Wild Adventure Space: its role in teenagers? lives

This study was carried out on behalf of Natural
England (formerly English
Nature and parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service)
to investigate the proposition that ?wild adventure space? can play an
important role in meeting the developmental needs of young people across
England. Its purpose is to inform Natural England?s policy development. The
role of wild adventure space for young people is explored in the light of
headline debates on risk-taking and on the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
for teenagers, as well as concerns about poor mental health, obesity and lack
of physical activity in the population. Government policies on the nature of
sustainable communities, social and environmental equity and healthy lifestyles
provide a context for investigating teenagers? engagement with wild adventure

study sets out evidence of the potential benefits for the individual
and the community arising from young people?s engagement with wild adventure
space, barriers to obtaining these benefits, gaps in understanding, issues for
further study, and opportunities for provision of relevant and necessary
resources. It recommends the action needed to take this work forward and
identifies a range of potential partners.

people- the focus has
been on young people from the age of 12 to 18. Earlier childhood
experience in relation to teenagers? use of wild adventure space is important,
but the older group?s needs have been less well studied and provided for to
date, hence the emphasis on them in this study.

adventure spaceis
taken to be outdoor space where young people have some
level of freedom in terms of activity and experience; it has been interpreted
as broadly as possible to reflect the variety of young people?s contexts and
experience. In practice, the majority of such space is predominantly natural or
semi-natural in character or contains significant natural elements within it.
We have explored all kinds of wild adventure space, whether places accessed and
supervised through structured activities offered by organisations or informal,
unsupervised places which young people find for themselves, so long as the use
not part of mainstream, formal education.

  • Website : http://www.openspace.eca.ac.uk/pdf/appendixf/OPENspacewebsite_APPENDIX_F_resource_4.pdf
  • Project start : 2007
  • Project end : 2010
  • Contact Person : Catharine Ward Thompson
  • Funding Agency : English Nature
  • Project Partners : OPENspace