A number of approaches have been used to obtain information on visitors (and visits) to woodlands. These include:
- National household surveys, where people are included in the survey whether or not they have visited woodlands or the outdoors;
- Local surveys, either site- or community-based, where information is collected for a specific site (or group of sites).
Latest estimates at a national level are included in Forestry Statistics. These are mainly based on household surveys of outdoor recreation and engagement run in England, in Scotland and in Wales, as follows:
Fieldwork for the "Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment" (MENE) started in March 2009 and collects information annually on visits to the outdoors in England. Further information is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/monitor-of-engagement-with-the-natural-environment-survey-purpose-and-results.
Scotland’s People and Nature Survey (SPANS) provides data on the number and types of visits people make to the outdoors. It was first run in 2013/14, replacing the previously annual Scottish Recreation Survey. A smaller scale version of SPANS was run in 2017/18. Further information is available at www.nature.scot/professional-advice/land-and-sea-management/managing-access-and-recreation/increasing-participation/measuring-participation.
The National Survey of Wales has included information on outdoor recreation in Wales since 2014. Further information is available at https://gov.wales/national-survey-wales.
In addition, some information on visits to woodland is available from the Public Opinion of Forestry surveys that have been run every 2 years or so.