How the MENE survey can help inform your work

Logo: Natural England

For anyone working in the countryside sector and wanting a perspective on how people are engaging with nature, the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey could be a useful tool to help you understand who’s already enjoying the great outdoors and who isn’t. Published quarterly by Natural England, it collects a range of data on adult visits to green spaces, including: destination and duration of visit; distance travelled; expenditure; main activities and motivations for the visit. It also collects data on people who don’t visit green spaces and some of the reasons for this.

Recent analysis of the 2009-2012 MENE reports studied five different demographic groups1. A key finding was that they all visit the natural environment far less often than the rest of the adult English population (who average 65 visits per person per year):

  • Black & Asian Minority Ethnic groups (BAME): 27 visits
  • Urban deprived: 40
  • DE socio-economic group: 50
  • People aged 65+: 55
  • People with a disability or long term illness: 56

Another key finding was that both BAME and urban deprived groups’ visits tend to be nearer to home, in urban locations. 

Separate analysis of the 2009-2012 MENE reports studied the visits taken by adults accompanied by children2 . Broadly, there are two types of trips taken with children:

  • frequent visits to local parks/playgrounds, likely to be close to home
  • infrequent visits to sites likely to be further away, likely to be visited at weekends/during holidays

These two MENE projects are providing new insight into how important local green space is; what prevents/motivates people to use green spaces; and how people engage in other ways – such as watching wildlife or being conservation volunteers.

More detailed analysis on these two topics will be published in July. For quarterly MENE statistics, follow Twitter: @NaturalEngland #MENE




Updated information May 2014 - Update on recent data reports:

Additional analysis on the five different demographic groups of interest has now been published. This analysis revealed that within these groups there are significant variations in the behaviours and attitudes between those visiting the natural environment frequently (i.e. at least once a week) or rarely (i.e. fewer than three times a year), with those visiting more often having more positive attitudes to the natural environment. In partnership with Pennine Prospects we have also published a spatial analysis of the MENE data for the South Pennines Local Nature Partnership (LNP), to help inform how they shape their public engagement.  Additional analysis of 2009-12 MENE data on visits made by households with children has been completed and reflects social inequalities in how children are accessing natural environments; this data report will be published later in 2014.

Updated information January 2017: 

More information on all these reports and links to the reports themselves can be found at Natural England Access to Evidence - Outdoors for all and Natural England Access to Evidence - Use and enjoyment of the natural environment

First published in CJS Focus on Visitor Management and Engagement in affiliation with the Association for Heritage Interpretation on 10 June 2013

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