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Forestry Statistics 2013 - Recreation

Visits to woodland - on-site surveys

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An 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 up to 20 surveys carried out between 2010 and 2012. Reports from these surveys are published on the Forestry Commission website at 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 these aspects. Respondents 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 to 2012 surveys, all visitors were surveyed on site.

Table 6.10 lists the sites where Quality of Experience surveys have taken place.

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


Bedgebury, Delamere, Fineshade Top Lodge, High Lodge Thetford, Wyre  

Cwmcarn, Nant yr arian, Alwen, Brechfa, Clocaenog, Crychan, Dyfnant.


Dalby, Haldon, Kielder, Rosliston and Hicks Lodge 

Abergynolwyn, Craig y Dinas, Cwm Rhaeadr, Fforest Fawr, Gwaun Hepste, Hafod, Llangwyfan, Nercwys, Tan y Coed, The Arch, Warren 

Source: Forestry Commission Quality of Experience surveys. 2003-2009 carried out by TNS Travel & Tourism, 2010-2012 carried out by BMG Research.

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics

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.

In 2011, 3 surveys of residents were undertaken in the areas surrounding three low usage sites, to obtain information on how greater usage of the sites could be encouraged.


Links to Forestry Statistics 2013