Forestry Statistics 2011 - Recreation

Visits to woodland - on-site surveys

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A new on-site survey methodology was developed early in 2003 to measure visitors' 'Quality of Experience'.  Pilot surveys were conducted in 2003 at Afan Argoed and the New Forest, prior to adoption of the methodology in England in 2003 and in Wales in 2006, with around three to five surveys carried out per year at selected sites between 2003 and 2009 and 20 surveys carried out in 2010.  Reports from these surveys are published on the Forestry Commission website when results become available.

These studies were designed to investigate what constitutes quality of experience for visitors, addressing related concepts such as motivations, expectations and the needs of different groups.

For the 2003 to 2009 surveys, visitors who used a particular site at least once a month were interviewed and asked to rate both the levels of importance of different aspects of woodland and forest visits and their satisfaction with the same aspects.  Visitors who visited less often were interviewed for a shorter period before being given a questionnaire to take away and return regarding their levels of satisfaction.

For the 2010 surveys, all visitors were surveyed on site.

Table 6.10 Sites of Quality of Experience surveys undertaken in England and Wales





Grizedale, Westonbirt, Whiston



Dalby, Thetford



Alice Holt, Cannock Chase, Forest of Dean



Sherwood Pines, Delamere, Hamsterley

Garwnant, Nant yr Arian


Fineshade, Rosliston, Whinlatter

Coed y Brenin


Bedgebury, Thetford, Wyre



Kielder, Dalby, Haldon


Hamsterley, Whinlatter, Grizedale, Cannock Chase, Sherwood Pines, Salcey, Wendover, Alice Holt, Westonbirt, Beechenhurst

Coed y Brenin, Newborough, Garwnant, Gwydyr, Whitestone, Hafren, Moel Famau, Gethin, Llan Wynno, Cwm Saebran

Not National Statistics.

Source: Forestry Commission Quality of Experience surveys.  2003-2009 carried out by TNS Travel & Tourism, 2010 carried out by BMG Research.

In addition, surveys have been conducted around community forests in Thames Chase (2004), South Yorkshire (2005), North West England (2006), South Wales (2006), South West England (2007) and North & Mid Wales (2007).  These surveys examine the recreation activities undertaken by members of the local community, levels of recreational use, awareness of local open spaces, and the motivations and barriers to using Forestry Commission sites for recreation.

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