Project 23 - Hampshire countryside behaviour and attitudes

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Key findings

Photograph of a country scene

Hampshire Perspectives is the County Council's residents' forum

This report summarises key findings from the 23rd Hampshire Perspectives survey, which focused on finding out the best way to promote the work of the Hampshire Countryside Service, in order to inspire and enable more people to visit and enjoy the countryside in Hampshire.

The survey was completed by 616 forum members between 14 February and 01 March 2023. It was also advertised on social media in parallel, generating an additional 197 responses. The learning from this survey will help Hampshire Countryside Service consider ways to make the Hampshire countryside as accessible as possible, help people get the most out of their visit, and to inform any subsequent communication messages.

Key findings were as follows: (Please note – respondents were asked about their general use of the Hampshire countryside and not specifically about their use of Hampshire Country Parks.)

Among those responding, the average frequency of visiting the Hampshire countryside is between once a week to several times a week.

This drops to an average of once a week to once a fortnight among those with health limitations which appear to be the main factor affecting visit frequency.

Around a third of those responding to the survey were unaware of who the Hampshire Countryside Service are and what they do.

Among those who were aware, their spontaneous associations were around management of the countryside in Hampshire, followed by rights of way and Country Parks. When prompted, walking routes, country parks and conservation were the responsibilities Hampshire Countryside Service were most well known for.

Just over half of those surveyed said they don’t access the Hampshire countryside as much as they’d like to.

This is particularly the case for under 45’s, those with children in their household, and those with health limitations. Lack of time is reported as the biggest barrier, followed by issues with (or lack of) public toilets and car parking.

Information on “where” (i.e. walking routes) is most requested by those responding to improve their experience / motivate them to visit.

This was followed by information on “what”, e.g. facilities, history and heritage and details on wildlife and plants/trees.

‘Beautiful views and scenery’ was reported to be the most motivating message to get people to visit the countryside more.

This was followed by ‘being somewhere that looks after nature and wildlife’. Of the promotional routes explored, the adverts that had the broadest appeal and were most likely to encourage people to find out more reflected one of these two messages. The advert that showed active participation in the countryside was appealing to under 45’s and those with children, but could perhaps be alienating to those with health conditions and/or limited mobility