survey should be compiled of the landscape by walking or riding through it, to identify and record features of interest. These might include viewpoints of various kinds (see below), peaks, narrow valleys, waterfalls, ponds and lakes, cliffs and rock features, stands of special trees, areas of meadow, archaeological or heritage sites, shorelines, caves, dense vegetation, bogs, areas attractive to wild animals, sand dunes, islands, and sunny places at different times of day. All of these are attractive features that people are likely to be drawn to compared with the less obvious, hidden areas, which nevertheless contribute to the spirit of the place.
Hazardous areas and sensitive features where access is undesirable must also be surveyed: examples are cliffs, steep loose slopes, easily eroded sand-dunes, wetlands, deep water, areas where dangerous wild animals congregate, old mine shafts, dangerous currents, very cold water, vulnerable archaeological sites, areas where disturbance of wildlife and places for solitude may be a problem, and dangerous caves.
As with all recreation provision, the trails need to provide a reasonable match between the various visitor requirements and the features that the area has to offer. A large demand and a limited area might suggest wider, better-surfaced paths, as dispersal and lower use would not be feasible. The demand may already have been established at the planning stage or it may be obvious because of existing use gradually built up over some time.