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Public access to the countryside: An exploration of the costs and benefits of farmland walking trails

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  • Peter Howley

    () (Rural Economy and Development Programme, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland)

  • Edel Doherty

    (Gibson Institute of Land, Food and the Environment, Queen’s University Belfast)

  • Cathal Buckley

    (Rural Economy and Development Programme, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland)

  • Stephen Hynes

    (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)

  • Tom van Rensburg

    (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)

  • Stuart Green

    (Rural Economy and Development Programme, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland)

Abstract

Despite the potential benefits accruing from use of the rural landscape access to farmland is a contentious issue with many landowners restricting public access. Within this context, this paper first explores general public preferences and willingness to pay for farmland walking trails in the Irish countryside. Second this paper examines farmers’ willingness to participate in a hypothetical walking scheme whereby the general public will be allowed access to specific trails. Results suggest that individuals are not a homogeneous group with regard to their preferences for farmland walking trails as there are significant differences between likely users and non-users. From a supply perspective results suggest that a significant number of landowners are willing to allow public access provided there is no personal cost to them. In addition, this paper identified significant regional variations in farmers’ attitudes relating to public access. More generally, the analysis presented here would suggest that there is significant scope for policy intervention to improve public access to the countryside.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Howley & Edel Doherty & Cathal Buckley & Stephen Hynes & Tom van Rensburg & Stuart Green, 2010. "Public access to the countryside: An exploration of the costs and benefits of farmland walking trails," Working Papers 1006, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.
  • Handle: RePEc:tea:wpaper:1006
    as

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    File URL: http://www.teagasc.ie/rural-economy/downloads/workingpapers/10wpre06.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2010
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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