Research from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) reveals that an estimated 547 million outdoors visits were made in 2017/18. The figure is up from 396 million in 2013/14 and is the highest ever recorded. Scotland’s People and Nature Survey shows that people are also getting out and about more regularly and enjoying nature closer to home.

That's good news for urban greenspace as 4 in 10 visits were to an outdoor location in a town or city. The proportion of visits taken in urban areas increased by 6 percentage points to 40% and local parks were the most popular destination, an estimated 230.4 million visits over the 12 month period of the survey.

The report also demonstrates the health and wellbeing benefits of getting outdoors and active. The majority of those who visited the outdoors (67%) strongly agreed it had helped them de-stress, 64% said it had improved their physical health and 52% said they felt closer to nature. Around two thirds of adults strongly agreed that their most recent outdoor visit helped them to relax and unwind (67%) or improved their physical health (64%). More than half strongly agreed that visiting the outdoors made them feel energised and revitalised (56%).

However, the survey of around 12,000 adults in Scotland shows there is still more to do to help under-represented groups access and enjoy nature.

While 82% of the total population had visited the outdoors for recreation over the 12 month period, this dropped to just 47% of those who reported having poor health, 73% of older people and those in the most deprived parts of Scotland and 63% of those with a long-term illness or disability.