Major woodlands research contract win for Beaufort Research

Beaufort is delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Quality of the Visitor Experience survey contract by the Forestry Commission (FCE).

Beaufort also successfully ran the project in 2013 – 2015, when the survey was commissioned jointly with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and its scope included woodland sites in Wales.

The survey has been a core component of the Forestry Commission’s research programme for a number of years. Maintaining or improving the quality of the visitor experience at FCE managed sites is part of a wide-ranging programme of work to encourage the development and promotion of woodland access throughout England with suitable infrastructure and well-managed woodlands that feel safe and welcoming.

The woodland estate managed by FCE covers some 254,000 hectares. In England, around 16.4 million adults visit the estate each year. The use and enjoyment of woodlands and green-space can contribute to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of visitors. The provision of a quality visitor experience helps encourage both repeat and new visitors, so it is important to monitor visitor perceptions regularly.

The survey will take place at 22 woodland and forest sites across England between 2016 and 2018, with a total of 5,000 interviews conducted across the three year contract period. 

The survey data will not only provide information on the overall visitor experience at woodland sites, but the analysis will also enable each individual site to be scored, benchmarked and tracked over time.  By assessing visitor profiles, attitudes and satisfaction, the Quality of Visitor Experience survey plays an important role in helping the Forestry Commission to continue to develop programmes to encourage and promote access to woodlands. FCE’s mission is to protect and expand Britain’s forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment. 

Fiona McAllister, Managing Director of Beaufort, said “We’re absolutely delighted to have won the Visitor Experience survey contract for the second time, after interviewing almost 8,500 woodlands visitors between 2013 and 2015.  We have a very good understanding of the challenges involved in a large-scale outdoor survey such as this, including issues that are outside our control, such as bad weather.  We’re therefore well-placed to make sure that all interviewing targets are met and that the survey engages with the right audience. We’re looking forward to continuing to provide the Forestry Commission with the insight it needs into its woodland visitors over the next three years”

Rebecca Boenke, Strategy and Insight Project Officer at the Forestry Commission added “We are looking forward to working with Beaufort Research over the next three years and building on the insightful visitor information they collated for us previously.”

 

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