Forestry Statistics 2009 - Recreation

Public access to woodland

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As a result of the information gathered on accessible woodland, the Woodland Trust has undertaken a major analysis of woodland access provision and deficit across the UK. This project, named Space for People, has used the accessible woodland data from the Woods for People project to develop targets for increasing woodland access.

The Space for People analysis proposes a Woodland Access Standard for people to have access to a woodland of an adequate size near to where they lived. The report estimates the proportion of the population with access to nearby woods, the extent to which this could be increased by improving access and the amount of new woodland that would have to be created to give the rest of the population this level of access. The initial results of the analysis in 2004 showed the following levels of access:

Table 6.14 Space for People1: Publicly accessible woodland, 2004

% of population with access to:





per cent

2 ha or more wood within 500m





20 ha or more wood within 4km





Not National Statistics.

Source: Space for People (Woodland Trust, 2004).


1. The Space for People analysis is scheduled to be updated in 2009, five years on from the initial work.

2. An interim update was performed for Scotland in 2006, to provide an update for the Scottish Forestry Strategy. That work indicated that the proportion of the population with access to 2 hectares or more of woodland within 500 metres of their home was 23%, while the proportion with access to 20 hectares or more of woodland within 4 kilometres of their home was 68%. The increase in the proportion of people in Scotland with access to woodland is due to a variety of factors, including the creation of new woodland (or settlements near to existing woodland) and the inclusion of this new woodland (and existing woodland not previously identified) within the 2006 version of the Woods for People dataset.

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