the last hand-to-hand battle in the UK? Culloden was the battle that brought the Jacobite Rising to an end in 1745. It is the final resting place of over 1,500 Jacobite soldiers. Culloden Moor is a bleak and moving place, with a very powerful sense of history.
There is step-free access into the excellent visitor centre, as well as free parking close by. There is a very good audio guide to the battlefield too, which you can use as you explore the site. The visitor centre is fully accessible and the paths around the battlefield itself are all also straightforward to get around using your scooter.
2. Towton, Yorkshire
From the very last hand-to-hand battle fought on British soil to arguably the largest and bloodiest – the Battle of Towton is certainly a dark chapter in our history. This was an incredibly significant battle, between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses.
The Yorkists eventually won, but this was a horrific struggle that took place in a snowstorm, and involved around 50,000 men. It’s estimated that nearly 10,000 were killed, and that the rivers ran red with blood!
You can park at the lay-by at Dacre’s Cross and use the wheelchair accessible path to ‘Bloody Meadow’.
3. Naseby, Northamptonshire
The Battle of Naseby took place during the English Civil War, between the Royalists and Cromwell’s Parliamentarians. The Parliamentarians won, and it was a major step towards winning the war itself.
This is a great battlefield to visit, with a number of accessible viewpoints that offer a different perspective on this decisive event in British history. There is accessible parking space and a viewing platform at Rupert’s Viewpoint, and there is also access to Fairfax’s viewpoint and the Obelisk memorial.
If you’d like to see a map of the site and the relative positions of the viewpoints, there is a great one here.
4. Flodden, Northumberland
Some battlefields are all about atmosphere, rather than state-of-the-art visitor centres and dramatic reconstructions. Flodden is certainly one of these – just a remote piece of moorland with a monument that has accessible paths for those of us who use a mobility scooter, (although they are steep in places).
The battle that took place here was in 1513, between the English and the Scots. It was the largest battle the two countries ever fought against each other, and it’s believed that there were up to 18,000 casualties. These included James IV of Scotland, who became the last British monarch to die in battle.
The battlefield today is a peaceful and poignant place to be, and is largely accessible. For more information, take a look at the battlefield’s accessibility page here.
5. Bosworth, Leicestershire
The Battle of Bosworth was another turning point in English history – this time as Henry Tudor defeated the army of King Richard III in 1485. As a result, Henry was crowned as king, the Plantagenet dynasty ended and the Tudor one began. King Richard’s remains were lost for centuries, until they were discovered under a car park in Leicester in 2011!
Bosworth Field is a fascinating place to visit and has a fully accessible visitor centre with lifts and convenient parking nearby. The entire Battlefield Centre site is completely accessible to all.
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