A statutory right of access to most land and inland water has existed in Scotland since February 2005. The legislation that created this right, Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
, places reciprocal obligations on access takers and land managers to behave reasonably and responsibly in terms of the exercise and facilitation of access rights.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code
has been developed to give further detailed guidance on how responsible behaviour might be achieved by both those accessing the countryside and land managers.
Scottish Land & Estates’s policy position is as follows:
- Scottish Land & Estates is working in partnership with other relevant organisations and government agencies to ensure that both access takers and land managers understand the obligations that accompany the right of access.
- Scottish Land & Estates is monitoring the impacts of the right of access on rural businesses.
- Scottish Land & Estates is working in partnership with other relevant organisations and government agencies to find new and innovative solutions in areas where public access places a burden on land management.
- Scottish Land & Estates continues to call for appropriate levels of public funding to be available to facilitate public access to private land.
- Scottish Land & Estates continues to call for a strong and well funded public outdoor access education campaign.
Current areas of work:
Representation on access fora and other bodies
Scottish Land & Estates sits on the National Access Forum which meets 3 times a year. We are actively involved in a number of the Forum's subgroups such as the Stalking Communications and Intensive Use Issues groups. The organisation is also represented by members on most of Scotland's 34 local access forums. Scottish Land & Estates has a place on the Scottish Countryside Access Network Committee and on the British Horse Society Scotland's Access Committee. We are a partner organisation in the Paths for All Partnership.
Developing communication and mutual understanding
For a number of years Scottish Land & Estates has been involved in promoting better communication and mutual understanding between land managers and those who use the countryside recreationally. One example of this work is our active assistance in Scottish Natural Heritage's development of the Heading for the Scottish Hills webservice. Other contributors to this project include the Mountaineering Council for Scotland and the Association of Deer Management Groups. View the Heading for the Scottish Hills webservice pilot here.
Working with the Government to ensure public good benefits from outdoor access are properly recognised and funded
Scottish Land & Estates, working with other land management and recreational user organisations, has entered an ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government on our desired shape for future funding for outdoor access and recreation through the next Scotland Rural Development Programme.
Information and Advice
Scottish Land & Estates has developed an extensive range of guidance materials designed to assist land managers to successfully integrate outdoor access with their own management activities. These materials are available below.