Access to greenspace for people in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole

Access to greenspace for people in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole

Dorset Green Health - access to greenspace for people in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole

The Dorset Green Health map has been developed to show how access to greenspace varies across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.  It helps highlight opportunities to make greenspace more accessible where it is needed most. Dorset Green Health is a collaboration between Public Health Dorset (PHD) and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) at the University of Exeter.

The map below shows the percentage of people who live within 300 metres walk of greenspaces of different sizes. Use the drop -down menu on the side to explore different options on the map below:

  • The percentage of people who live withn 300 metres walk of any greenspace
  • The percentage of people who live within 300 metres walk of a greenspace of 0.5 hectares in size or bigger
  • The percentage of people who live within 300 metres walk of a greenspace of 1 hectare in size or bigger

Why is it important for us to have access to green spaces?

Spending time in green spaces, such as nature reserves, the countryside or in urban parks, has been shown to be beneficial for our health and wellbeing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) consider that ‘the need for greenspace and its value for health and wellbeing is universal’. It’s important that we have greenspace close by so that we can incorporate contact with it into everyday life. It’s easier to visit greenspace on our doorstep than it is to travel to access one, but the question is how much do we need and how close should it be? The WHO think that all of us should live within 300 metres safe walk of a greenspace that’s open to the public, so we’ve used this distance for assessing accessibility locally.

What do we mean by greenspace?

We’ve used greenspace to describe a range of different natural spaces – parks, public gardens, woodland, public rights of way in the countryside and others. We’ve pulled together data from a variety of different sources, but we might have missed some greenspaces. Let us know if you notice something we’ve missed so we can improve Dorset Green Health.

What is an accessible greenspace?

An accessible greenspace is one that’s freely open to the public for use. We haven’t included private gardens, or places you have to pay an entry free to visit. For this project we haven’t tried to include data on other features that determine how accessible a greenspace is like whether they include facilities for all age groups or whether the paths are walkable for people who are less mobile for example. These characteristics are important, but we wanted to start by including all the greenspaces we have data on. Our next step will be to identify how access to different types of greenspaces varies.


To create Dorset Green Health we needed to understand:

  • the locations of publicly accessible greenspaces in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.
  • where the entrances to those spaces are (access points)
  • how roads, footpaths and pavements connect to make a ‘walkable network’ across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.

We combined data from a variety of sources to create a single map of publicly accessible greenspaces. We wanted to try to replicate as closely how people choose to walk around their neighbourhood, so we removed sections of road that would be unsafe to walk on in real life e.g. A-roads without pavements.  And we created access points where the walkable network met the boundary of a greenspace in our database to represent where people enter those spaces.

We used all of this data to model how many people live within walking distances of different sizes of greenspace. The results were used to create the maps you can view in Dorset Green Health.

Data sources

Thank you to the following who have provided data for this project: