The latest research from Natural England suggests that fieldsports generated 13 million visits to the English countryside between June 2014 and May 2015, and fishing generated another 17 million visits.
This supports the results of a BASC survey earlier this year, which revealed that 95% of people said shooting was important to their personal wellbeing and 84% said it helped their physical wellbeing. On average each person made 20 friends through shooting. 91% said they would spend less time outdoors if they could not shoot. 88% said shooting gives them moderate to intense physical activity. 71% said their levels of physical activity would be reduced without their shooting activities.
BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “In addition to generating £2 billion for the economy every year, shooting plays an invaluable role in improving social and personal wellbeing; bringing people together, keeping them active and helping them to spend more time outdoors in the countryside”.
BASC Chief Executive Richard Ali said: “Shooting is a great way to stay active and is a sport that people can take part in throughout their lives. This is especially pertinent given the worrying decline in the number of people taking part in regular exercise. Fieldsports link people with nature through outdoor recreation and active conservation. Uniquely in the outdoor pursuits sector shooters spend 3.9 million work days on conservation work which is the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs. This is a win for people’s health and wellbeing and a win for the health of our natural environment”