Here at grough, we love statistics. OK, maybe not: it was Mark Twain, or possibly Benjamin Disraeli who said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”.
And sometimes statistics come straight from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious. Whom are we describing? He or she is a weekend visitor, spends less than three hours there, is white, lives in either Sheffield or Stockport…
Getting warm yet? Doesn’t have a mobility problem, loves scenery, comes with two mates, likes walking, is older than 24 and has a job.
By now, you’ve probably guessed that we’re talking about the typical visitor to the Peak District National Park, whose 2005 survey turned up very few surprises. 99 per cent of visitors in the survey of 30,000 people were happy with their visit. The 300 people who weren’t, that’s just one per cent, were unhappy with, among other things, the weather (buy some waterproofs – Ed), too many people, insufficient parking and dirty or inadequate public facilities.
But there’s a sting in the tail of the report. Peak visitors are a bit – how can we put this? – stingy, spending an average of only £9.65. That’s a net gain to the economy in the area of just under £290,000. One visitor in three spent nothing at all.
The other surprising aspect of the study is the shortness of the visits. Three hours means they’re either there for a short stroll or a very fast belt up and down Kinder. Men and women visit in roughly equal numbers, with one fifth being students and a similar number retired. One group in seven brought a dog to the national park. Every tenth dog was called Spot.
Camping and caravanning were the preferred accommodation, ahead of hotels and staying with mates.
The park authority’s chief executive Jim Dixon said: “This research was done to find out the character, needs and expectations of visitors.
“It will feed into our role of fostering the social and economic wellbeing of the area, and of ensuring that the Peak District’s enduring popularity goes hand-in-hand with conserving its natural beauty, wildlife and heritage.”
The full report which, for the benefit of the third of people who belong to the Tightwad Tendency, is available free, can be seen on the Peak District National Park website. By the way, did you spot the spurious, grough-introduced statistic?