A growing body of literature has shown that the experience of visitors to the countryside for nature appreciation and other outdoor activities can be enhanced on one hand by natural sounds and degraded on the other by extraneous noises emanating from aircraft, road traffic and visitors
themselves. It has also been postulated that the positive and negative effects of these natural and extraneous sounds are defined by the ambient acoustic setting and the context defined by the landscape, human aspirations, and activities undertaken by the visitors. A study was undertaken in
the Country Parks of Hong Kong, aimed at characterizing the extraneous noise intrusions and determining their effects on the response of Country Park visitors. A questionnaire survey was administered to over 700 visitors, and acoustic measurements were made, at several locations representing
different contexts. The study found that the ambient acoustic setting did have an effect on human response to extraneous noise. Similarly, the types of activities undertaken by the visitors mediated their annoyance reactions toward extraneous aircraft noise. The results provide a scientific
basis to help formulate policies and plans for the protection and management of countryside soundscapes.
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