ORNI Northern Ireland Population Survey – November and December 2020 Results

2nd March 2021



Outdoor recreation plays a vital role in Northern Ireland, bringing benefits to society by contributing in a wide range of areas, including health and well-being, social inclusion, community cohesion, environmental protection, rural development and economic development. These benefits support the work undertaken by a range of organisations from government departments and local authorities to organisations in the voluntary sector. However, although these benefits are widely evidenced in general, until now a lack of specific information on outdoor recreation participation in Northern Ireland has made it hard to provide an accurate picture of the value it brings. Given this lack of a baseline measurement, it has been difficult to demonstrate the quantum of contribution of outdoor recreation to the delivery of government department outcomes in Northern Ireland and consequently there are no Programme for Government targets directly related to outdoor recreation.

A new survey of the Northern Ireland adult population

In this context, following the publication of the report ‘The development of a quantitative baseline for Outdoor Recreation in Northern Ireland’, a partnership including Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI), the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Strategic Outdoor Recreation Group (SORG) commissioned 56 Degree Insight to undertake this research.

This study has involved two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Carrying out a detailed analysis of relevant data collected in the Continuous Household Survey (CHS), Health Survey Northern Ireland (HSNI) and other relevant studies to identify the headline metrics which can be used to demonstrate and track the value of outdoor recreation in Northern Ireland.
  • Phase 2 – designing and undertaking a new survey of the Northern Ireland adult population in late 2020 to collect new data which further helps to demonstrate the importance of outdoor recreation in areas related to Programme for Government outcomes.

This report provides the results this survey of the Northern Ireland adult population undertaken during November and December 2020 as part of Phase 2. When using the results, it is important to bear in mind that this survey was undertaken during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and periods of ‘lockdown’ when restrictions were in place which impacted upon levels of participation in outdoor recreation.