Access for all? barriers to accessing woodlands and forests in Britain

Jake Morris, Elizabeth O'Brien, Bianca Ambrose-Oji, Anna Lawrence, Claudia Carter, Andrew Peace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents results from research that identified and analyzed barriers to accessing British woodlands and forests. This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of access and accessibility and to inform the design of policy and management interventions to encourage increased access by under-represented social groups. A brief review of policy and academic literature places the issue of inclusive woodland and forest access in the context of contemporary debates surrounding public health, well-being, diversity and the perceived role of public green space. There follows an analysis of quantitative and qualitative research findings, informing the presentation of a working typology of barriers. The typology is structured around the access needs of various social groups, allowing an analysis of the social distribution of barriers. The findings indicate the deep-seated psychological, emotional and socio-cultural nature of some barriers and highlight the need for carefully designed interventions that may lie outside the conventional remit of woodland management. This paper will be of particular interest to decision-makers and practitioners and to those involved in the design and delivery of policies, programmes and projects aimed at encouraging inclusive use of woodlands, forests and other types of green space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-396
Number of pages22
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Access
  • Accessibility
  • Diversity
  • Equality
  • Forests


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