Forest users to be surveyed

Bruntis is a popular loch
Bruntis is a popular loch

FORESTS in Galloway are to be surveyed throughout the year to build up a picture of how many people use them and how often.

Carried out in woodlands managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, the year long survey is part of an-ongoing national monitoring programme which gathers useful information on visitors.

During the year, forests at Kirroughtree, Glentrool, Clatteringshaws, Pennighamme, Kilsture and in Stranraer are amongst others that will be surveyed.

Laura Stewart, Marketing Manager with Forestry Commission Scotland said: “Welcoming visitors to our forests is very important on a number of fronts.

“Our forests are often part and parcel of overall tourism strategies and can be big tourism destinations which support local economies. On the other hand, our woodlands are vital as they are well used by local communities as popular place for walking, cycling or simply taking the dog for a walk.

“To help us find out more about our visitors we will be undertaking this survey throughout the year in a number of forests in the area. The information will help the Commission and other organisations get a better picture of what is happening in our forests and woodlands.”

This year’s survey follows on from a similar one that was carried out across Scotland between 2004 to 2007. The data recorded back then will act as a valuable benchmark for comparison.

Face to face interviews will find out some basic background details of visitors, including their age, reason for visiting and how far and how they travelled. Information on how much money they have spent in the local economy will also be collected.

As well as interviews, data on visitor numbers will be collected from vehicle and people counters.

For more information on the All Forests Survey 2 is available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-5WCMR4