• Public access for walking in the Irish countryside – Can supply be improved?

      Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (School of Biology and Environmental Science at University College Dublin in association with Teagasc, 30/06/2008)
      Public access to the Irish countryside for walking and recreation generally is a contentious issue. Increased affluence, mobility and changing values have brought about increased demands with respect to recreation in the countryside. There is also a greater emphasis on consumption demands for goods and services in rural areas. However, provision of a walking product has not been without problems in Ireland. This paper focuses on how public access provision for recreational walking might be enhanced by exploring the situation and precedent in a cross section of European and other developed nations and by examining the concerns of landowners especially with regard to public liability. Supply side factors affecting public access provision are examined in an economic context and a discussion is offered on how the supply might be improved. In the absence of compulsion through legislation, which seems unlikely in an Irish context, this paper contends that the supply of public access is dependent on factors such as cost of provision, potential monetary incentives and landowner preferences. Finally, a change to the Occupiers Liability Act to a definitive enter at your own risk situation would help dissipate liability concerns.
    • Public access to the countryside: An exploration of the costs and benefits of farmland walking trails

      Howley, Peter; Doherty, Edel; Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; green, stuart; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      To date, estimates of individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) for access to the countryside have typically been on sites of special interest such as developed walking routes, public rights of way in specific areas, national parks and forests (see Lockwood and Tracy, 1995; Bennett and Tranter, 1997; Crabtree and MacDonald, 1997; Liston-Heyes and Heyes, 1999; Garrod et al., 1998; Bennett et al., 2003; Buckley et al., 2009; Morris et al., 2009). There has been little if any attempt to derive estimates of individuals’ WTP for the provision of walking trails in the wider countryside at a national level. The present study aims to build on previous work by examining the demand for particular types of walking trails through a nationally representative survey of the Irish population. One further advantage of this research is that apart from valuing walking activities in a generic sense this paper investigates what types of investment in facilities associated with walking trails generate the greatest welfare gains. Furthermore, using a nationally representative survey of the farming population this paper examines farmers’ willingness to participate in a hypothetical walking scheme whereby the general public will be allowed access to specific trails. First by way of background this paper will discuss the situation in relation to access rights to the countryside across a number of countries. Second this paper will outline the research approach which is followed with a discussion of the empirical results. Finally this paper will conclude with a discussion of the papers main findings and their implications for the provision of public access to the countryside.
    • Recreational demand for farm commonage in Ireland: A contingent valuation assessment

      Buckley, Cathal; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Hynes, Stephen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Elsevier Inc., 2009-07)
      This paper measures willingness to pay (WTP) for public access and trail improvements on commonage farmland for recreational walking in upland and lowland areas of Connemara region in the West of Ireland using the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). Common to both upland and lowland commonage sites was the much higher ranking for infrastructural features by those WTP for scenario implementation compared to those preferring the status quo. Results for those expressing a positive WTP reveal a median willingness to pay (MWTP) for formal access with improved trail infrastructure of €12.22 for the lowlands compared with €9.08 for the uplands.
    • Walking in the Irish countryside – Landowner preferences and attitudes to improved public access provision

      Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Doherty, Edel; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Taylor & Francis, 18/11/2009)
      This paper explores the attitudes of landowners across Ireland to the wider provision of public access for recreational walking using a multinomial logit model. The study also investigates the level of compensation required to improve the supply of this public good. Results indicate that 51% of landowners are not willing to provide access (non providers), 21% are willing to provide access free of charge (free providers) and 28% seek compensation (willing providers). Our findings indicate that participation by landowners in a proposed public access scheme is influenced by landowners’ experience with walkers, farm type, farm insurance costs, household demographics, regional variations, opportunity cost of land and participation in other agri-environment schemes. Mean willingness to accept for landowners willing to facilitate improved public access for walking was found to be €0.27 per metre of walkway.
    • What are the financial returns to agriculture from a common property resource? A case study of Irish commonage

      Buckley, Cathal; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Hynes, Stephen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2008-07)
      Commonage in the Republic of Ireland has traditionally been used for agricultural activity, mainly livestock grazing. In recent times due to its prevailing common property characteristics and upland landscape, this resource is increasingly attracting the interest of recreational enthusiasts. However, the potential opportunity costs associated with recreation – namely the commercial value of sheep and cattle grazing on commonage remains to be investigated. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature by analysing the agricultural returns from livestock rearing enterprises on commonage land for a sample of farmers in the west of Ireland. Results indicate that stocking rates are three times higher on privately owned land compared to shared commonage. Over 80 per cent of the farms in the sample had a gross margin under €20,000. In total, 96 per cent of gross margin was found to be attributable to Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments; with area based payments twice as important as direct livestock subsidies.