Greenspace Accessibility

The West of England Nature Partnership (WENP) is working to enhance cultural ecosystem services in the West of England by ensuring that the value of accessible greenspace is implicit in decision making across spatial planning, public health and economic development. We were recently asked by WENP to establish current greenspace accessibility for the region. There is growing evidence of the physical and mental health benefits of green spaces. Research shows that access to greenspace is associated with better health outcomes, and that income-related inequality in health is less pronounced where people have access to greenspace.

Greenspace with catchments
Catchments (light green) show regions within 300m of green space (dark green) access points, calculated using the road network

On this project we took a range of existing greenspace datasets, some of which had known access points. Where the access points were not mapped, we produced modelled access points using the Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network (ITN). We also used the ITN to produce separate ‘walkable’ road networks for urban and rural areas, based on the road category, how busy the road is likely to be, and whether the road is likely to have a pavement. For example a busy B-road in an urban area might only be walkable if it had a pavement whereas a B-road in a rural area might be walkable simply because it carries much less traffic. We then ran a routing analysis to identify all of the areas falling within a 300m travel distance of a greenspace, producing catchment areas applicable to each. The result is spatial data that will enable WENP to carry out further analysis on greenspace accessibility and identify areas that currently have no, or poor access.