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National Survey for Wales

Formerly Welsh Outdoor Recreation Survey

The Welsh Outdoor Recreation Survey (WORS) measured participation in outdoor recreation by adults living in Wales, including the associated health and economic benefits. It also covered public attitudes towards biodiversity, along with actions that people take to protect the environment. The new National Survey for Wales incorporates elements that were previously found in WORS. As the new National Survey is face-to-face, longer, and with a larger sample size there are discontinuities between these results and those from WORS. They should not be compared directly.

Survey content

The Outdoor Recreation section of the National Survey for Wales provides information on participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, from climbing to picnics, which take place in all areas from local parks to mountains and the sea.

Each year, a representative sample of over 10,000 people across Wales take part face-to-face in the National Survey. The results are used by the Welsh Government and sponsored bodies to help make Wales a better place to live. It includes people from all ages and backgrounds, who live in both the countryside and in towns.

Technical information for the whole Survey can be found at

The survey provides detailed results on:

  • overall levels of participation in informal outdoor recreation
  • places visited on land and water
  • types of activities
  • levels of physical activity
  • economic expenditure
  • motivations for using the outdoors
  • barriers to visiting the outdoors

Key dates

The survey is undertaken every two years, starting in 2016. Interviews occur throughout the year.

The first results and data tables from the 2016 National Survey were published by Welsh Government in Summer 2017. The Outdoor Recreation bulletin was published on 3rd October 2017 by NRW.

Official statistics

The Outdoor Recreation Bulletin is classified as Official Statistics (under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007) and is required to comply with the Code of Practice. The Code covers a number of Principles and Protocols, including those relating to the release of statistics.

In complying with the Code of Practice, early access may be allowed to senior officials and ministers for the purposes of briefing prior to public release. Pre-release access will be given to the following individuals:

  • Ceri Davies, Executive Director of Evidence, Policy & Permitting, NRW
  • Michael Evans, Head of Evidence & Knowledge, NRW​

Publications: reports and data

National Survey for Wales 2016-17 Key Facts for Policy and Practice Bulletin: Outdoor Recreation

You may use and re-use these free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Previous reports and data

All publications from the 2008 and 2011 surveys (commissioned by the Countryside Council for Wales and Forestry Commission Wales) are available to downloaded from the archived CCW website. This includes Final Reports, full data tables, and Health and Physical Activity reports.

Related document downloads

National Survey for Wales 2016-17 Key Facts for Policy and Practice PDF [332.3 KB]
Welsh Outdoor Recreation Survey Key Facts for Policy and Practice PDF [2.0 MB]
260119555 WORS Excel and SPSS weighting guide Weighting and analysing WORS data – a guide for SPSS and Excel users PDF [292.8 KB]
WORS 2014 Dataset EXCEL [8.6 MB]

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