Fife has been crowned the number one destination in Scotland for people wanting to enjoy the great outdoors.

According to the most recent ‘Scotland’s People and Nature Survey 20013/14’, commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage, the region’s outdoor sites receive approximately 31.7million visits every year, making it the most visited region in the country.

Incredibly, Fife is the only region to have ever received the accolade, a stunning run of success dating back to the first survey in 2004.

A record-breaking 82 per cent of those questioned had visited the outdoors for recreation during the past 12 months, with half doing so at least once a week.

Exercise (43 per cent) was the top reason for people visiting the great outdoors while walking a dog came a close second (42 per cent). Family outings accounted for 15 per cent of the total.

Almost two thirds of those questioned (66 per cent) chose the countryside or a coastal spot for their outdoor visits.

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT), the charity which manages
 and maintains Fife’s outdoor sites including the Fife Coastal Path, welcomed the news.

Its chief executive Amanda McFarlane was delighted with the latest results.

She said: “This is brilliant news for Fife and shows how important the outdoors is to residents and for tourism.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have some amazing places for people to visit such as the Fife Coastal Path, Lochore Meadows Country Park and the Lomond Hills and it is great to know that they are being so well used.

“Our paths and beaches are not only fun for all the family, they are free to use and can give everyone the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy all of the health benefits that this brings. These reports are a great way of recognising all of the hard work that goes into making sure that people have a great experience in Fife’s great outdoors.”

Depute Council Leader Councillor Lesley Laird, commented: “This is a fantastic endorsement of the positive work carried out by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and Fife Council.

“Receiving this award for so many years is a major achievement and confirms that Fife is not only the best place to live, but to visit as well.”

Katherine Leys, operations manager of Scottish Natural Heritage said: “The quality of the outdoor spaces in Fife is well known to those of us lucky enough to live here. Once again this survey shows that many others value them too and we are delighted that so many people are taking the opportunity to get out and about and enjoy Fife.”

Full details of the latest Scotland’s People and Nature Survey can be found on Scottish Natural Heritage website