What is the Outdoor Recreation Research Group (ORRG)?

We are the first cross-disciplinary research group in the UK looking at the growing sector of outdoor recreation from all perspectives. Bringing together economists, social scientists, ecologists, engineers and behavioural change specialists and tourism experts. We are the home of expertise in the way we design and use outdoor spaces and measure the impact to the economy, the environment and wellbeing of populations.

What do we do?

We work with local authorities, health authorities, national bodies, the sport and physical activity industry, local providers and anybody else with an interest in outdoor recreation to provide research evidence, expertise and consultancy.

Work we have undertaken

ORRG were commissioned by Sheffield City Council to report on the size, scale, and scope of Sheffield’s ‘Outdoor Economy’. The strength of the data that we provided led to Sheffield declaring itself ‘The Outdoor City’ and the launching of an outdoor strategy (The Outdoor City Economic Strategy 2015) and accompanying marketing campaign. Read the report Everything grows outside - including jobs and the economy: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/content/images/fromassets/100_7204_310816121610.pdf

The Outdoor City brand continues to grow and Maxine Gregory and Prof Rob Copeland from ORRG have supported this development since 2015 through their roles on the project steering group.

Developing Active Environments

Since 2016, ORRG has been working with and supporting Harworth Estates to develop their flagship Waverley site using an ‘Active Environment’ concept. The innovative ORRG project has brought together specialists in community consultation and engagement, along with design and technology experts to develop and test concepts. Reporting on the project is due soon, but you can read more information here:


Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership (SLLP)

In 2017 ORRG was commissioned to provide an ‘Access and Gateways Appraisal’ to inform the development of the Landscape Conservation Action Plan for a £2.8 million Heritage Lottery Funded project. ORRG’s most interdisciplinary project to date, combined consultation and engagement work with expertise focused on environmental and ecosystem protection, local history and heritage, access, mapping and surveying. The end product was highly commended and supported the development and implementation of the project going forwards. The feedback received from the client included the following comments:

“You took considerable care to understand what it was we were trying to achieve and to explore priorities. The volume and quality of data collected considerably exceeded expectations and gave a real robustness underpinning the access projects in the programme. I have attached the projects that we developed as a result of your report - which hopefully is a good way of demonstrating how useful it was. The fact that this was achieved at a difficult time of year weather-wise and in a compressed time-frame was also impressive. The contribution to the statement of significance was excellent and broader than just access / accessibility issues. Thank you for an excellent piece of work - you were a pleasure to work with and hope we can work with you again in the future”.

Claire Watts, Consultation and Engagement Officer, Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership.

Contact us orrg@shu.ac.uk