Trends in participation
Trends in Participation
Detailed national data concerning the levels
of different types of recreation is scarce. The General Household
Survey, Living in Britain (1998), produced by the Office of
National Statistics, does provide some useful data on recreational
activities, including the following:
- informal activities, such as walking or cycling, are the
most popular pursuits
- walking is the most popular activity with an estimated 68.2%
of the population undertaking at least one leisure walk of
2 miles or more per year
- cycling is the second most popular activity with an estimated
21.4% of the population undertaking this activity
- watersport activities are also popular. It is estimated
that almost 1 million people take part in sailing and motorboating
activities each year
For water-based recreation, the only detailed
national survey was undertaken by Leisure Consultants in 1989.
As this survey was carried out at the height of the leisure
boom in the late eighties and is nearly ten years old, it has
been used only sparingly in this report. More up-to-date activity-specific
information is used wherever throughout this report.
The table below summarises the information
which is available concerning recreational participation.
The seasonal variations of different activities
can have implications for nature conservation. For example,
management schemes may only be required for part of the year
or not at all if the activity does not coincide with a sites
most sensitive periods.
The main seasons for activities are:
- for the majority of outdoor activities the peak season is
July to September
- shooting activities are linked to legal constraints and
generally occur in October to December
- walking remains popular throughout the year but also peaks
in July to September.
Trends in Participation
According to the House of Commons Environment
Committee Report on Leisure Impacts (1995), there is no evidence
to suggest that participation in any of the recreational activities
which take place in coastal areas is growing significantly or
has grown significantly over the last five years. This tends
to be confirmed by other available data on leisure participation.
Levels of club membership linked to specific
recreational activities can often provide a useful indication
of the extent to which an activity is formal or informal. This
is an important indicator as to the easy of reaching participants
with information passed through the clubs. In addition, many
clubs promote voluntary management measures at the local level
which, although often for safety or amenity purposes, may make
a positive contribution to nature conservation.
Membership levels summary