Visits to woodland - on-site surveys
The previous section provided information on visits to all woodlands (regardless of ownership), based on data from household surveys. This section provides information on visits to Forestry Commission/ Natural Resources Wales/ Forest Service woodland only, based on data from on-site surveys and administrative sources.
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, while continuing to gather information on the profile of visitors. Further information, including reports, on the All Forests Monitoring Surveys is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5wcmr4
In addition, an on-site survey methodology to measure visitor's "Quality of Experience" at selected sites was adopted in England in 2004 and in Wales in 2006. Copies of reports from the Quality of Experience surveys undertaken are available at www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5wwjpt
Although neither of these methods have been used in Northern Ireland, the Forest Service do collect information on the total number of paying visitors.