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Outdoor Recreation Valuation tool (ORVal)

The Outdoor Recreation Valuation tool (ORVal) is a web application developed by the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy (LEEP) Institute at the University of Exeter with funding support provided by DEFRA.

The primary purpose is to provide information that might be useful to government, businesses and communities in understanding the benefits that are derived from accessible greenspace in England, for example, as part of strategic or project appraisal, policy evaluation or natural capital accounting.

The ORVal tool is based on a sophisticated model of recreational demand for outdoor green space estimated from data collected in the annual Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey. The model can be used to estimate the levels of visitation to existing or newly created green spaces and to derive monetary measures of the value households attach to the recreational opportunities provided by those sites.

ORVal also allows users to learn something about the nature of those different sites; it provides a large variety of additional layers that users can display on the map. Those layers provide information on the land cover, land uses, water margins, special designations and points of interest to be found in or near each recreation site.

The ORVal tool allows users to access the power of this tool through a map-based web interface. It can be accessed at:

ORVal has three key functions;

  • It allows users to explore the usage and welfare values that are generated by currently accessible greenspaces. Welfare values can be viewed at individual site level or aggregated by regions.
  • It allows users to estimate how usage and welfare values might change if the characteristics of a recreational greenspace were changed.
  • It allows users to draw new recreation sites on the map, define their characteristics and estimate the usage and welfare values that might be generated by creating that new greenspace in that particular location 


ORVal recently featured in the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan where the government commit to:
"Continuing our ground-breaking work with Exeter University to update the world-leading Outdoor Recreation Valuation Tool (ORVal) in 2018."