The results of the Campaign for National Parks survey show how popular shooting sports are with both visitors to the parks and those who live within these beautiful landscapes.

The recent Campaign for National Parks (CNP) survey has highlighted the public support for shooting, with the sport voted by as the third most popular recreational activity out of a list of 23 among those who live and work within the parks.

Shooting was also named as the second most popular activity for those respondents living and working outside of National Parks.

The UK has 15 National Parks, all of them protected areas due to their outstanding beauty, wildlife or cultural heritage, among them the North York Moors, the South Downs, Exmoor and the Lake District.

National Parks survey results

This huge support for the sport followed criticism from the Countryside Alliance (CA) and BASC earlier this year that shooting was not offered as an option on the multi-choice survey, but was listed in a section asking what activities should be banned. The support was even more notable as shooters had to specify it as their favourite activity under “other”.

Liam Stokes, CA head of shooting, said: “It is great that shooting is so popular within National Parks, both with residents and visitors, because we know that wherever gameshooting is popular it brings jobs, investment, beautiful landscapes and conservation benefits.

Shooting second in popularity to walking

“Shooting was second in popularity to ‘walking’ among visitors, and third to ‘walking and observing wildlife’ among residents.

“Of course, well-managed shooting in the uplands and lowlands increases the amount of wildlife to be seen, so shooting is supporting the favourite activities of those who shoot and those who don’t.”

Addressing the criticism earlier this year, which led to both the CA  and BASC writing to the CNP to highlight the importance of shooting to the National Parks, Mr Stokes continued: “We should also be delighted with the responses to the question ‘what should be prevented in National Parks?’ Shooting could be selected from a list of 14 options, and came 12th. This shows that the non-shooting public has no interest in attempts to see shooting curtailed.

“Elsewhere in the survey people recorded the beautiful views as one of their favourite features of National Parks, which is unsurprising given the breathtaking upland landscapes shooting supports in so many of our rural beauty spots. No wonder people don’t want to ban it.”

Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC policy development manager, said: “Shooting has helped make our National Parks the wonderful wild places they are today and shooting continues to play a vital role, not only in protecting these landscapes and the wildlife within them but providing massive social and economic benefits for local communities living there.

“Attempts to downplay the role of shooting in the way that the survey was designed to do have failed and the results speak for themselves.”