Policy & Lobbying
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 works 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 monitors the impacts of the right of access on rural businesses.
  • Scottish Land & Estates works 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 and awareness 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.  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.  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 here.

Working with the Government to ensure public good benefits from outdoor access are properly recognised and funded
Scottish Land & Estates works on a number of fronts to ensure that public goods and services obtained from private land is properly recognised and funded.  Access is one such area.

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.  

    Legislation & Guidance

    • 18/09/2012 - The Business Case for Developing Outdoor Access Infrastructure
      There are many farmers and landowners who feel that investing in the provision of outdoor access infrastructure will not generate a return for their business.  Whilst it is true to say that landowners cannot put up a turnstile at the start of a path or foot of a hill and charge the public for being on the ground, Scottish outdo

    • 10/11/2011 - Guidance on hosting / leading activities for visits to Farms and Estates
      The official responsibility for publicising the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which provides guidance on access rights and responsibilities, lies with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the 34 access authorities in Scotland (32 local authorities, plus the 2 national park authorities).  Much has already been achieved in thi

    • 01/07/2010 - Managing Access: Guidance for Owners and Managers of Land
      This Scottish Land & Estates publication is intended to provide owners and managers of land with information that will assist their positive management of land/inland water available for outdoor access in ways that should not bring them into conflict with the provisions in Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, "the acc
      Log in to

    • 01/07/2010 - Using Inland Water Responsibly
      This Guidance, developed by a partnership of Scottish Land and Estates, the Scottish Canoe Association, Paths for All and Scottish Natural Heritage, is intended to assist all water users to share inland water in Scotland in such a way that the interests of all are considered and respected.  The Guidance, developed through a pro

    • 01/07/2010 - Equestrian Access in Scotland
      This guidance document clarifies the right of access in Scotland for equestrian users and provides further detailed advice on how this right can be exercised responsibly so as not to unreasonable interfere with land management practices.  It has been developed jointly by Scottish Land & Estates and the British Horse Society in

    • 01/07/2010 - Detailed guidance about equestrian access on different types of land use
      This guidance document, produced jointly by Scottish Land & Estates and the British Horse Society (Scotland), describes various types of use land in Scotland is likely to be put to and how horseriders can access that land in a way that is responsible.

    • 01/04/2011 - Poster for Dog Walkers on Diseases in Livestock
      This poster was produced by Scottish Natural Heritage in collaboration with Scottish Land and Estates, NFU Scotland, the Kennel Club and the Scottish Canine Consultative Council.  It provides advice to dog walkers on two particularly problematic diseases in livestock that can be passed on through dog faeces.  It was distribute

    • 01/04/2011 - Guidance to Access Authorities on Disease in Livestock transmitted by dogs
      Scottish Land and Estates have worked in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage, the NFU Scotland, the Kennel Club and the Scottish Canine Consultative Council to produce the following advice for local authority access teams and local access forums.  The guidance covers two partiuclarly problematic diseases in livestock wh

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