Defining "Wilderness" questionnaire

"Greater effort needs to be made to find a widely acceptable definition of wilderness that is relevant to the British landscape"

This was one of the key recommendations from a recent conference on wilderness in Britain. Without proper definition it is unlikely that "wilderness" will become part of government policy on the wilder parts of the British landscape. Before trying to define what it is we mean by "wilderness" it is important to survey the views of the general public. We would therefore be grateful if you could complete the following questionnaire.

Your answers will be used to identify people's feelings about "wilderness" in Britain and write a definition that will be acceptable to as many people as possible.

Thank you for your help in this work.

Dr Steve Carver
School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT

Personal profile

Before completing the questionnaire, it would greatly help our work if you could enter a few brief details about yourself. These are not compulsory and all responses will be treated in the strictest of confidence.


Gender: Male    Female

Age group:

Profession: Please select that which most closely describes you

Professional/Managerial Clerical/Secretarial Manufacturing
Shop assistant Public sector Semi-skilled
Housewife Unemployed Academic/Educational
Student At School Retired
Other (please state)

Do you take part in outdoor activities? Yes   No

Defining "wilderness" questionnaire

1. Is "wilderness" a word that you feel describes any part of our landscape? Yes   No

2. Please explain your view if you feel it is necessary.

(If you answered "Yes" to question 1, please go to question 4)

3. If not "wilderness", what other word do you think is appropriate to the wilder parts of our landscape?

4. Which of the following words do you think best describe the wilder areas of Britain?

Please tick those that you think are good descriptions. You may enter up to 2 of your own words under "Other" or leave these blank.

Wild Natural Pristine Unaltered Remote Inaccessible
Uninhabited Unfrequented Waste Empty Tranquil Spectacular
Other (please state):
Other (please state):

5. Which one of the above terms do you feel is the most important?

6. Which of the following things do you think might benefit from the wilder areas of Britain?

Please tick those that you think might benefit. You may enter up to 2 of your own benefits under "Other" or leave these blank.

Wildlife Habitat Biodiversity Landscape Recreation Supply of clean water
Sites for scientific study Spirituality Beauty Pollution reduction Tranquillity Challenge
Other (please state):
Other (please state):

7. Which one of the above benefits do you feel is the most important?

8. What purpose would a legal definition of "wilderness" in the British landscape serve?

9. Have you any other comments?

Thank you.


You may also find the following web sites of interest…

Interactive wilderness mapping

ESRC "Wilderness Britain?" seminar series