Tree-mendous! Over 9 million visits to Scotland’s national forests

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14 JULY 2014NEWS RELEASE No: 16316

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A recent survey carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland has revealed that 9.1 million visits are made to the National Forest Estate every year.

The most popular reason for a visit is for walking with 72 % undertaking this activity.

Around 8 per cent of all visits were undertaken by cyclists, with the remaining enjoying sightseeing, wildlife and picnics.

Scotland’s national forests are also contributing to the tourism economy. It is estimated that around 77 per cent of people spend money during their forest trip.

Commenting on the All Forests Survey 2, Environment & Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:

“Forestry Commission Scotland is the largest provider of outdoor recreation in the country with hundreds of popular woodland walks, world class biking trails and welcoming visitor centres.

“It is very positive news that we are seeing so many people visiting the National Forest Estate and taking the opportunity to enjoy Scotland’s outstanding natural environment. The Scottish Government is keen to capitalise on this success by widening out better access to our woodlands and providing a greater range of ways for people to enjoy them.”

Other findings from the All Forests Survey 2 are:

• 77 % of visitors live in Scotland and 15% elsewhere in UK;
• 8 % of forest visitors being from overseas;
• June, July and August are the months when most are likely to visit;
• 33 % of visits are taken by people on a holiday or short break;
• the average visit is for about 1hr 30 mins; and
• the average age of a visitor is 46.

To see the full report, log on to

Notes to news editors
1.  This survey concentrates purely on visitor statistics and does not attempt to quantify the economic generation of forest tourism to Scotland. Work on quantifying the economic benefits is currently being worked on.

2.  Survey results will be used to improve Forestry Commission Scotland’s understanding of its visitors. The information will be used to help target future resources ensuring the Commission meets and exceeds visitors' expectations.

3.  Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate
4.  For news, events and recreation information log on to  For Twitter:  
5. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.
 6. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.