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On site surveys – Scotland All Forests surveys
All Forests surveying in Scotland has been undertaken on two occasions. The first All Forests Survey in Scotland was carried out across a three-year period from June 2004 to June 2007, with over 5,000 hours of fieldwork undertaken over 1,158 days, achieving almost 2,700 face to face interviews. The study estimated that around 8.2 million visits are made annually to Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) woodland. An estimated 150-200 thousand visits to events in forests and around 300 thousand visits during the hours of darkness (when fieldwork was not undertaken) were also made, giving an overall total of around 8.7 million visits per year.
The second All Forests Survey was carried out from November 2012 to October 2013. The survey made greater use of data from automatic counters, but also achieved over 400 days of fieldwork and 1,970 face-to-face interviews.
The 2012-13 survey estimated an annual total of 9.1 million visits (including visits to events and in the hours of darkness) to Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) woodland. This represents a 5% increase on the estimated overall total of 8.7 million visits from the 2004-2007 survey.
The estimated number of visits has been updated using data from 224 automatic counters at 165 sites. For sites without counters, estimates have been produced using the results from the 2012-13 All Forests Survey and advice from local managers. This gives an overall estimate of 10.2 million visits to Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) woodland in 2016, a 12% increase from 2012-13.
Table 6.7 provides a summary of the key characteristics and results obtained from the Scotland All Forests surveys and appears to show some change in visit characteristics over time, with a general trend towards longer, more distant and less frequent visits. From the 2012-13 survey, around two thirds of visitors to Forestry Commission Scotland woodlands were on a day trip from home. Walking (with or without a dog) was the main activity undertaken by around three quarters of visitors. Over four fifths travelled to the site by car or van and around one third travelled more than 15 miles to get to the site. Around one third of visitors were on short trips, spending one hour or less in the forest. Around one half of respondents visited the site at least monthly.
Table 6.7 Woodland visit characteristics – Scotland All Forests Survey
|Woodland visit characteristics||2004-2007||2012-13|
|per cent of respondents|
|Type of trip|
|Main activity during visit|
|Distance travelled (one way)|
|Less than 6 miles||58||43|
|6 to 15 miles||19||25|
|16 to 25 miles||10||12|
|Over 25 miles||12||20|
|Duration of visit (time spent in forest)|
|Up to 1 hour||59||35|
|Over 1 hour, up to 2 hours||24||36|
|Over 2 hours, up to 3 hours||10||16|
|Over 3 hours||7||13|
|Frequency of visit to site of interview|
|More than once a day||7||3|
|Once a day||13||9|
|1 to 3 times per week||25||22|
|1 to 3 times per month||17||14|
|1 to 3 times per year||17||18|
|First ever visit||16||27|
Source: Scotland All Forests Survey 2004-2007 and All Forests Survey 2, carried out by TNS.
These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics. For further information see the Source chapter.
Sources chapter: Recreation
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