Hiking and Walking Statistics UK: How Popular is hiking in the UK in 2024?

hiking statistics 2024
Hiking (or even just getting out for a quick walk) has a whole host of benefits for both mental and physical health. And for many of us, it's also just fun. But how popular is hiking in the UK in 2024? And where are the most popular hiking spots in the country?

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Hiking is a great activity for overall physical health and mental health too. But ultimately, for the many of us who make it a part of our lives, it’s also great fun (even if we don’t always appreciate the fun side of it until we’re down from the windy, rainy mountain).

We probably all know someone who took up more walking during the Covid pandemic when our daily exercise was limited and we had little else we could go do! But as 2024 is underway, how many people in the UK are still hiking and walking?

We take a look in our 2024 round up of hiking statistics for the UK.

Hiking Statistics: The Short Route

Only want the fast facts? Here you go:

  • 23% of Brits would describe themselves as “hikers”
  • 15% of Brits expects to hike at least monthly in 2024
  • A further
  • There’s an average of 114,000 searches per month in Google UK for “walks near me”
  • As of January 2024, there are over 84 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag #hiking

How Many People in the UK Hike or Walk?

Almost a quarter of Brits would describe themselves as hikers. That’s according to a November 2020 study by Mintel. This showed the figure had increased from 16% in 2019 – potentially brought about by the fact that many people took up rambling, walking and hiking more through lockdowns.

But what about in 2024?

We surveyed 2,000 people in January 2024 and found that 15% intend to hike at least monthly in 2024.

But there’s huge variation in this gender to gender and even across age ranges. So let’s dive into it.

Hiking Statistics – 2024 UK Survey

We asked 2,000 people in January 2024 (with the help of a market research company):

  • What sporting/fitness activities, if any, do you expect you`ll do at least monthly on average in 2024? (Tick all that apply)

We then gave a long list of activities, plus the option for the respondents to select and tell us about others.

15.5% selected “hiking/rambling.”

Here’s how that breaks down by age and gender though.

How Many People Hike (by Gender)?

Let’s look at the data:

 Proportion Who Will Hike At Least Monthly in 2024
Men17.83%
Women13.07%

Hiking Statistics UK Gender

In other words, men are likelier than women to hike at least monthly.

Hiking Popularity by Age

Another thing that influencers the likelihood of someone hiking at least monthly. Here are the statistics from our survey:

 Proportion Who Will Hike At Least Monthly in 2024
16 – 247.36%
25 – 3412.77%
35 – 4413.66%
45 – 5417.03%
55+19.44%

Hiking Statistics UK by age 2024

Hiking is more popular amongst older people in the UK than younger people.  While just over 7% of the youngest respondents in our survey plan to hike monthly, almost 1 in 5 of the over 55s plan to do so.

Hiking Online and on Social Media

hiking online and on social media

Of course, there’s a sizable community of hikers online seeking out information like trails or gear reviews. And there are plenty of hikers sharing their own hikes. Honestly, hiking content is pretty much the only reason I personally bother with Instagram or Tiktok these days! But just how big is hiking online? Let’s take a look at the statistics.

  • There are an average of 114,000 searches per month in Google UK for “walks near me” according data we sourced from kwfinder.com
  • However, the peak month was January 2021 (lockdown) when over 201,000 searches for the same query were made

People also search for gear and advice in Google. Here’s a table showing some example queries and the average number of searches in Google UK :

QueryAvg Searches Per Month in 2023 (Google UK)
Hiking boots32200
walking boots60800
walking routes near me4,400
hikes near me12200
walking poles7600
walking groups near me5400

And this really does represent such a tiny fraction of the millions upon millions of searches made each month across thousands of hiking related queries.

Hiking is a big deal on social media too.

At the time of writing (January 2024) there are millions of posts on Instagram relating to hiking. Here’s how many hashtag uses there are of popular hiking related hashtags:

  • #hiking – 84.5 million
  • #hikingadventures – 16.4 million
  • #hikingtrails – 2 million
  • #ukhiking – 120,000

hiking on instagram

There are thousands of users sharing their hiking photos and videos under these hashtags. Personally, I highly recommend a browse for your next hike inspiration!

Government Figures for Walking

Now, of course, keen walkers don’t only have to be trekking up hills and bagging mountain summits. Day to day walking is important too. The Government releases figures about walking and here’s what we learned from the latest version:

  • The average person in England walked 221 miles in 2022
  • The average person in England spent around 90 minutes per week walking in 2022
  • An average of 4% of all distance travelled in 2022 by people in England was covered on foot

Walk it off…

So whatever our reasons for walking and hiking, it seems this is a much loved pursuit with a raft of health benefits and practical purposes too.

Are you planning to hike much in 2024? I’m just waiting for all these storms to do one and I’ll be donning my boots for an adventure or two (or three…).

 

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