Measuring participation

Measuring participation in outdoor recreation helps us ensure that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

Regular research helps us to identify target audiences and develop policies and practice to encourage people in Scotland to make more use of the outdoors for recreation, volunteering and learning.

We will conduct an outdoor recreation and health survey in 2017/18 to update our knowledge of visits to the outdoors. For now, existing survey data helps us to better understand how people in Scotland use, enjoy and value the natural environment.

Scotland’s People and Nature Survey

Scottish Natural Heritage commissioned the Scotland’s People and Nature Survey (SPANS), with support from Forestry Commission Scotland, the National Parks and Greenspace Scotland.

Read Scotland’s People and Nature Survey 2013/14: SNH Commissioned Report no. 679

Read Scotland’s People and Nature Survey Technical Report: SNH Commissioned Report no. 680

SPANS provides data on:

  • the number and types of visits people make to the outdoors
  • what benefits people feel they get from visiting the outdoors
  • people’s perceptions of National Parks, national and local landscapes and the provision of woodland and other types of greenspace for recreation

A series of SPANS special interest reports covers:

Greenspace Scotland's 2017 Greenspace Use and Attitudes survey provides insights into the public's views and use of urban greenspace.

Scottish Recreation Survey

The Scottish Recreation Survey (ScRS) preceded SPANS. It monitored participation in outdoor recreation among adults in Scotland from 2003 to 2012.

Between 2006 and 2012, ScRS data was also used to monitor progress on the Scottish Government’s National Indicator, Increase people’s use of Scotland’s outdoors. (The Scottish Government’s Scottish Household Survey has been used instead since 2013.)

Search our publications for Scottish Recreation Survey annual reports.

Scottish Nature Omnibus

The Scottish Nature Omnibus (SNO) monitors public awareness and understanding of issues related to National Nature Reserves, wildlife, biodiversity and taking positive action for nature.

The survey has been running since 2009 and now reports on a biennial basis. Read our most recent Scottish Nature Omnibus report or for earlier reports search our publications catalogue.

A short series of SNO special interest reports covers: