Visits to woodland - on-site surveys
Until 2002, a visitor monitoring programme (not National Statistics) was carried out at selected Forestry Commission woodland sites in England, Scotland and Wales. Year-on-year changes in visitor numbers were estimated by the 'Trends Index' which used data from traffic counters and other counters. Information about visitors and their views on facilities were collected by on-site visitor surveys.
In 2002 and 2003, the Forestry Commission developed new visitor monitoring systems to replace the existing national visitor monitoring programme. The 'All Forests Visitor Monitoring Survey' provides more accurate estimates of the number of visits to a wider range of Forestry Commission woodland, whilst continuing to gather information on the profile of visitors.
In addition, a new on-site survey methodology to measure visitor's 'Quality of Experience' was adopted in England in 2004 and in Wales in 2006, with four or five surveys now being carried out per year at selected sites.
Although neither of these methods have been used in Northern Ireland, the Forest Service do collect information on the total number of paying visitors.