Whilst most of us would argue that we prefer a wilderness environment there are many hikers who want to introduce their children or friends which might be new to the hiking scene, to safer, milder, cultured environments. The questionnaires in the Green Flag assessment studies indicate, on the basis of 12 parameters, what the character of the environment is.

The type of environment is classified as either being “pristine”, “natural”, or rural”. It is portrayed with a symbol of 1, 2 or 3 trees. (“Pristine” would typically be wilderness areas and is depicted by three trees. “Natural” areas (2 trees) might be forestry/plantation areas whilst “rural” is a farming environment with a one tree symbol. (“Semi-urban” landscapes, representing Urban Green Belts are also identified).