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Forestry Statistics 2015 - Recreation

Public access to woodland

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Woods for People

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 6.11 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 2014) 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. More recently, the exclusion of areas where access is constrained in England has led to a decrease in accessible woodland in 2011. 

Around one half (50%) of the UK woodland area was identified as being publicly accessible in 2014 (Table 6.11).

Table 6.11 Woods for People: Publicly accessible woodland

Year

England

  Wales

Scotland

Northern
Ireland

        UK

per cent of all woodland area1

20042

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

2010

39 42 59 64 50

2011 

35 42  58 65  48

2012 

36 43 58 66 49

2013

38 43 58 66 50

2014

38 43 59 66 50

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. This differs from the area shown elsewhere in Forestry Statistics for 2004 to 2014.

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 2014 are from versions 3 to 11 of the Woods for People dataset, based on woodland areas.

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics

       

Links to Forestry Statistics 2015