Forestry Statistics 2010 - Recreation

Public access to woodland

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The Woods for People project has created a UK-wide provisional inventory of accessible woodland.

At present, it does not include woodlands where the only access is on public rights of way. For Scotland, the Land Reform Act gives a right of responsible access to almost all land, but the dataset only includes woods that encourage access. Table 6.13 shows the proportions of woodland with public access (permissive) as identified by the Woods for People database.

The changes between versions of the dataset (2004 to 2009) are the result of several factors, including the development of the database between versions as areas are updated by land owners; one significant change was a reduction in England and Wales as a result of a fall in the amount of Walkers Welcome data. A list of land owners who have contributed to the project is available on the Woods for People web site.

Table 6.13 Woods for People: Publicly accessible woodland

Year

England

  Wales

Scotland

Northern
Ireland

        UK

per cent of all woodland area 1

2004 2

37

49

57

66

49

2006

32

39

58

64

46

2007

34 40 58 64 47

2008

34 40 58 64 48

2009 

37 42 59 64  49

Not National Statistics.

Source: Woods for People (Woodland Trust)

Notes:

1. The total woodland area estimated in 2004 for the Woods for People project, not updated for later reports.  For Northern Ireland, this is substantially different from the area shown elsewhere in Forestry Statistics.

2. The 2004 data are from version 1 of the Woods for People project, re-analysed in September 2007 to count only woodland areas. The higher results originally presented in the 2004 Woodland Trust Spaces for People report were based in part on total land areas, rather than woodland areas. 

3. Data for 2006 to 2009 are from versions 3 to 6 of the Woods for People dataset, based on woodland areas.       

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