According to new figures, around 2.8 million people regularly go hill walking - making it more 'popular' than football, cricket and rugby put together.
The figure was recorded in Sport England's latest 'Active Lives' survey, which is designed to monitor participation in different sports and activities across the nation.
It estimates hill walking is England's sixth most popular activity, with 2,811,300 regular participants in 'hill and mountain walking'. The survey found there were 315,000 regular participants in 'climbing and bouldering'.
Previous surveys included both hill walking and climbing under a broader category of 'climbing and mountaineering', but the two were seperated this year for the first time.
The new figures show that as a regular activity hill walking exceeds the popularity of football (2,036,00 regular partcipants), cricket (292,000) and rugby union (228,000) combined.
Sport England say their research appears to show that the popularity of hill walking is increasing in line with a massive increase in the popularity of walking overall.
Walkers climbing Scafell Pike via the Brown Tongue route. Photo: Fix the Fells
However, they acknowledge there is a possibility that some of this apparent increase may be attributable to better data capture. For example, respondents to previous surveys may not have recognised hill walking as part of 'climbing and mountaineering', leading to it being under-represented.
So it may be the case that the figures are revealing the 'true' popularity of hill walking as the methodology behind the survey changes, rather than indicating a drastic increase.
As these are the first results in this form, future surveys will help build up a more accurate picture.
The figure of 315,000 regular participants in 'climbing and bouldering' encompasses both indoor and outdoor climbing.
A breakdown of the split between the two is not yet available.
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From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.
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