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Space for People

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 live. 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. Three full reports have been published so far, giving data for 2004, 2009 and 2012; these are available at

The most recent data suggests that almost one fifth of the UK population live within 500 metres of a wood of 2 hectares or more and that around two thirds live within 4 kilometres of a larger wood (of 20 hectares or more) (Table 6.10).

Table 6.10 Space for People: Publicly accessible woodland
% of population with access to: England Wales Scotland Northern
per cent
2 ha or more wood within 500 metres
2004 10.2 15.7 15.3 7.5 10.8
2009 14.5 17.4 27.8 7.2 15.6
2012 16.8 22.8 32.2 7.2 18.2
20 ha or more wood within 4 km
2004 55.2 72.3 54.4 50.3 55.8
2009 63.0 76.7 83.0 40.2 64.8
2012 65.8 80.8 86.9 40.2 67.6

Source: Space for People& – Targeting action for woodland access (Woodland Trust, 2010, 2015).

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics

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