More than half of visitors to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park are walking country paths on every day of their stay, according to a recent Footpath User Survey conducted by the National Park Authority.
From August 2015 to July 2016 2,959 questionnaires were collected from 12 survey boxes located around the National Park’s 1,100km network of public rights of way, which includes the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail.
The condition of the paths maintained by the National Park Authority was described as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ by 95% of respondents; while 88% of people said their main reason for walking was to enjoy the natural landscape.
National Park Authority Access and Rights of Way Manager, Anthony Richards said: “The survey demonstrated the economic importance of the Coast Path and public rights of way to the tourist industry of Pembrokeshire, with visitors accounting for more than three quarters of respondents.
“The high levels of satisfaction with the condition of the paths should help to encourage repeat visits to the county. These results also show that the public value the work undertaken by the Authority to manage the Coast Path and other public rights of way, with 98.5% of respondents stating their walk had met their expectations.
“Residents of Pembrokeshire accounted for 26% of respondents with 43% walking at least once a week, showing that public rights of way provide an important recreational resource for the health and well-being of local communities.
“The survey also gives an insight into the concerns and needs of walkers and will help to guide the Authority in its work to improve the walking experience in the National Park.”
The survey was funded by the Welsh Government’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan funding programme. The 12 boxes were located near to path monitors with 168,770 walkers recorded during the survey period. Seven of the survey boxes were situated on the Coast Path with an additional five on inland paths.
At each location a post box allowed walkers to fill in questionnaire forms and post them into a locked compartment. The forms were collected on a regular basis by National Park Authority staff and voluntary wardens.
For more information visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales