Recreation 2000: views of the country from the city

Melanie Limb, Jacquelin Burgess, CM Harrison

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Over the next few months the Countryside Commission for England and Wales will be reviewing their recreation policies for the first time since the
Commission was established in 1968 (Countryside Commission 1985a). The review is a response to two social trends. First, the trebling in demand for recreation, envisaged in Michael Dower's now celebrated phrase the Fourth Wave', has not taken place. Second, changing social and economic circumstances mean that people who have most leisure time often lack the resources needed to gain access to leisure facilities (Fitton, 1978; Sidaway and
Duffield, 1981). Against this background, one major concern for the Commission is the extent to which new recreation policies can widen the appeal of the countryside so that those people who express a desire to visit rural areas more frequently, might be enabled to do so.

The purpose of this paper is to show how in-depth discussions held with members of the public can shed light on people's values for countryside, the kinds of experiences they associate with rural environments and what motivations underlie their recreational trips. These qualitative aspects of countryside recreation are notoriously difficult to research. We would argue,
however, for the vital importance of uncovering the values that people hold for countryside. A recreation policy which is informed only by the findings of
traditional methods of enquiry such as structured interviews and questionnaires, will always underestimate both the appeal of the countryside and the role that appropriate provision can play in widening participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


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