Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has today published the latest results from the Scottish Recreation Survey which has surveyed more than 100,000 people in Scotland over almost a decade on their use of the outdoors.
The Scottish Recreation Survey (ScRS) annual report for 2012 is the 10th and final report in the series.
The survey, which ran between 2003 and 2012, shows that since 2004 an increasing number of outdoor visits have been made in and around Scotland's towns and cities, with local parks or other open spaces the most popular type of destination.
This has been accompanied by a decline in the number of visits taken by car and an increase in visits taken on foot.
The most recent survey data show that 79% of adults living in Scotland visited the outdoors for recreation in 2012, taking an estimated 297 million visits. Forty-two per cent of people visited at least once a week.
Total expenditure on visits to the outdoors in 2012 was estimated to be around £2.6 billion.
Pete Rawcliffe, the People and Places Unit manager at SNH, said: “The Scottish Recreation Survey has yielded some significant results. It shows the important contribution the outdoors makes to the economy, as well as its role in increasing physical activity and improving health. The information gathered has been particularly useful in showing the importance of providing good quality green spaces and path networks close to where people live.
“Visiting the outdoors brings people into contact with nature, provides refreshment and relaxation and the opportunity to spend time with friends and family – that is something tangible and of benefit to us all.”
The ScRS has now been replaced by a new survey called Scotland's People and Nature Survey from which results will be available mid-2014.