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.  

    Access News

    • 18/11/2016 - Scottish Outdoor Access Network (SOAN) celebrates 21 years
      An event was held at Battleby, Perth to celebrate 21 years of SOAN. To mark this coming of age a networking event was organised earlier this week. Attended by over 40 people, the day covered the impact of recent changes to the legislative framework around c

    • 06/09/2016 - Borders National Park - Briefing Paper 6th Sept 2016
      Click on the link below to read the latest briefing note "Governance, Powers/Responsibilities and Management of a Borders National Park".  At this stage of the consultation process, all feedback is welcome and encouraged.

    • 26/01/2016 - Landowners welcome Loch Lomond camping measures
      Scottish Land & Estates has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to regulate camping in several areas around the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Following an extensive public consultation conducted last year, Scottish Land & Estates

    • 20/01/2016 - Drumlean Estate wins outdoor access case
      In a decision announced earlier today, Sheriff Cameron at Stirling Sheriff Court has found in favour of the owner of Drumlean Estate in an action taken by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority.  The Park Authority served notice on Drumlean Estate to the effect that three locked gates should be opened to en

    • 29/10/2015 - Pentland Hills Park extension evidence session
      Policy Officer, Anne Gray, gave evidence at Holyrood this week to the Pentland Hills Regional Park Boundary Bill Committee.  Backing up our written evidence, Anne told the Committee she was unaware of public demand for the extension and that she strongly believed that funding for the extension needed to be clearly identif

    • 19/08/2015 - SRDP: Improving public Access option opens
      The SRDP ‘Improving Public Access’ option opened to applications on Monday (17th August).  There is a limited funding pot available through the Scotland Rural Development Programme for paths and other outdoor access infrastructure.  Anyone interested is advised to apply promptly.  For details go

    • 12/08/2015 - Taking the Lead - Advice for land managers to encourage responsible dog walking
      Dog walkers allowing their dogs to worry livestock or leave dog dirt behind are problems many farmers and land owners struggle with every day.  Scottish Land & Estates, NFU Scotland, the Kennel Club and the Scottish Kennel Club have been working with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to develop “Taking the Lead

    • 16/04/2015 - Interested in joining Perth and Kinross Outdoor Access Forum?
      Perth and Kinross Outdoor Access Forum AGM will be held on Thursday 30th April at the Bankfoot Church Centre (Moneydie Church) Bankfoot, Perthshire 18.30-21.00.  Anyone with an interested is invited along.  There  will be a short talk by Morag Watson on the work of the Perth and Kinross

    • 16/10/2014 - Camping byelaws extension proposed
      Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park has started a consultation on increasing the areas covered by byelaws in relation to wild camping and other anti-social behaviour within the Park. Scottish Land & Estates will be responding to this consultation and any thoughts members have on the matter wo

    • 20/08/2014 - New planning controls on farm and forestry tracks
      Local Government and Planning Minister, Derek Mackay announced on Wednesday that he had revisited an earlier decision on the regulation of farm and forestry tracks and now proposes the introduction of a prior notification and approval process.  This is likely to be introduced later this year.

    • 05/08/2014 - Great Glen Way - 'high route' launched
      One of Scotland's Great Trails, The Great Glen Way, which has been upgraded with a 17km section of newly completed high level alternative, has had the new section officially opened today (Tuesday 5 August) by author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish. The £1m project, managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, moved

    • 22/01/2014 - Core Paths closures enabled
      A Modification Order has been introduced that enables the formal closure of core paths in Scotland.  Closure can be in the event of a disease outbreak, such as foot and mouth, or where a Section 11 order is used to temporarily exempt access rights, for example to allow an event to take place.  P

    • 21/01/2014 - Scottish Land & Estates Welcomes Agricultural Holdings Survey Announcement
      Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, welcomed surveys as part of the review of Agricultural Holdings Legislation.   He said: “We support this survey

    • 24/09/2013 - Scotland’s outdoor habits revealed over 10-year period
      Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has today published the latest results from the Scottish Recreation Survey which has surveyed more than 100,000 people in Scotland over almost a decade on their use of the outdoors. The Scottish Recreation Survey (ScRS) annual re

    • 19/09/2013 - Consultation on temp closure of core paths
      Scottish Land and Estates has this week responded to a Government consultation on an Order that would allow core paths to be temporarily close in some circumstances, such as for events or in the case of an exotic

    • 04/07/2013 - SNH re-launch constructed tracks best practice guidance
      Scottish Natural Heritage has this week re-launched their excellent guidance document “Constructed Tracks in the Scottish Uplands”. This guidance should be used by anyone considering development of a track on private land and it can be viewed/downloaded here

    • 30/05/2013 - Riders reminded to take care of the grass!
        Think before you ride over that lovely tempting grass field is the message from The British Horse Society in Scotland to those hacking out this May. This is because depending on the stage of growth, riders could be outs

    • 30/05/2013 - Angling and rafting issues discussed at National Access Forum
      At last week’s National Access Forum meeting, Scottish Anglers National Association highlighted on-going tensions between anglers and recreational users, including some commercial rafting groups.  Other discussion included a call for enhanced PR around dog-walking access through livestock field

    • 11/04/2013 - Heading for the Scottish Hills - 2013
        Scottish Natural Heritage has confirmed that the Heading for the Scottish Hills web-service will run again in 2013.  The service, which is proving popular with over 14,000 page views last year, was expanded last year so that it covered 71 stalking properties in total.

    • 11/04/2013 - Greenspace funding boosts access in central belt
        Nine greenspace projects are to share nearly £500,000 in funding from the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Development Fund.    The CSGN stretches from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire

    • 10/04/2013 - Walkers Should Be Vigilant As First Lambs Appear
        Scottish Land & Estates and Ramblers Scotland are urging walkers, especially those with dogs, to ensure that they are vigilant and keep their pets under proper control whe

    • 14/03/2013 - SNH continue to target responsible access message at dog owners
      SNH carried out research late last year to establish where best to focus future Code communications, particularly as TV adverts are now prohibitively expensive.  Dog issues (particularly dog waste and dog control) came out as the top concern with a wide range of stakeholder groups, and radio was the recommended

    • 11/02/2013 - John Muir Trail - Land Managers' Briefing February 2013
      Additional long distance routes to expand Scotland’s Great Trails network Scottish Natural Heritage’s Long Distance Routes Project Board has agreed to several new routes being included in the Scotland’s Great Trails branded network for 2013.  The routes are the Cross Borders Drove Road, Mull of Galloway Trail, and t

    • 09/12/2012 - Upper Tay Rafting and Angling dispute resolved
       After further discussion between the two parties, the rafting and angling interests on the Upper Tay have reached a compromise agreement that will avoid the need for a legal case.  Angling interests had brought an action against Perth & Kinross Council (as required un

    • 02/11/2012 - Scottish Outdoor Access Code campaign
      SNH is currently conducting a review of its campaigns to promote the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. As part of this process, they are conducting a short survey, which has been prepared by the Union consultancy on behalf of SNH, to help gather views. This can be found at

    • 22/10/2012 - Scottish Government publish 9th annual monitoring figures since introduction of access legislation
      The Scottish Government has recently published monitoring information on the operation of various aspects of Scotland’s access legislation for the year 2011/12.  This information is gathered from local authorities and the two national park authorities each year.  It includes information on the use of local author

    • 30/08/2012 - Situations Vacant: Local Outdoor Access Forum Representatives Required
      Scottish Land & Estates is currently looking for members to represent land management interests on local outdoor access forums. Caithness & Sutherland Forum is without a Scottish Land & Estates member representative and Perth & Kinross Local Access Forum is looking for a land manager to act as cover for our existing m

    • 23/05/2012 - New long distance route from Helensburgh to Dunbar – are you on the John Muir Trail?
      A new long distance route, the John Muir Trail, is being developed by Scottish Natural Heritage working with local authorities.  The route will be promoted as part of Scotland’s Great Trails an initiative which Scottish Land & Estates highlighted to members in the Spring edition of LandBusiness. The aim is to use,

    • 30/04/2012 - Dog Walkers Warned to Take Extra Care Around Sheep
      In light of a recent spate of dog attacks on sheep and wildlife, Scottish Land & Estates and Ramblers Scotland have teamed up to urge dog-walkers to ensure that they keep their pets under proper control when they are out and about in the countryside. Helen Todd, Development Officer with Ramblers Scotland comm

    • 23/02/2012 - Rafting decision recalled
      A case on the River Tay which initially appeared to have a positive outcome for fishing interests is now to be reheard.  The Upper Tay Riparian Owners’ Association (UTROA) and Aberfeldy Angling Club used the Land Reform (Scotland) Act’s Section 28 procedure to seek a Sheriff’s decision on whether commercial ra

    • 03/02/2012 - Managing access with dogs on protected sites
      A final version of the National Access Forum's guidance on managing access with dogs to safeguard breeding birds in protected areas is now available at: http://www.outdooraccess-s

    • 20/12/2011 - Scottish Land & Estates Responds to Temporary Closure of Core Paths Consultation
      Scottish Land & Estates have today (20 December) responded to the Scottish Government’s proposed amendment to Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which will enable the temporary closure of core paths for events and other such activities. Scottish Land & Estates believes this change to the access legislatio

    • 21/11/2011 - Scottish Government consultation on Modification Order to enable temporary closure of core paths
      As things stand at present core paths cannot be temporarily closed.  A clause in Scotland’s access legislation means that while there is a procedure to allow access rights to be temporarily suspended over an area of ground where they would normally app

    • 13/10/2011 - Situations Vacant: Outdoor Access Representatives required
      Scottish Land & Estates is currently looking for members to represent land management interests at local access forum and countryside trust level. Stirling and Scottish Borders Local Access Forums are without a Scottish Land & Estates member representative and we would like to recruit a suitable member to represent la

    • 30/09/2011 - SNH Publish Outdoor Access Monitoring Report
      Scottish Natural Heritage has published a report entitled Monitoring responsible behaviour among recreational users and landowners. The study was carried out to establish awareness levels following the enactment of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (2005). The report found that awareness

    • 02/09/2011 - Consultation on Dumfries and Galloway Outdoor Access Strategy
      OPEN OUTDOORS: The Dumfries & Galloway Outdoor Access Strategy (2012-2017) PUBLIC CONSULTATION 15TH August - 15th November 2011 Dumfries & Galloway Council is consulting the public on a new Outdoor Access Strategy and accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment (Environm

    • 29/08/2011 - Consultation on the North Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy
      Consultation on the North Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy - Open until 26 September 2011 Do you enjoy the outdoors? Do you own or manage land in North Ayrshire?  Do you enjoy visiting North Ayrshire’s outdoors?  Do you walk, cycle or horse ride?  Do you canoe, kayak or tak

    • 15/07/2011 - Dog Walkers Urged To Be Cautious Near Cows With Calves
      Ramblers Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates have joined forces to remind dog walkers to take care around cows with calves, following a number of recent incidents where walkers have been injured. Helen Todd, Development Officer with Ramblers Scotland commented: “At the height of summer there is nothing bett

    • 07/07/2011 - Loch Lomond Byelaw Review
      The Loch Lomond byelaws were introduced in 1996 as a management mechanism for recreational activity on the water.  Their purpose is to protect the islands, the National Nature Reserve and wildlife, provide a larger area for quieter activities, and further improve safety.  The National Park Authority, reviewed them in 2006 a

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