We are pleased to report a very successful start to 2015, with full houses at both our January research seminar and our annual conference, which was held in March.  Please read on to hear more about the events, as well as some details about our changing secretariat service.

January 2015 Research Seminar

Values in outdoor recreation

On 30th January 2015 ORN held its annual research seminar, this time looking at the theme of values.  The event was hosted by the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham, and was jointly led by Janet Dwyer (CCRI) and Brian MacAulay of the Canal and River Trust (CRT).

The seminar was very well attended by academics, practitioners and policy makers, all of whom were attracted by the high calibre of guest speakers.  These included Dr Alex Franklin and Dr Ria Dunkley from Cardiff University, Olivier Vardakoulias from NEF Consulting, Professor Alister Scott from Birmingham City University and Professor Diane Crone, University of Gloucestershire.

The day was designed to explore the concept of ‘values’ in outdoor recreation, both in terms of economic value and the wider social and cultural value.  The above speakers gave presentations covering the ecosystem and other approaches, bolstered by two group discussions delving deeper still into the arguments made by our speakers.  Delegates also split into three groups to consider a potential strategy for more effective relationships between ORN members and the academic community. Recognising the mutual benefits in ensuring a strong dialogue going forward, the groups were asked to identify what resources we currently have, what are the priorities and how do we coordinate outputs.

Notes and presentaions from the seminar are available here                                                                                                                                                                              

2015 Annual conference

On the 10th and 11th March 2015 we delivered our annual conference on the theme of public health and outdoor recreation.  This year's conference was held in Newport, Wales and attracted some 82 delegates.

The 2-day event provided an opportunity for delegates to participate in a range of outdoor recreation initiatives through the site visit to Tredegar Estate, which is managed by the National Trust.  These activities included nordic walking, bushcraft, and a tour of the estate allottment project.  This was followed by a wide range of keynote presentations and interactive workshops, along with a boulevard display showcasing some of the best examples of how outdoor recreation is being used to enhance public health across the UK.

The event was lead by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and delivered in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and the National Trust in Wales.

Conference proceedings are currently underway and will be published in our forthcoming e-journal later this Spring.  In the meantime you can view presentations here.


New ORN Secretariat

For the past three years the Network's secretariat services have been provided by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI).  We would like to take this opportunity to thank ORNI for the excellent job it has done organising our events and activities over the years, and we look forward to their continued membership of the Network.

We would also like to welcome the AKTA Partnership, who have been appointed to deliver the new secretariat contract for the coming three years.  AKTA are a private consultancy who bring with them a wealth of experience in managing networks like ours.

AKTA will commence its contract on 1st April 2015.

The primary contact person at AKTA is Anita Prosser, whom you can reach on:

Email or +44 (0)747 4949 444

We look forward to working with AKTA!

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